* Four petitions challenged the law behind the amnesty
* There are 'urgent reasons' for the amnesty, court says
* Finmin: Ruling should erase all taxpayer doubts
(Adds details, finmin's comment)
By Hidayat Setiaji
JAKARTA, Dec 14 Indonesia's Constitutional Court
on Wednesday rejected petitions to declare illegal the law
backing the government's tax amnesty, ending a challenge to the
government's flagship programme to boost revenue.
The amnesty, which was launched in July and lasts until
March, is President Joko Widodo's top priority to get taxpayers
to repatriate undeclared overseas assets and to help cover the
government's large budget deficit.
The programme offers citizens low penalty rates for
declaring assets obtained with untaxed income.
The court rejected arguments by four groups of plaintiffs
who contended the law hurt efforts to fight money laundering and
The panel of judges said the amnesty is needed to support
Indonesia's economy at a time when "government revenue has
"There are urgent reasons for the implementation of the tax
amnesty law. For the state to relinquish its right to collect
taxes owed to it is not unconstitutional," Justice Suhartoyo
A Constitutional Court ruling is final and binding.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who attended
Wednesday's court reading of the verdict, told reporters
afterwards: "I hope the court ruling will create legal certainty
for all taxpayers who participated in the tax amnesty programme.
I hope this erases all taxpayers' doubts."
Despite the legal challenge, the government continued with
the amnesty programme. So far, it has drawn nearly 500,000
participants who declared 4,008 trillion rupiah ($301.7 billion)
of previously untaxed assets, according to government
Prior to the Sept. 30 deadline for getting the best terms,
some of Indonesia's wealthiest individuals went to tax offices
to sign up for amnesty participation.
($1 = 13,285 rupiah)
(Reporting by Hidayat Setiaji; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo;
Editing by Richard Borsuk)