Tax concerns for an American freelancer working in Japan
Thread poster: Bree Salmon

Bree Salmon  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 16:42
Japanese to English
Apr 6, 2010

Hello everyone. I am an American living in Japan and am currently applying for freelance jobs with numerous agencies and basically anywhere I think of to get work.

What I am wondering is, is there anything I need to worry about as far as taxes when receiving work from non-japanese companies (japanese companies withhold taxes when they make payments to me). Maybe non-japanese companies will withhold as well, but I have yet to receive work from them so I don't know.

If anyone is in a similar position to me, I hope you might be able to offer some advice. Thanks!

Bree


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:42
English to Japanese
+ ...
Companies abroad will NOT withhold your taxes Apr 6, 2010

Hello Bree,

I'm a Japanese citizen living in Japan and I may be in a different position as you are, but one thing I can say for sure is that companies abroad will not withhold your taxes, i.e. you get paid what you charged for.

From my experience, I work with Japanese companies, and like you wrote, they withhold my taxes. However, when I work for companies abroad, whether they are in the States, Europe, Asia or anywhere in the world except in Japan, they do not withhold your taxes. Some of the companies I work for and which I've signed NDA contracts do clearly state in the contracts that the translator is liable for his/her own tax in one's respective country. In case of the US, I believe the agency will issue a tax form (sorry, I forget which one but something called like I-94), complete it and send it back. Or else, they will withhold your taxes assuming that you have worked for them being located in the US. In this form, there is a section where they ask you whether you presently reside in the US or not and where you offered your service (i.e. country name).

I don't know how long you have been in Japan, but the custom is that you calculate all the earnings you made during a particular year, say 2010, at the end of December or beginning of January 2011, go to the tax office in February or March to declare and fill out the annual income tax return (確定申告).

HTH

Yasutomo


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