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Be wary of your investments -- the TAXMAN is watching

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  • Be wary of your investments -- the TAXMAN is watching

    This is written to caution some who may not be aware that the folks in the tax agency have become very vigilant in tracking money being sent out of Japan. This is not hearsay. I have actual incidents recounted to me in the past few months. Foreign teachers seem to be being targeted.

    Since I hate being taxed unfairly, I will warn you.

    Somewhat large amounts sent will trigger a report to the agency. Frequent transfers will also trigger a report. If you have been here for a day over 5 years you will be viewed as a resident of Japan for tax purposes. It could be less, too, depending on individual circumstances.

    If you send money back and that money earns ANY form of income (i.e., invested) or if it is a "gift" over the limit here, then you are subject to Japanese taxation. Not only that, if you are paying for your spouse's social obligations here and she happens to be a co-signatory to any of your income-earning accounts or investments, then s/he will deemed to be earning income. Therefore you/she will likely be required to pay up for her owed contributions if the interest exceeds the Japanese maximum salary one can earn here before income tax kicks in.

    If you think you are in the clear because you have paid tax on interest or other derived income in that other country and that country has a tax treaty with Japan, then, like my friend, you would be SO wrong. As a resident of Japan, all worldwide income must be reported. So if you paid, say 20% tax in Canada or Australia on investment income, that would be less than what you would pay here. You would be required to pay the difference (at least) and then a 15% penalty and then a late tax (entaizei) of 4.2-4.7% and then a city tax of 10%. The real problem is with penalties. They are brutal. Of course when the NTA wants to treat everything as salary, that's not very friendly or above board.

    Here is an example.
    You have $100,000 in savings or investments that have averaged 8% over the past 5 years. Thus you have earned around $45,000. You have paid perhaps 20% in tax, so approximately $9,000. You earn a decent salary here. Let's say around 8.3 million just as an example.
    The tax authorities here will consider your "investment income" as salary (regular ncome) and that income happens to push you over the 9 million threshold (to the 33% tax rate). According to them, you ought to have paid roughly $15,000 plus a 15% annual penalty on taxed owed and then a 4.2-4.7% lateness penalty, plus the city tax. You will end up with a bill for at least $6,000 and then you will likely be audited in the following year (at least). The process of them investigating you will involve you revealing your travel habits becuase they will demand to see your passport and, potentially, a line by line evaluation of your banking/investment history.

    Again, this is no b.s. whatsoever, this happened to two people I know within the last 2 months. So, be careful.

    Anyone have any ideas for reducing tax and still investing????

    If you are concerned, please, please consult with an fully qualified accountant.
    Last edited by Super Grover; 2011-09-13, 11:58 AM. Reason: an update to enhance clarity & accuracy

  • Shimokitazawa
    replied
    Yes, the site is dying. Would like to stay int touch with some of you who are here. What is the new or next website for gaijin?

    Leave a comment:


  • Super Grover
    replied
    No editing or anything on GP any longer. You can maintain your funds in a number of currencies. I have CAD there and Canadian stocks. JPY seems dicey to me. If the tapering in the US really takes hold and our govt.in Japan doesn't have its act together, the yen could devalue in a hurry due to bond troubles. The CAD is bound to be stable in spite of the terrible other policies of the Harper regime.

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  • Super Grover
    replied
    TD, formerly known as Internaxx is closing due to the Japanese tax dept. (NTA). With agreements between Canada and Japan, the Japanese side has insisted that TD maintain a Tokyo office to service clients in Japan, and then they (NTA) would have access to those client accounts. TD said it was not worth it. By refusing to open an office here, the Canadian head office was pressured by the NTA to refuse service to all clients in Japan. Whether or not all names were disclosed to the NTA, I do not know and never asked. When I wrote the "Taxman is watching," little did I realise just how much.

    Leave a comment:


  • victorWard
    replied
    I am starting to look at Interactive Brokers Japan, but their site is about as messed up as GP. Not really clear to me what the differences are between IB US/CA and IB Japan. Based on your (Grover's) advice I'm declaring everything to the J-IRS so not worried about anonymity, but I am worried about having to convert my holdings to a different currency (YEN, SGD). Any advice?

