Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Help With Tax Issue Please! 2008/2/21 16:36
Hi all,

I recently came to Japan on a Working Holiday Visa from Australia. I just got a part-time job with a really small private english company teaching english one on one to students at cafes, yes you heard right. They don`t have schools and just offices that potential students come to register and pay registration fees, then they can select teachers from profiles and contact them for lessons at a prefered time and location.

Now here`s the catch. The pay is pretty low - 2000YEN per hour and students MUST pay up front 100 percent after each lesson. Students also have to pay for 1 drink and commuting costs. Now, my type of Visa has a whopping 20 percent tax deduction rate on anything I earn here in Japan and I HAVE TO DO MY OWN TAXES!!! the english company has nothing to do with that for me, they just provide me with students and I`m my own businessman if you like to call it that.

First of all, I am not good with finance and taxes, I even have trouble filing my own tax return in Australia and it`s in english, let alone in Japan where I can`t read Japanese!!! +(

So, Im asking for help and advice here on how to do this, I may start getting students from next week so not quiet sure how to start on this big issue. Do I buy myself one of those invoice booklets for my records? if so, where do I get those? Do I go to the Tax office and register? I`ve checked the NTA website in english and like I said im not good with the tax lingo so no help there *( HELP what do I do???

OR do I just keep it hush hush and hope no-one finds out??? XD (that was what the lady said at the Japan Association for Working Holiday Makers where I registered for job refferal services haha and I quote ` for this job dont worry about paying taxes yourself, just be quiet about it and you get more money` wtf??? cho bikkurishita coming from a govt agency)

Thanks people, looking forward to your replies.
by RJ  

Taxes 2008/2/22 04:44
I am truly really sorry for poor little you. Can't even make your income tax form in your own country, in your own language!! tears are running down on my keyboard.Looks like you want us to tell you it is OK to lie and cheat the Japanese government.No way! And the company you work for look like a scam job. You better grow up real quick.
Please contacting the Australian embassy for help.
by Sensei 2 rate this post as useful

English 2008/2/22 09:17
Record keeping books can be found at (This may come as a suprise to you) any large book store. I have also seen reciept books in the 100 yen shops.
If you had physically gone to your local tax office you would have found that they have tax forms in english. Larger tax offices will usually also have someone that will be able to assist you with the forms. Why would you ask people on the internet instead of going straight to the source.

P.S Your job sounds mighty shady.
by XXX rate this post as useful

tsk tsk 2008/2/23 21:24
is that all you people on the internet know how to do is put other people down behind your computer screen? you two idiots should be ashamed of yourselves :(

the OP just wanted some answers and you two don't even know his/her circumstance so don't jump to conclusions without even asking questions!!!

for the record, OP you should go to the local tax office buddy and find out from them first hand, the internet can only help you so much. :)
by ohgee rate this post as useful

tax 2008/2/24 09:11
make up some reasonable numbers and then find an accountant. if they all paid by cash and you're company doesn't keep track then it's up to you to decide what to do
by name rate this post as useful

Keep it simple :-) 2008/2/24 09:44
RJ, I'm hoping you're still checking here but in light of the "advice" you've had so far, possibly not.

Sensei 2 and XXX, not very helpful- why even bother? I've been in Japan for 10 years, can read Japanese and still have trouble filling out my tax return, and I believe I'm not alone in that- when you are freelance it gets pretty complicated. As for the job being shady, there are thousands of people out there teaching private English lessons in cafes, and I've yet to see anyone be arrested.

I used to teach a lot of private students and still have one who I teach in her home, but it's all under the table. Call that shady if you like, but on a criminal scale I think it's pretty minor, something along the lines of having a garage sale and not declaring the income for tax.

RJ, ignore the people who are not familiar with your situation and have nothing better to do than make stupid comments. It's very commendable of you to want to declare your income, but if you really want to do so you will probably have to hire a tax accountant, which will likely wipe out most of your profits. The vast majority of people here teaching private lessons don't declare the income. The agencies like findateacher which connect teachers and students are totally open about what they are doing and I have yet to hear of a crackdown on this "blackmarket actvity" ;-) On a government scale the money involved is peanuts, so they don't really care.

As the woman at the agency suggested, the simplest route is just to not declare the income. Even if you were asked by a tax official, which you won't be, the money could be considered a "gift". Foreigners have been teaching English "under the table " in Japan for decades, I would say just go ahead and don't worry about the taxes.
by Sira rate this post as useful

cafe teaching 2008/2/24 10:58
Sira has hit the nail on the head. Remember you only have to pay tax on income. It is arguable whether an irregular lesson at a cafe where someone pays you a bit of money just to say thanks is even income. it depends on a number of things. Probably it is.

But as you pointed out, you are self empoyed and Japan let's you claim un unbelievable abount of deductions (think Australia before fringe benefits tax). These deductions would bring your taxable income to near zero anyway.

The problem is, yes you are supposed to keep records and as pointed out, your tax accountant would take most of your profits.

So if you are really worried, you could just buy a notebook and keep some basic records, but in reality you are not likely to declare this income or ever be questioned about it.

Finally Japan and Australia are pricks for this 20% tax on working holidayers, when the average full time English teacher only pays about 6%.
by josephintokyo rate this post as useful

thanks to - 2008/2/24 15:03
ohgee and especially to Sira, one suggestion myfriend told me is that i keep records of students that I teach just incase the tax office does get a hold of how many students i teach because i have to make reports back to the company who gives me students to teach. so of course they'll know the amount bythen...thats if the company gives out the info to the govt agencies and tax office....anyway by feb 15 to march 15 next year i can just go to the tax office and give them a figure from the records i keep and theyll charge me apparently...i dont like taking risks thats all.
by RJ rate this post as useful

reply to this thread