(Adds detail, background)
JAKARTA, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Indonesia has banned from foreign travel senior representatives of 147 firms and 21 individuals with outstanding tax bills amounting to $42.8 million as part of a crackdown on tax evasion, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.
The tax office, which is under finance ministry, is also processing bans on top representatives of another 255 firms and 64 individuals, the ministry said in a statement.
The travel bans extend to members of the firms’ board of directors, commissioners and shareholders, it said.
The announcement came two days after the ministry said Indonesia and Singapore had agreed to step up efforts to share tax-related information to tighten loopholes on tax evasion in each other’s country.
Indonesia’s new president, Joko Widodo, has made improving tax collection a priority. During his campaign, he pledged to increase Indonesia’s tax ratio to 16 percent of gross domestic product from around 12 percent at present.
“The temporary travel ban will be applied selectively to those who have outstanding taxes of 100 million rupiah or more and whose intention to pay their taxes is in doubt,” the ministry said. That figure is equivalent to $7,902.
The ban will apply for up to six months and can be extended for another six months.
The tax office also said it would work with police to arrest tax evaders if they do not pay up. ($1 = 12,655.0000 rupiah) (Reporting by Cindy Silviana, Eveline Danubrata, and Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel)