Opinion
Even Astronauts Can't Get Away From Taxes, Let alone Crazy Rich

Sekaring Ratri Adaninggar | Tuesday, 12 April 2022

Even Astronauts Can't Get Away From Taxes, Let alone Crazy Rich
ilustrasi astronot taat pajak (Photo: Pixabay)

Former President of the United States (US) Benjamin Franklin once said that in this world the only things that are certain are death and taxes. The statement by the multitalented US President could be true. In fact, this statement is still valid today.

In the U.S, it is pretty tough to get away from taxes. Although not a few also managed to trick the tax rules in the country. However, what is certain, everyone in the country is obliged to declare their taxes no later than April 15 every year. It doesn't matter where they are. Even if they hide on the farthest planet, taxpayers cannot escape their obligations.

This is the true story of Leroy Chiao, which was retold by CNN Money in 2015. The NASA astronaut was on the International Space Station during tax season. Super long distance from the earth does not necessarily make him free from the obligation of filling tax returns.

In a cramped, low-gravity spaceship, Chiao is forced to keep filling his taxes. The method? "Get someone to help you (take care of taxes) on the ground (earth)," said Chiao.

Luckily, his older sister—Judy Chiao Smith—was an accountant, and certainly did not take part in the expedition. It was his sister who then took care of the documents for the extension of Chiao's tax return deadline.

The US is the only developed country in the world whose tax system refers to citizenship status. As a result, wherever the citizens are located—including those with dual nationality—they can't help but file their tax returns.

Interestingly, the factor that supports the voluntary compliance of taxpayers in the US is precisely the complex and coercive tax system. Especially related to the implementation of progressive Income Tax (PPh).

Because the more income Americans receive, the more taxes they have to pay. Conversely, the lower the income level, the lower the tax burden or even zero percent.

Tirto.id in one of their articles explained that progressive taxes were born from the spirit of the French Revolution carried out to protect democracy. When the rich are taxed higher and higher according to the growth of their wealth, progressive taxes are considered to limit the concentration of wealth. On the other hand for the poor, progressive taxes protect against overspending that threatens their basic survival.

Indonesia is Not To Be Outdone

However, no matter how good and strict the U.S. tax system is, there are still citizens who are able to avoid their tax obligations. Even worse, these tax evaders are the average person who run tax laws and most of them are super rich or crazy rich.

This is confirmed by an investigation report by ProPublica, a journalistic non-profit organization based in New York, USA. The report revealed a list of Crazy Rich tax evaders such as Tesla CEO, Elon Musk; Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to Bloomberg News Wire owner Michael Bloomberg.

Read: IRS Documents Leaked, Tax Avoidance Of The World's Richest People Uncovered

If it's like that in the US, what about Indonesia? Indonesia certainly does not want to lose to the US. In fact, it can be said that it is almost the same actually. The difference is that the crazy rich in the US –which understands– do not boast about their wealth (flexing) like most of the New Money (OKB) in Indonesia.

If we follow the timeline lately, the emergence of young crazy rich in Indonesia—besides the old money who have already appeared in Forbes Magazine. Starting from Crazy Rich Medan, Crazy Rich Malang, Crazy Rich Bandung, to Crazy Rich Pluit.

Who is not amazed to see young people who are wealthy, and also cool. Uniquely in Indonesia—perhaps also in other countries—the more lovers, the more haters.

Lots of internet users have begun to try to find out the origin of the wealth of the young Sultans. This includes our Tax Authorities who are also curious or kepo (knowing every particular object).

The tax officer doesn't seem to stay silent, looking at the unnatural wealth of the people with new money. If all this time the DGT seemed to be groping in a dark room in tracking down the hidden assets of Indonesian citizens, now without bothering to hunt for taxes, it appears by itself in a bright space.

Moreover, the Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati has commented that she is happy to see young celebrities boasting of their wealth everywhere. The tax officers are also enthusiastic in taxing it.

"That's why we are happy that yesterday on social media, someone was arrogant about 'the money in my account number is the biggest'. As soon as someone shows off how many billions they have, one of our tax officers will be ready. Yes, we will come later," Sri Mulyani said in the media recently.

However, do not be afraid that the tax officials will not immediately conduct an audit. At first, it's just a clarification. It would be even better if the tax authorities already have valid data before they visit the taxpayer so that they don't make guesses.

The message of this article is—especially for the new money, don't make it a habit to show off your wealth but prioritize your tax return report. If astronauts can't run away from taxes, let alone you Crazy Rich. So watch out.



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