Getting Indonesian Taxes Back


New Member
May 25, 2019
I am supposed to get 2 years worth of taxes I paid in to the Indonesian government back. A lot of American (USonian) teachers do not know this, but if you were:

-- called by an Indonesian school or university to come to Indonesia
-- only for the purposes of teaching and research

(and whatever other terms there are) you are entitled to get the taxes you paid in back. You can only use this benefit once. It is part of the US-Indonesian treaty.

So I applied to get mine back. I spoke with one of the heads of the tax office. I don't know if he was over the whole building or one office. He told me how to fill out my tax return (SPT). He said to put 0 for tax obligation on this line, and put 'lebih bayar pajak' (overpayment of tax) of the amount paid on another line. I turned in a paper return. They accepted it. No problem. The tax people helped me fill it out. For another tax year, I sat down with an agent who put it in a computer. They audited me and sat on my money for a year.

The good news is, I have gotten a decision on a year and a half that I worked that I get the money back. The bad news is they lost the letter I had to turn in and it is being delayed. I was supposed to have it in 35 days, which is probably 2 days from now, but they lost my letter for nearly a month and it could take 30 days from about a week ago they said. The head of office and the sexy head have to sign it and other people.

Another bit of bad news is that for the remaining half a year I worked, the tax office it seems isn't giving me a way to get my money back. They said they have had a policy since 2016 of not taking paper returns at the expat tax office. I turned one in since then, but they say they don't take them. I had a lawyer deliver a paper return at their desk.

I go online to fill out an eSPT. I spoke enough Indonesian to match it up with my paper tax return, modeled on what the office head told to fill out. The electronic form will not allow me to cancel out the line that says I have a tax obligation. I cannot put in zero as I should on the electronic form. I cannot claim all the money back on the electronic form.

There is this atrocious downloadable software that you can use to make a CSV file. I downloaded that. It makes no sense. You can't type stuff into the blocks you want. It is made for employers. It's like you have to know some kind of secret code to get it to work.

I called the tax office and got the name and extension and WhatsApp of the guy handling my taxes. He said he'd enter the taxes in the software. Then he contacted me by W/A and said that I should fill out the form saying they didn't owe me my taxes back and attach a letter. I told him I did not want to sign a form that says I had a tax obligation and they didn't owe me. He said not to put the money owed on the 'lebih bayar pajak' line. But the letter I had to fill out to request money back was a 'lebih bayar pajak' letter.

So basically, the tax office does not allow me to fill out my form right. They refuse paper tax returns. The tax rep isn't able to fill out the form right, apparently. He's probably getting frustrated and telling me to fill it out wrong and to write a letter requesting the money back. I think that's risky. What are my options?

I can't find a KPP dan badan Asing in any other cities. Is there one outside of Jakarta that accepts paper returns? Is there some other way to get my tax return in the system? I'd rather work with the Jakarta office where I have met people and other than this kind of crazy computerized bureaucracy junk, they seem to try to be professional, helpful, and honest. My lawyer has been talking with the tax rep, trying to figure something out. I've tried to call the office to get an exception to the no-paper-return policy, but the line keeps disconnecting.

Can anyone offer a way out?



Mr. 10,000
Jul 31, 2016
They said they have had a policy since 2016 of not taking paper returns at the expat tax office.
Wasn't that 2018?

After some issues we printed the whole package and went to the tax office. There it was possible to enter the information on the spot (they had quite some PC's). And best of all, there were some students who assist(ed) with entering the data.

If they don't know what to do or encounter issues, they approach the tax officer directly.

Now that could be a good way to deal with this; then you make it more or less their problem if the system doesn't work.


New Member
May 25, 2019
I was told the policy was in effect since 2018, but apparently they did not enforce it with my 2017 return. For my 2017 return, I sat down with a tax officer who filled out the form for me on the computer, printed it, and had me sign.

I may have forgotten to mention that I am in my home country now, so I trip to the tax office is out of the question. My lawyer sure does not hang out there like I would if I were there until things are fixed. I'd make frequent visits until it is done. I don't know how many times I went there before.

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