Japanese Tax Season is finally here. Usually running from the middle of Feb. until the middle of March, this time can be quite confusing for foreign private business owners in Japan.
If you`re working for a standard company, then usually the company will assist with tax filing or even do them for you. But if you`re an entrepreneur or engaged in businesses that deal with other international currencies, the Japanese tax system can be quite frustrating to figure out since most documentation and online services are either in native Japanese (or very poorly translated English).
In this article, we`re going to look at Using the Japanese e-Tax System (2020 Web Version) and I`ll walk you through the steps I take to file my taxes online ‘with screenshots).
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Using the Japanese e-Tax System 2020
There are some definite advantages to filing your taxes online in Japan.
Firstly, you can do everything online from home using your PC or Mac.
Additionally, there are Android and iOS versions available for use on smartphones and tablets. However, these are not really recommended (especially the iOS versions) because the mobile versions still seem to have quite a few bugs, fuctionality issues, and the Tax Office staff generally have no clue how to really use these versions – or at least cannot effectively explain them if you need to call in to ask questions.
The PC or Mac versions are your best bet for a smooth filing process at the current time because the staff seems to be a bit more familiar with the web version of the e-Tax system.
Now, before you can actually get started filing your taxes online via the e-Tax system, there are a few things that you`ll need to have ready.
*Your My Number – A 12-digit ID number (similar to an American Social Security Number) that you should have received/registered for during the Immigration process when entering Japan.
* Your Tax ID Number – A 16-digit number usually recieved by postcard sent from the Tax Office a few weeks before tax season.
* Your Tax ID Password – A secret 8 ~ 50 character password that you should have pre-registered at the Tax Office.
* A Japan Post ゆうちょ銀行 or Bank Account for money transfer of your actual tax return once received. The Japan Post Account seems to be the easiest and most convenient method and is easy to setup for most foreigners. All it takes is a visit to your local Post Office with your Passport and Alien Registration Card. It usually takes about 1 week to receive your Japan Post Card.
A Reference Number (if it has been given on the postcard that you received from the Tax Office. If not, it won`t be required.)
If you are new to Japan, one of the best things to do is stop by the local Tax Office beforehand (prior to tax season) to register for e-Tax and get all of these required things pre-setup. This will save you a lot of time and a potentially lengthy visit to the tax office during the busy season.
The reason you should probably register before is that many Japanese Tax Office staff still can`t speak english very well, so they will have a hard time explaining the registration process on the phone, so better to prepare ahead. 🙂
You`ll also want to inquire about which color tax form (White, Blue, Green, etc.) you should be filling out when you submit your e-Tax while you are there.
Once you have all of the necessary documents and have registered, then you can begin the process of filing your e-Taxes via the screenshotted process below.
To get started, go to e-tax.nta.go.jp and click the RED Circle area below. Since the e-Tax Web System is in native Japanese by default, non Japanese speakers using the Google Chrome Browser can enable Auto-Translation in order to make things a bit easier.
For the sake of this walkthrough, I have auto-translate enabled so you can see what the screen should look like and read the section titles on each form field. Switching between English and Japanese translation during the application process doesn`t affect the form fields.
Filing Your Taxes Using Saved Data From The Previous Year!
If you have saved tax data from the previous year in a .data file, you can simply load it up and use it here to save yourself a lot of time!
And that is how you use e-Tax in Japan. It should make your life much easier in Japan once you`ve registered and gotten the hang of the filing process!
If you know of anyone who is having problems figuring out their taxes in Japan, please feel free to forward this article to them as a reference.
Until next time!