Indonesian tax authorities are still patient with Google despite believing that the company's division in Jakarta owes approximately $400 million in arrears, local media reported on Tuesday. Tax officials have recently started an investigation into Google's taxes and have now once again asked the company to submit its financials that they're looking to review. The Jakarta-based subsidiary of Google has yet to respond to the request but has previously claimed it only owes $30 million in taxes.
The $400 million estimate given by the Indonesian tax office includes both unpaid taxes and penalties. This isn't the first time that the Indonesian Directorate General of Taxation asked Google to present its financials, but the company still seemingly isn't cooperative. Jakarta believes Google evaded numerous taxes in the last half a decade and has apparently adopted a patient approach to resolving the situation. According to Hestu Yoga Saksama, a spokesman for the Indonesian tax office, authorities are still waiting for Google to submit the requested documents. "We want Google to be cooperative," Hestu said on Tuesday.
He also reiterated how Jakarta has substantial evidence that some of Google's previous transactions in Indonesia should have been taxed, as the tax office already claimed last September. Those controversial transactions are mostly related to the company's advertising division which allegedly didn't pay taxes on some client fees. Despite being unwilling to submit its financials, Google Indonesia already met with the Jakarta Tax Office several times, Hestu confirmed. A report from November claimed that Google is close to reaching a settlement with Indonesian tax authorities, but no deal has been agreed so far. While the Jakarta Tax Office's patient approach to the situation is somewhat unconventional seeing how it's accusing Google of owing hundreds of millions in arrears, tax officials are likely looking to set a precedent with this case and facilitate their future dealings with Internet companies in Indonesia. It remains to be seen how Google Indonesia will handle these allegations but for now, the firm is seemingly content with biding its time and trying to come up with a defense strategy. Given the current state of affairs, this case is likely to continue for some time.