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  • The GOJ’s economic stimulus plan (teigaku kyuufukin), Tokyo pamphlet on how to get your tax kickback

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on April 28th, 2009

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    Hi Blog. As one of the best bits of good news that came out last year regarding the international community in Japan (see my top five published at the beginning of the year in the Japan Times) comes the teigaku kyuufukin — the 12,000 yen per person (plus 8000 yen on top of that per dependent and oldie) economic stimulus bribe that the GOJ thinks will boost domestic consumption (we’ve talked about it on Debito.org here in the past).

    Regardless of whether you think it makes any economic sense (I should think a holiday from the 5% Consumption Tax would go a lot farther to stimulate consumer consumption, and I bet it would cost a lot less to administrate), it’s good that registered NJ residents regardless of visa also qualify (they almost didn’t, and really didn’t last time they came out with this kind of scheme in 1999; it barely amounted to much more than bribes for electoral yoroshikus back then either). But when and how do NJ get it now?

    Commenter Jim in Osaka yesterday mentioned that he was displeased that his Japanese wife and child got stimulated, but he didn’t; subsequent commenters noted that NJ are on a separate system, but he’ll get it eventually. What follows is how the stimulus is being administrated in one part of Tokyo, courtesy of Ben. Eight pages, the first four are bilingual, the rest are directed at citizens. Your administrative taxes at work. I apparently have to wait another few weeks before Sapporo ladles our monies out. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

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    ENDS

    16 Responses to “The GOJ’s economic stimulus plan (teigaku kyuufukin), Tokyo pamphlet on how to get your tax kickback”

    1. Inflames Says:

      I live in Osaka city and I, as well as many others I know, received my forms last week. The forms for foreigners in Osaka city are being handled separately from Japanese. Foreigners have their own separate application forms and instructions. Of course, this being Osaka city (OT but Osaka is the city that doesn’t provide much information to foreign residents, but instead directs them to third parties to get it [or just doesn't bother]), the form is entirely in Japanese with no examples or anything (not even online).

    2. Al Says:

      Here is a little info for people living in Yokohama.
      http://www.yoke.or.jp/englishblog/diarypro/diary.cgi?no=759

      I found it a little strange that we have to give our bank statement.

    3. Jcek Says:

      I also live in Osaka and mine arrived yesterday along with my wife’s. They are requesting the same information as the above scanned form. However, as a commentor stated above there is no English on any of the forms. I don’t really need the English translation but, for those who have lived here and don’t read any Japanese this will be a real headache to get filled in; as the next few weeks have National Holidays (let alone find the time to go there and wait in line for help) it will be rather inconvenient for most NJ to get translation service from their ward office.

    4. InJM Says:

      I live in a rural town and was able to get mine at the end of March. There wasn’t any information in any other language than Japanese that came with mine but it did include an example similar to the one above. There wasn’t a need to include any bank information because I went to pick up the payment in person.

    5. topaz Says:

      Even within Tokyo, the procedures appear to vary widely depending on the local government. The Shibuya Ward instructions you posted are astoundingly different from the Meguro Ward instructions I have. Meguro appears to have exactly the same procedures for citizens and foreigners. Although foreigners receive separate packets from citizens (even if they are in the same household), the contents of the packet are identical. The scant English instructions are simply a direct translation of the scant Japanese instructions. Unlike Shibuya, Meguro appears not to require a copy of the Alien Registration Card in most circumstances. The only case it’s required is when the foreigner is acting as a proxy to receive a child’s payment; everybody has to provide a copy of some identification if they are proxying, but for foreigners they specifically ask for the ARC.

      It’s amazing how much they left up to the imagination of each local government.

    6. GiantPanda Says:

      I live in Shinjuku-ku and we got ours a couple of weeks ago. The form is very similar to the one for Shibuya pasted above. I have to say I was very impressed with the effort that they had taken – the explanation was given in Japanese (with furigana) and then again in English, Chinese and Korean. But it probably cost them a lot in administrative expenses just to prepare and mail all of these things out.

    7. Durf Says:

      That isn’t how it’s being done “in Tokyo”; this program is handled by individual municipalities, and what you have posted here is the Shibuya documentation. The hoops to jump through will end up being quite similar in any case, though.

    8. InJM Says:

      No kidding. I didn’t turn mine down but instead of spending a lot of money to throw even more money at tax-payers, there’s probably a fair number of places that could have used even small portions of the combined amount of cash the various governments are spending on this.

    9. Mark Hunter Says:

      Takarazuka was very efficient. I got mine (the money) today. This goes a long way to creating a lot of goodwill.
      I know, we deserve it because we pay taxes, but more than one person has been surprised that foreigners receive it.
      I and mine have decided to donate it to our favorite charity. Not quite what Mr. Aso wanted, but hey, you do what you’ve gotta do. All round, I’m very impressed and grateful. There is hope out there for a fair and equal society.

    10. Alexander Says:

      I wonder how much alike all the pamphlets are. I also live in Shinjuku-ku and it seems that Shibuya and Shinjuku are the same at least. Maybe there is one design for the whole of the 23 wards. In any case it is very helpful and the procedure looks simple enough.

