Netflix Has Not Paid Taxes in Indonesia Since 2016

Since 2016, Netflix has not yet paid taxes in Indonesia to date. As of today, the country has no legal basis to collect taxes from over the top (OTT) companies operating from abroad, such as Netflix.. Indonesia's potential tax lost is estimated Rp 28.88 billion annually

Netflix has not paid taxes in Indonesia to date since it became available in the country in 2016. As of today, Indonesia has no legal basis to collect taxes from over the top (OTT) companies operating from abroad, such as Netflix.

"Yes, (Netflix) has not (paid taxes). Basically, it is not legally possible to collect their (OTT companies) taxes in Indonesia," explained Hestu Yoga Saksama, Director of Counseling, Services and Public Relations of the Directorate General of Taxes, as reported in Kompas on Thursday (01/16/2020).

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Netflix Illustration.

According to data from the Statista, the number of Netflix customers in Indonesia reached 481,450 in 2019. Netflix offer a monthly subscription for Rp 49,000. It can be roughly estimated that Netflix's gross revenue per month reaches around Rp 24 billion from Indonesia's customers.

Within a year, gross income, that Netflix could obtain, may reach Rp 288.87 billion. Indonesia's normal VAT tariff is 10 percent, then the potential for lost tax reaches Rp 28.88 billion annually. The potential tax lost in 2020 will be greater because it is projected that Indonesia's subscription count will reach 906,800.

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Indonesia to Pursue Foreign Company to Pay Tax 

Based on current Indonesia's law, Value Added Tax (VAT) is usually collected from imported tangible goods or intangible goods through customs. However the TV series provided by Netflix, an OTT company, is streamed through the internet network directly to customers, not through customs.

Indonesia also can not collect Netflix's Income Tax. According to the law, Indonesia can only collect Income Tax from foreign company if the company has been established as Permanent Business Entity.

Indonesia's government will pursue the OTT companies taxes through the newly proposed Omnibus Law. Through this new law, the government will incorporate VAT collection rules for companies from abroad that do business in Indonesia.

Reported in Kompas on Wednesday (01/15/2020), the Omnibus Law (Work Creation Bill) is currently being finalized by the government, will soon be passed. The government will immediately submit the draft to the parliament.

Indonesia's president, Joko Widodo, has requested that the discussion on the Bill, between the parliament and the government, should be completed within 100 working days.

"We will ask them (to become) VAT collectors, just like PKP (Taxable Companies) in the country," explained Yoga as reported by Kompas, Wednesday (01/15/2020).

If OTT companies don't have office in the country, they must appoint a representative to collect VAT for the services they sell in Indonesia. The representative can be an external party, such as an agency.

In addition to VAT, Income Tax regualtion will also be changed in Omnibus Law, especially regarding the Permanent Business Entity criteria.

Based on Indonesia's income tax law, Permanent Business Entity must have a physical presence in country. Now, Netflix has no physical office, so its income cannot be taxed. The Omnibus Law will regulate that foreign company does not have to have a physical presence.

If there is a substantial or significant economic presence the OTT company income will become taxable. Although, the significance criteria it is still unclear.

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