Paying the Japanese taxman


How do you do your everyday accounting? graph of japanese statisticsThis may seem a bit of a strange subject to handle on Christmas Day, but the 25th of the month is payday, and the last payday of the year includes a 源泉徴収表, gensenchoushuuhyou, or end of the year statement of earnings and tax paid (or a P60 for British people in the audience), which is an excuse for a slightly bumpy seque into a survey reported on by and conducted by JR Tokai Express Research into final income tax returns, or 確定申告, kakutei shinkoku.


On the 11th of December 2007 330 self-employed members of the JR Tokai Express Research monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 66.4% were male, 6.4% in their twenties, 31.5% in their thirties, 40.6% in their forties, 16.4% in their fifties, and 5.2% in their sixties. You may have noticed that when JR Tokai Express Research has a survey with people drawn from employees in the public and private sector the male percentage is over 80%. It might be interesting to find out why there is a higher ratio of self-employed women in their monitor panel.

I don’t know if many foreigners are aware of it, but if you spend over 100,000 yen or so (sorry, I don’t have the exact figures!) over the last calendar year on medical bills, including doctors’ fees, prescription medicines and traveling expenses you can claim back tax on the extra money. There are of course exceptions like gold teeth, ningen dock (full preventitive checks taking from half a day to two days) and quackery, but it’s always worth saving your receipts just in case.

Research results

Of the 330 people in the sample, 177 had submitted final tax returns. I don’t know if that means that the other 153 are fiddling their taxes, or if they submitted joint tax returns with their spouses, or something else. These 177 were asked the following question.

Q1: How do you do your everyday accounting? (Sample size=177)

Do it by hand32.2%
Use software on computer (to SQ)54.8%
Get an accountant to do it3.4%
Get a licensed tax accountant to do it7.9%

Q1SQ: Do you also use software to do your end of year tax returns? (Sample size=177)

Not used it30.9%
Used it before, but not using it now1.0%
Yes, using it61.9%
Don’t know6.2%

Q2: Do you know about the national electronic tax submission and settlement system called e-TAX? (Sample size=177)

Don’t know of it4.5%
Know about it, but not used it79.1%
Have used it, but don’t want to use it again1.7%
Have used it, and want to use it again13.0%
Don’t understand1.7%
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