About Me

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Born in Stockholm (Sweden), now live in Sapporo (Japan). Hold a Ph.D. in computer science and work with computers during the days, perform magic in a bar during the nights (and weekends, for kids). Also used to teach historical fencing back in Sweden.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Income Tax Report, in Japanese!

These are the papers we first thought I needed.

Today I went to the tax office to get help with my income tax report. It has to be filed before the 15th of March, and I will be in Switzerland more or less until then (starting tomorrow).

Last year and two years ago, I went there and asked how to fill out the forms to show that I had received some income from Sweden that should be taxed here in Japan. They were very kind and helpful but since no one had ever had to deal with anything like this before, we ended up having to "go ask my superior" several times, and in the end five or six people were hovering around me trying to figure out what to do.

This year I had no income from Sweden, but I had my income from my job at the university, which the university files all the paperwork and pays all the taxes automatically for, but also some income from doing magic shows at kindergartens etc. Last year I had a whopping 6,000 yen income from magic shows, that I got taxed a few hundred yens for. This year I had more income since the kindergartens have started paying me five or six thousand yens per show instead of one thousand. Despite me telling them I will do it for free for them (which means less hassle with visas and taxes; especially the visa stuff is a real pain).

Anyway, this year a man at the reception desk of the tax office recognized me and said: "Weren't you on TV last year? Very late at night... Hanatare NACS?" So he had seen me do magic on TV and remembered (and recognized!) me despite the fact that I wore a blond wig and a fake nose when on TV (to "look like a foreigner").

This is the book that tells me I do not have to do anything at all!

My assigned helper had me fill out some papers specifying magic shows, the pay for them, and deductions I would like to make. My spendings for magic shows are things like 200 yen subway fare or buying balloons to break in the show for 105 yen, so getting a few percents of that back on my taxes is not worth the time it takes to write it down. I said I did not really want to make any deductions to save time. After quite a while of filling out papers, he said: "So your total income from this is only 52,000 yen? [yes] If you earn less than 200,000 yen from business on the side but have paid taxes for your main job, you do not have to report it."

In the end, it turned out that I did not have to do anything at all this year. Not even logging in to some system and clicking "OK, all the reported numbers are correct". Nothing. Very surprising. Good news that I did not have to fill out the rest of the papers, but it would have been even better if this had been known earlier... This was probably my fault, since the instruction manual on how to fill out your income tax papers clarified this rule on page 36. 40 pages of bureaucratic Japanese is not something I can manage to read myself though. Which of course is still my fault, since I should have studied Japanese and then have been able to read this kind of stuff too.

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