What Happens if You’re Late Paying Your Taxes in Japan?

By Donnie | Articles

This is short post that I meant to put up last year, but since my taxes are broken into payments, I think it’s still relevant.

When you live in Japan, so many of the things you see and do will be different from back home. However, some things don’t change. If you’re earning income here in Japan, you will have to pay taxes on it. Some companies are better than others at deducting it for you, which really makes things easier. But if you’re at a job that doesn’t you’ve got to handle the taxes on your own. Please check out the previous post I did on Japanese taxes.

For me, coming from a job that was paying SIGNIFICANTLY more than my current one, it means my tax obligations are a little steeper than I want them to be, and they’re sometimes a bit more than I can comfortably afford to pay in a one month period. After the initial 40,600 yen payment, each of the three remaining payment thereafter is 38,000 yen. That kind of money can definitely make a dent in my meager, teacher’s salary, right? The payment plan accounts for that, and gives me 60 days between payments which is generally enough time to take care of things, but on one of the payments I missed my due date unintentionally.

So what do you do if you’re late on your taxes? The first thing to remember, is not to panic. I find that in Japan, with many financial matters, the rules are little more lenient than they would be in the US*.

Please don’t think I’m encouraging you to pay your bills late, because I think that’s a bad idea, but I do know that things happen sometimes.

The first thing that will happen is that you’ll get a notice in the mail from your local city hall. This is what mine looked like:

This is what the Tsukuba tax reminder looks like. This was issued late last year. Notice the stamp in the lower right corner? That means I paid...whew! One more payment to go!

This post card lets you know the amount due and the “reminder charge” you have to pay. It really wasn’t much at all, just 100 yen. Keep in mind though, that if your taxes are more delinquent, the resulting fees are calculated based on the delayed number of days and the overdue amount. Here in Tsukuba there a 14.6% per year rate on the amount due.

Although I was fairly certain I couldn’t make a late payment at the convenience store, I went to my local Mini Stop and tried to pay it anyway. Of course…no dice. The clerk let me know that I couldn’t make my payment at the convenience store because the date had passed.

I took a short bike ride to City Hall, money in hand. Literally from the front door of city hall to the cashier’s desk, back outside, took between 2 and 3 minutes (there was no line, though). No harm, no foul, no questions asked.

It’s always best to take care of tax-related stuff on time. But if you’re struggling to make those tax payments, an extra two to three weeks (at least here in Tsukuba anyway), doesn’t really hurt all that much on the late fee side of things.

Thanks for reading,

Donald Ash

About the Author

  • Alana says:

    I haven’t submitted mine yet. I got this card and they’ve been sending me new bills plus 100 yen. I’ve really got to get on top of this…

  • Dochimichi1 says:

    What a terrifying card to receive!
    I mean, the amount of Japanese text to read, and that tax as well! (>_< 😉

  • Jay Dee says:

    It’s happened to me. Actually, a year ago. I’d moved from one city to another, and I didn’t realise that I still had to go back to my old city to pay my tax, even though I didn’t live there anymore. I didn’t have any late charges to pay. I just paid, and no problems.

  • Kev Ratcliffe says:

    so income tax is around 160,000 yen per year for you? Around 13,000 a month? This is pro-rata right? So if I stay in Japan for 5 months I will pay 5 x 13,000?

  • >