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  • Shaheila Roeswan

Fiscal Administration Science Universitas Indonesia: Creating Competent Tax Experts since 1981

Tax regulations and methods for fulfilling tax obligations will always face changes in Indonesia. These changes are most likely due to global-scaled changes in the economic and technology industry, such as big data, artificial intelligence or AI, blockchain, and applications used in the finance industry, including tax applications.

These changes prompted people within the tax industry to always improve their competence to stay on top of things, and to stay relevant within the changes. In this case, universities are one of the most important actors in molding people within the industry into becoming one that is competent and connected with industry changes.

In this issue, MIB is graced with the opportunity to interview Dr. Inayati, M.Si as the head of the Fiscal Administration Science department in the Fiscal Administration Faculty of Universitas Indonesia. In this interview, Inayati explains how the Fiscal Administration Program (“Fiscal UI”) prepares its students to face the dynamic changes of the tax industry.

Comprehensive and Multidisciplinary Taxation Curriculum

In 1981, the Political and Social Science Faculty or FISIP in Universitas Indonesia established a new program, the Fiscal Administration Science Program (often referred to as ‘Fiskal UI’). At the time, it fell under the Administration Science Department. The opening of the new program was based on the request of the Directorate General of Taxes of Indonesia at the time. In addition, Inayati also explains that the name ‘Fiscal’ refers to the Dutch word, ‘Fiskal,’ meaning ‘Tax.’

Fiskal UI develops its curriculum to address taxation at the micro and mezzo level, with a broad taxation scope, which includes income tax, value-added tax, local tax, excise, customs, tax disputes, tax regulation, and international tax. At the mezzo level, students will learn taxation at a regulatory level, such as regulation formulation cycle, regulation evaluation, as well as tax regulation analysis, and good taxation administration. At the micro level, students will learn finance, budget, and tax accounting, tax planning at a corporate level, and technical issues, such as Tax Returns (“SPT”) filing processes and technicalities.

Since 2015, the Administration Science Department has separated from FISIP UI and became Administration Science Faculty or FIA UI. This also changes what formerly was Fiscal Administration Science program into Fiscal Administration Science Department. Inayati highlighted that there are curricular differences in Fiskal UI, compared to when it was still under the FISIP UI and now under the FIA UI.

As an established faculty, Fiskal UI is entitled to develop its own mandatory college courses. In regulating the mandatory courses, Fiskal UI uses a more detailed and comprehensive approach with deeply embedded perspectives of administration theory and tax regulations. In terms of the development of its subject matter, Fiskal UI used a multi and interdisciplinary approach through political and social, public policy, and tax policy aspects behind the formulation of tax regulation or provision, in designing the program’s curriculum. Regarding this matter, Inayati commented:

“ ... We absorb various social knowledge, which then becomes a context, since a regulation does not apply in a vacuum space but rather within the society.... Which then it is hoped that the knowledge perspective that we brought (into the program) becomes more comprehensive, and the approach becomes more multidisciplinary.”

- Dr. Inayati, M.Si.

Inayati added that when compared to the curriculums of the Economic or Law faculty, Fiskal UI focuses its content more on the mezzo and micro-economic levels. At the mezzo-taxation level, Fiskal UI focuses on the development of regulations and tax administration, whereas on the micro-taxation level, it focuses on the approach between tax management, tax accounting, and practices of tax regulation.

The curriculum that Fiscal UI follows also depends on the needs of every user and stakeholder of the program, in order to determine and improve the courses that will be taught to the students, alongside following the national curriculum called ‘Kampus Merdeka’.

Fiskal UI also preps its students by building connections with other faculties and universities, companies, and government institutions. The collaboration is done in regard to graduate hiring as well as internships. These companies then will be asked for feedback in order for Fiscal UI to build on and enhance the curriculum, therefore matching the needs of future hires. Internships are also done by students to ensure they receive experience and have a taste of what life after campus is before graduating.

Program Lecturers and Learning Methods

During the learning execution, Fiskal UI is committed to ensure that students are able to receive knowledge and information from high-quality lecturers. This is ensured by their strict lecturer requirements. To name a few, finishing a Master's Degree is the minimum academic requirement for FIA UI lecturers. Many of its members have completed their Doctoral degrees.

As for expertise, the lecturers in Fiskal UI are not limited to pure scholars and academics but also come from a variety of occupations, such as tax consultants, tax attorneys, tax judges, employees of tax or excise customs, local tax authorities, as well as researchers. In the academic process, lecturers push students to not only succeed in their learning results but also to accommodate the learning process. Lecturers as class facilitators ensure that students become proactive by also taking students’ class participation and discussion activities in their grading components. In addition, finals in the form of papers and journals are also given to test out the student’s abilities.

Fiskal UI guides its students into greatness by designing and preparing the best educational method. This provides the ‘mold’ for its students to develop sharp analytical skills, the ability to participate in discussions and deliver their opinions accordingly, increase their reading comprehension, and also support its students mentally to remain adaptive to change. Fiscal UI collaborates with the student affairs unit to provide a space for students to maintain and share their emotional challenges.

Fiskal UI Graduates and Career Prospects of Its Students

Today, Fiskal UI recent graduates and alumni are embarking on a broad spectrum of occupations within the taxation industry. Many have careers as tax consultants, tax attorneys, working for local and central tax authorities, researchers, and even scholars. There are even alumni who have become professors in the taxation industry, partners at famous tax consultant offices, and other strategically beneficial positions in the industry.

Inayati explains that Fiskal UI students are equipped with knowledge and a curriculum that pushes its students to be able to work in different levels of roles in the industry. From technical roles to strategic roles, such as regulation analysis and tax disputes, Fiskal UI is confident that its students and graduates are ready to face the corporate world.

Inayati added that many of Fiskal UI graduates work in tax consultant offices, or research institutions. Others have also developed their own tax consultant offices, or even worked within the governmental environment. Recent graduates from Fiskal UI have been known to also receive job offerings prior to their graduation.

Inayati shared her thoughts on the future of taxation occupation. As tax-related roles in the future will become even more dynamic and easily mendable, Inayati has been keeping her eyes on how the development of the taxation industry is also going through significant changes, for example, with the usage of information and technology in the taxation industry with the appearances of many tax applications and the core tax administration system by the government planned to be implemented in 2024.

Inayati also added that the anticipated competitor by the students and graduates of Fiskal UI is not other students or graduates that will practice within the taxation industry, but rather technological advancements and artificial intelligence that are indicators of the development and future of the working environment, as well as included in the future of work discourse.

Fiskal UI graduates are hoping to use more of their humane characteristics in anticipating and adapting to technological developments, such as using their soft skills. In addition, Fiskal UI graduates are also hoping to utilize what they have learned throughout college, and to combine that with their passion as well as their expertise in taxation.

Photo by the Fiscal Administration Science Department Universitas Indonesia, 2023.

We quote Inayati for her hopeful message and encouragement for Fiskal UI alumni,

“ ... to be able to exceed themselves into being the best kind of human, which are the kind of human that are beneficial for their country, their nation, for each other, as it is the best kind of person.”

As a closing statement, Inayati provided words of encouragement and expectations for her current and former students, to always improve themselves by continuously studying in order for them to adapt to dynamic changes and keep track of their attitude wherever they are.


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