A Taxing Haven

A Taxing Haven

Many people are dumbstruck by a central government scheme to charge people coming into Indonesia for bringing small personal items with them. Indeed the plan seems so ludicrous that you would certainly be forgiven for not taking it seriously at all and laughing out loud.

But as bizarre and iniquitous as it sounds, the government in Jakarta appears set on enacting its plan at the start of next year, now just weeks away. Under this most preposterous of taxation plots, people arriving in Bali with items including cameras, mobile phones, timepieces (watches) and even sunglasses will be slapped with import duties. For Bali, a tiny island dependent on holidaying foreigners, it must rank among the most absurd proposals in the world.

Imposing stellar rates of tax on products and services in Bali is not new, we know only too well. Imbibers of various imported beverages can expect to hand over around 300 percent of products’ price to the government. “Foreigner price” is an unofficial levy on almost all goods and services island-wide, and increasingly it is seeping into the tax books in Jakarta.  

This large-scale rip-off cannot continue. If the new personal-items tax goes ahead, it will cause lasting damage to the country and enraged foreigners will rightly decide to go elsewhere.


  1. Paul (Australia) says:

    As a previous expat resident and now married to a Balainese- this is an offensive tax- I have spent thousands of dollars in Bali over the years and yes at Bule prices- Ive supported families and locals -employed staff in my villa, paid fiscal tax, local banjar taxes- taxes for ceromonies – graft money – schooling for my family and wifes family – sponsorships for locals childrens operations and now they want to tax me on my laptop, iphones and gadgets- my wife and I carry over $10,000 in gear as I am an IT expert and work while away – if they want to tax this then we will stop coming to Bali and go elsewhere – the result is about $10,000 minimum in money we wont spend in Bali when we visit for 2 months a year now

  2. Derek says:

    Good luck, try taxing the surfers for bringing in their surfboards and watch them disappear until this tax is repealed!

    This tax will hurt the Balinese people who depend on tourism because tourism will suffer dearly.

    My wife is Indonesian and if we are charged for bringing personal items into the country, we will holiday in Thailand or New Zealand from now on.

    Another sad proposal by the corrupt and inept politicians who run the silly show in Indonesia.

  3. Jens says:

    Now it has to stop. Who are these people coming up with such insane ideas. First Indonesia charge 25 US for a 30 day visa. The prices, specially in Bali are going up and up and it’s becoming more and more expensive to stay here. I know all about foreigner prices, which still surprises me, every time i go to my local warung….. And now this!!!!!! Don’t these “clever” people understand that this is to digging your own grave. There are many other beautiful places in the world to travel to and from what i know, many people are already getting fed up with the way, they are getting ripped off here. I come to Bali a lot, and spend 100 and 100 of millions of rupiah for buying products in Indonesia. And actually sometimes i feel i am getting punished for doing so. Hope the Goverment will come to it’s senses.
    Selamat hari raya kuningan.

  4. Steve says:

    So this means I cannot bring anything at all into Indonesia? Only myself ?? So tourism is finished?

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