Tue, Sep 20, 2016 - Page 11 News List

Google faces US$400m bill as Jakarta starts tax probe

AFP, JAKARTA

A sticker that reads “Review us on Google” is displayed in a smartphone shop at the Ambassador Mall in Jakarta yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Google faces a bill of more than US$400 million in Indonesia if authorities find it avoided taxes last year, an official said yesterday, as Jakarta began a probe into the US tech giant.

Indonesia last week announced it was launching an investigation into Google, alleging that the company had refused to cooperate with tax officials. Google has insisted that it has paid all taxes due in Indonesia since opening its Jakarta offices in 2011.

Tax investigators yesterday visited Google’s office as the probe got under way, with senior official Muhammad Haniv saying the US firm had not fulfilled its obligations while earning millions of US dollars in Indonesia.

If authorities find that Google had not paid all its taxes for last year, it could be forced to pay what it owes and then a hefty fine, he said.

This could add up to a total of about 5.5 trillion rupiah (about US$420 million), he said.

“Foreigners reap trillions of rupiah profit here, but refuse to pay tax — that is not fair,” Haniv said, after visiting Google’s office.

“If necessary we will take this to court,” he added.

He did not comment on what Google could owe for the years before last year.

In a statement last week, Jason Tedjasukmana, the head of corporate communications for Google Indonesia, said the company had always worked closely with the government and had “complied by paying all taxes which apply in Indonesia.”

Haniv said the probe was inspired by similar moves against Google in the EU, where the tech giant is facing a series of fiscal probes.

Jakarta has also put pressure on other foreign tech behemoths such as Facebook and Yahoo over their tax arrangements inside Indonesia.

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