      To be honest, I expected no less of this pamphlet.To see why I advise anyone in Tokyo to drop by Shinjuku ward office in Kabukicho if you have some free time. All their pamphlets and materials are not just translated into English but also Korean and Chinese. The staff also speak multiple languages. They also have all sorts of counseling and education services. I love being a resident of Shinjuku as it is one ward that seems to work really hard to help NG.

      http://www.city.shinjuku.tokyo.jp/foreign/english/aramashi/index.html

    11. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      I live in Shinjuku now also (just moved out of Yayoi) and don’t have any complaints about the form, other than the fact that it specifically demands the alien card, and that it came almost three weeks later than the one for my Japanese-national fiancee did.

      Going on a bit of a tangent here, but what I do have a problem with is the demands made by the tax office in Shinjuku. I made a mistake on my tax return and got a letter in the mail demanding a revision. Along with this, I’m being asked to submit copies of my alien card (specifically) and another form that asks when I first arrived in Japan, if I’d left Japan in the past year, and if so, for what purpose and for how long. What, I ask, does this have to do with taxes? Can I refuse to submit these things? I’m getting a refund (expenses exceeded revenue in my side business), so I don’t want to fight with them, but what’s with the extra questions?

    12. Durf Says:

      Mark: Along with this, I’m being asked to submit copies of my alien card (specifically) and another form that asks when I first arrived in Japan, if I’d left Japan in the past year, and if so, for what purpose and for how long. What, I ask, does this have to do with taxes?

      The length of time you resided in Japan during the taxation year in question is important information; it determines whether you’ve actually been resident long enough to be taxed as a resident, instead of as a visitor resident in another country (who would be getting some sort of refund against taxes paid in that other country, I suppose).

      Not every request for your papers is a Kafkaesque assault against human rights.

    13. Bob in Chiba Says:

      Mark,(Sorry, I know I’m only adding to this tangent, but this through me for a loop as well)

      I received the same letter from my tax office in Kashiwa and literally just got back from talking with them.

      I filed my kakuteishinkoku this year for the first time (the last 7 years as a salaryman I never needed to) and thought I overlooked something, but as it turns out, when I went to the tax office to get the form packet in March, they gave me the forms for Japanese taxpayers that doesn’t mention the extra documentation.

      The biggest headache is that the tax office won’t even process your return until you give them the info, and will take another 2 months from then to get your return. (when normally you and I would be getting it now)

      Tax office mishaps aside- I just wonder why I have to give all this info now that I filed on my own, when for 7 years as a salaryman no one asked; the only thing that changed was that I got laid-off halfway through last year. The form also asks for your periods of residency for the last 10 years! shouldn’t they have this info on file? For anyone filing taxes on their own next year the document is at:

      http://www.nta.go.jp/tetsuzuki/shinkoku/shotoku/yoshiki01/shinkokusho/pdf/h20.pdf

      Back to the original topic, I received the stimulus application form in the mail the same day as my wife. Wife and daughter (Japanese citizens) on one and a separate one for me. Though a bit irked to have to apply separately from my wife and kid, both were pre-filled out and surprisingly painless- Just attach copy of ID and Bank Tsuuchou to make sure they get the account right and drop in the mail.

    14. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      Bob in Chiba, my situation is just about identical to yours, including the number of years (7) that my company filed for me without any of these requests.

      Not only did I never fill it in then, but I didn’t even get asked for it in 2007 when I received a big bonus that (unknowingly) hadn’t had tax taken out of it, and I made four or five trips to the Hongo tax office to get the taxes and (big) penalties paid.

      This time it’s almost like an impromptu “immigration audit” — proving your entries and exits from the country on such short notice!

      Durf, that preceding part is (privacy issues aside) the big problem for me: documenting all those times I left Japan in the past 10 years. Those dates are contained in departure and re-entry stamps in my expired passport, which is in a safe (^_^;) in my family’s house in the US, and now I’ve got to get them to open the safe and either mail the thing to me, decipher all those stamps, or (probably) scan or photocopy the pages and send them to me.

      What a hassle for someone who isn’t claiming any kind of exemption for being out of the country! (All my income was in Japan, and I’m paying taxes like any other full-year resident.) I could just guess at the dates, or even claim to not have left, since I’m not claiming any reduction in tax liability, but I don’t want to lie on a form like this.

      I imagine this is going to happen to any long-termer with a 10-year passport, since they ask for all the times you left and re-entered Japan in the past 10 years, and such people are guaranteed to have had to renew their passports in this period.

      I guess the silver lining is that I can just make two photocopies of the alien card and use the other one to file for the stimulus payment at the same time!

    15. David B Says:

      Mark & Bob,

      I have had the same form twice. Once about 5 years ago (when work took care of it) and then again this year because we applied for a refund of medical costs. From reading the English explanation it seemed to me the biggest issue was that if you are a resident for tax purposes (based on being here for a certain time or on type of visa) your income in your home country is taxable here in Japan whereas otherwise it is not.

      With regards to the issue of regularly leaving the company I understand you problem. I travel overseas on business very regularly and filling in the details would not be practical. I rang up the contact person listed on the form and discussed it with him and it was not an issue. For your information I could not get a clear indication on how to classify overseas income or how it would need to be justified.

      For the tax kickback,
      I got the form about 3 days after my wife and it was basically the same as displayed. They were sent off a while back but still no payment. For us we did not have to attach a bank statement but a copy of our debit card, which I guess is so that they would have a clear accurate copy of bank details for the transfer of funds.

    16. Brad Says:

      A friend just told me about this last night (23rd May)! I haven’t heard ANYTHING about this at all! We both live in Nakano-Ku too which is strange. I read all of my mail. Don’t think I could have thrown it out. I wonder if they’ve skipped some people? Been in Japan for over 5 years on a full working VISA.

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