    Leave a comment:


  • Shimokitazawa
    replied
    I see. Thanks for the info. Yes, I just recently learned that TD International Luxembourg will not provide services for residents of Japan. Not sure why but a few people I know have mentioned that it was "No go" for them with TD Intl. I think I'll be looking at Super Grover's recommendation or maybe even at DBS Vickers. Andrew Hallam's website, maintained by a Canadian author and teacher in Singapore, has a lot of information on this also.

    Leave a comment:


  • Super Grover
    replied
    This site is crashing. Yes, I was able to do so without going there. I wish I could have timed a conference or trip, though. Since the site is f__d up, I will explain. They trade on many exchanges. I needed the TSX (Toronto exchange for something). They reply quickly. I believe you will have to pay any capital gains there. Anyway, this thread warns all about taxation, doesn't it? What will you need? Translated (English of course) utility bills that are current and showing your current address and name. Those will need to be notarized. Please do your best to ensure that passport name and utility bill names match. In a word, everything should match.You will need to send a notarized copies of your passport. You will need to sign a whole mess of their forms in front of a notary. DON'T make any errors. They will not accept anything that has a mistake. I made a tiny one and it was returned. Depending on your account(s), some fees will apply. The transfer from wherever your funds are now to Singapore could take time. Btw, now in Jersey/Guernsey they are required to report to their home bank, so there is no anonymity/safety there any more in the event of an audit. I think the new tax-free account here could be good if one can pick a good stock and trade it once.

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  • victorWard
    replied
    Shimokita: GP seems to be crashing and burning. I wrote: "...after getting the boot from TD, etc." Don't know why it booted "boot". Preview doesn't work for me either. Sounds like TD International is not opening new accounts for Japan residents: http://andrewhallam.com/2013/05/an-e...way-to-invest/ I got kicked out of my canadian online brokerage. Now looking for a new home. Thanks for the tip Grover. Were you able to open an account without a trip to Singapore?

    Leave a comment:


  • Super Grover
    replied
    I used these folks UOB kay hian singapore. Btw, it seems that GP site is even more broken -- I could not PM you.

    Leave a comment:


  • Shimokitazawa
    replied
    victorWard, What is, "...after getting the from TD, etc."? Canadians can open a TD International investment account in Luxembourg and not pay capital gains tax. There is also DBS Vickers in Singapore where investors will not pay capital gains taxes. Possibly Saxon in Hong Kong, also. Not aware of any services that have access to TSE, etc. in Japan.

    Leave a comment:


  • Super Grover
    replied
    PM me before Gaijinpot closes and I will give you details.

    Leave a comment:


  • victorWard
    replied
    Just wondering which broker any canucks moved their accounts to after getting the from TD, etc. I'm in the same situation now and not sure what to do.

    Leave a comment:


  • TheHotCondom
    replied
    Health Insurance and Tax are two very different things. If your friend has not paid for Health Insurane he does not have a card, so if he gets sick he has to pay all fees for treatment up front, which can get very expensive depending on what his illness and treatment! Taxes if he has not paid, they can and do grab on to his bank account, they can and do garnish wages, they can and do extend fines and penalties. So if he is lucky he can get away without paying health insurance but he will sooner or later have to pay Taxes !

    Leave a comment:


  • caramellocap
    replied
    And what about Ken? Has the NTA come knocking on your door? Seems to me it's only a matter of time, sorry.

    Leave a comment:


  • caramellocap
    replied
    Can anybody give us an update? A mate of mine who is an eikaiwa monkey has returned here but he didn't register for the kokumin kenko hoken including not paying nenkin. He has now lived about a total of 6 yrs in Japan counting his last time here. I reckon he is going to be in trouble with the tax office or city hall in March come tax time but he says no. Will he have to pay more tax to compensate for the fact he has not paid into the health and pension?

    He wants to leave in April anyway. Can he tell them to go take a hike if they try to make him enrol as he doesn't want to renew or work here anymore after April? This kind of stuff makes me happy I own my own business and don't have to deal with that kind of thing. He says his boss can't make him register for the programs two or three months before he leaves Japan.

    Leave a comment:

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