Getting Your Tax Returns

Hi Gaijinhan, this is SH.

Its been a long time, how are you?
I am now working in Fukuoka, Kitakyushu City, under X since June this year.
So far, I have mixed feelings about the experience.

I found that the cons of teaching in Japan way outweigh the pros.

While I was offered a certain monthly salary, after rent, income tax, insurance and pension deductions, I actually receive less than half of my monthly salary as disposable income. This remaining amount is barely a live-able figure to last you til your next paycheck. This was one crucial info that my company has conveniently avoided to inform us about.

I realized that I am actually paying much more tax than some of my ALT colleagues. My monthly income tax is close to 46,000 yen while some of them only pay a few thousand yen. It appears they are paying considerably lesser because they have tax exemption because they have dependents.

I also have aged parents back in Singapore and I asked my company on the possibility of getting myself on tax exemption as well.

But it has been 2 weeks since I first enquired about this, and there is still no update from them.

My company is very much under-staffed, they only provide minimal support to facilitate you working at the schools. Whatever other concerns you might have are not on their priority. So I am compelled to seek out this information for myself.

I like to ask you about your understand on Japan’s income tax system, about tax exemptions for dependents, particularly for foreigners in Japan.

Please provide me with advice on how to apply for any of the tax exemptions if possible. And for any prior income tax I have paid for without the exemption, will it be claimable?

I will appreciate it if you can share any information you might have.

Many thanks and regards,


Hi SH,

I hope I didn’t miss out any parts that I should censor. I’m actually quite envious of you in that I’ve always wanted to live in Fukuoka, but yet had the chance or maybe I did have the chance but didn’t make the move when I was doing freelance work last year. I will try my best to offer what I know from my short 5.5 years here regarding getting your tax returns.

While I don’t know how much you are paid, it’s normal for insurance, pension, and income tax to take up close to 50,000 yen of your salary if you’re making around 250,000 yen. Since you’re in Kitakyushu, I suppose rent should be cheaper since the city’s finances are among the worse ones in the country and property prices are relatively low. When you mean less than half disposable income, do you mean after rent, utilities, and bills are paid for?

I’m not certain about your other colleagues’ situation but even if you’re not getting as much tax exemption from having dependents outside Japan, you can apply for tax returns during the year-end adjustment (or 年末調整). I was fortunate my previous company was responsible enough to ask me about it and submitted on my behalf but if required, you can prepare your own Japanese and English documents, get your parents to sign them and bring your tax withholding slip (源泉徴収票) together with it to the tax office during the adjustment period.

Below is a sample of the documents I submitted to get my tax returns.


English Version

I, <parent’s name>, NRIC No. <parent’s I/C number>, hereby acknowledge that I have received a sum equivalent to approximately <amount you give your parent in a year> Japanese yen from my son, <your name>, Residence Card Number <your residence card number>, in <year>.

Signature: <parent’s signature>
Date: <date of signature>

Japanese Version

<parent’s name>(国民登録管理カード番号:<parent’s I/C number>)は、 長男<your name>(在留カード番号:<your residence card number>)より、 <year>年に合計約<amount you give your parent in a year>円に相当する金額を受領したことを認めます。

署名:<parent’s signature>
日付:<date of signature>

Note that in the Japanese version before “<your name>” it says 長男 because I am the only son in the family (I have an elder sister). If you’re the second son or third son, change it to 次男 or 三男 respectively. Or for ladies who are using this, don’t forget to change “son” to “daughter” in the English version and 長男 to 長女 or 次女 or 三女 depending on how many siblings you have.

I can’t remember how much I received in return but it appears that I only had to submit once because last year, when I did my own taxes as a freelancer, I noticed that the system had the record of my dependent in Singapore so I didn’t have to fill it in again.

Hope this helps!


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