It’s that awful time of year again – St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. Hold on, hold on – that’s not right. What I meant to say is: it’s that awful time of year – Tax Return Day has come!
March the 15th is the day for every relevant person in Japan to file an income tax form. Like a great many of us hapless foreigners, you may be wondering what the Dickens to do with that daunting form you found in your post box a few weeks ago. Ignore it? Get your dictionary out and translate it? Or, perhaps like me, you thought it was some horrible mistake?
What’s on the paper
The tax form is certainly a piece of work. Chinese characters, huge numbers, hundreds of boxes to fill in… you might even be left wondering which way up to hold it. Fret not. The tax form is a complicated, but necessary document. Ignoring it will not make it go away.
I am no expert in this field – in fact this is my first tax return, but I found some useful links to help us all along the way.
First up is the comprehensive guide to all things tax, the NTA (which has a fair chunk of info in English).
The National Tax Agency thankfully has provided a clear, if somewhat over-sized guide in English to completing your tax form and paying the right amount of tax. If you’re too lazy to read anything else about filling in your tax report, make sure you read this at the very least.
Pages 48 onwards have a useful step-by-step guide to filling in your form – indispensable stuff.
If you’re still struggling, you can hire an accountant to do the job for you but it’s pretty costly.
Top tax tips
A few key things to remember include:
- Make sure you fill in the form correctly, and honestly
- Submit your form, along with the necessary receipts and documents, before March the 15th
- Submit your form to the correct address at your local tax office
The tax return is a lot of work, but it is essential. You may even find yourself in line for a refund!