Filing Taxes in Taiwan

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Okay, since most of you who will be coming to Taiwan will probably be teaching ESL or doing some other kind of work, I figured I’d outline the tax filing bào shuì 報稅 process for you, since I filed mine the day before  yesterday, for the second time this year.

Taxes are filed  in May, and the process is generally really easy, though not all schools will tell you how to handle it, even if it’s your first year in Taiwan.  All you have to do is take your W2(the Taiwanese equivalent at least), your passport and ARC down to your local tax office and pull a number and wait in line at the counter that handles alien taxation (no, not aliens like the ones that built the pyramids, alien as in foreigner!).
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I have filed taxes in 4 different cities here, and I find that the quality of service varies (one guy made me do all of the counting, and one guy seemed like he couldn’t count himself!) but I have found that overall the tax clerks have been very helpful. You may even end up working for a school that handles your taxes(not ideal, in my opinion), in which case you may never have to see the inside of a tax office.

 

There is also an e-filing service, though I would not recommend using it (it was really buggy when I tried to use it a few years ago, and I ended up having to go into the office anyway!).
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Other than all of that, I’ll leave you with a few pros and cons to chew on.

 

Pros:
1. Foreigners can file their taxes a few months early and get their tax returns faster than locals.
2. It is really easy to file taxes in Taiwan, and the tax office clerks usually help you with all of the hard parts, and will tell you about things you can deduct (such as rent, depending on your income).
3. You can get your return even faster if you use direct deposit

 

Cons:
1. The e-filing service is not very user friendly.
2. Foreigners cannot file by mail, though Taiwanese can.
3. If you are leaving Taiwan, you will be able to file for a return, though you will not be able to use direct deposit (you will need to sign a waiver to allow a friend to pick up the return for you).
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Chinese phrases of the day:
報稅= file/declare taxes
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