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Do You File Your Own Japanese Taxes? (And Is It Hard?)

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  • Do You File Your Own Japanese Taxes? (And Is It Hard?)

    Recently talked with a friend within my company who does his taxes himself (the rest of us leave it up to the company to do every year) and as I expected, he has to pay way less than us as a result, even though salary and everything else is the same. Every time I've gotten my results back, I've been a bit dubious myself, so I'm leaning towards wanting to start doing them myself as well.

    I'm not a business owner, nor do I have multiple incomes. Just one main job. What exactly is entailed with filing for yourself? Is it straight-forward?

  • #2
    Originally posted by outkast View Post
    Recently talked with a friend within my company who does his taxes himself (the rest of us leave it up to the company to do every year) and as I expected, he has to pay way less than us as a result, even though salary and everything else is the same. Every time I've gotten my results back, I've been a bit dubious myself, so I'm leaning towards wanting to start doing them myself as well.

    I'm not a business owner, nor do I have multiple incomes. Just one main job. What exactly is entailed with filing for yourself? Is it straight-forward?
    I do file my own taxes and I would say that while not totally easy, it's relatively straight-forward. The income tax guide for foreigners, available from the NTA web site, explains step-by-step exactly how to fill in the form. The folks at the tax office will also help and check the form if you go there.

    That said, if you have one employer and one source of income, I would expect the tax payable to be the same regardless of whether the employer or you fills in the form. Are there additional deductions you are eligible for that your employer is not aware of? In my experience, they should be taking care of that for you as part of the final year-end adjustment.

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    • #3
      How much is "way less" ? Maybe your co-worker is entitled to more deductions than you are, or you are not notifying your employer of certain deductions you are eligible for.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by themoonrules View Post
        How much is "way less" ? Maybe your co-worker is entitled to more deductions than you are, or you are not notifying your employer of certain deductions you are eligible for.

        Remember: It's not always how much you make.

        It's how much you take home that counts.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by iago View Post
          That said, if you have one employer and one source of income, I would expect the tax payable to be the same regardless of whether the employer or you fills in the form..
          My ex was a top flight national silly servant (Postal Ministry), and her tax deductions were regularly 15%-ish higher than what she would have paid had she filed herself, or even just filed that revision form you can file. Many employers do that, as it is easier for them than undercharging. Let's keep in mind that the reason the Normal System works is because most people invovled understand that the workers are there for the benefit and convenience of the organsiation, and most Japanese are, in their own often lovely ways, degenerately indolent once things get Moozookashee or Fookoozatsoo.

          Anyways, she got back a fairly serious whack of cash when she back filed the year she quit. Her superiors were furious with her.

          Outkast,

          Yes, do it yerself. Aside from the money you'll get back, it'll be hellishly educational. I do believe you can also just file a supplementary return to adjust whatever the company did on your behalf, which could be enough for your needs.

          At any rate, with one employer and one income, all you will need to do is claim deductions that the company might not be making, and with those you can get quite creative, though I always strongly recommend against Fantasy Fiction.

          That sort of stuff can just get them PO'ed at you.

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          • #6
            This is a circa 2008 step by step guide http://gaijintax.com/ that can provide a basic overview of how one can do the "white" [versus the "blue"] form.

            And, this is the whole official guide straight from the National Tax Agency in English:

            http://www.nta.go.jp/tetsuzuki/shink...012/pdf/43.pdf

            It is way easier than anything put out by the US IRS.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by outkast View Post
              Recently talked with a friend within my company who does his taxes himself (the rest of us leave it up to the company to do every year) and as I expected, he has to pay way less than us as a result, even though salary and everything else is the same. Every time I've gotten my results back, I've been a bit dubious myself, so I'm leaning towards wanting to start doing them myself as well.

              I'm not a business owner, nor do I have multiple incomes. Just one main job. What exactly is entailed with filing for yourself? Is it straight-forward?
              I always do it myself. Most of the places I worked for didn't do it, and present employer offers to do it, but trust them I do not. Read the tax instruction book for foreigners, but way too confusing. Each year I fill out the form with as much information as possible, then go to the tax office where they do the rest. If you pay into the Health System, pension, or other things, you should receive a post card before tax season that officially tells what you have paid. I bring all these down to the tax office and the friendly people figure it all out for me. Manage to get something back each year.

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              • #8
                Thanks for all of the replies. I'm definitely going to give this a shot.

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                • #9
                  As you said, you do not have anything complicated as far as income goes, so it shouldn't be a problem. Make sure you get the small receipt from the company (Gensenchoshusho ?) and proof of anything you have paid into. Many city/ward offices also have tax people in the lobby so you do not have to go to the office.

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