tokyodev forum

About hiring an accountant

Hello everyone! What a lovely designed site! Thanks Paul for creating it!

I’m Joe, I’ve been here for over 3 years now, still not be able to communicate in Japanese, I blame Netflix for that! I’m currently working at a small startup here in Tokyo as a web developer.

This year has been a busy year for me, besides my 9 to 5 job, I also created a small SaaS service which made me about 80,000 yen in total (I used Stripe to collect the payment), and, I’m also helping one of my Japanese friend to develop his software product, he pays (over bank transfer) me by the hour as freelancer, not much, it’s around 50,000 yen a month, 250,000 yen in total so far.

So, since now is the tax reason (from this month to end of March next year? If I remember correctly), and last time I check, I made more than 200,000 yen (the minimum tax-free side income amount), looks like I have to report my tax this year. So, here comes my question, where do I even start? My company takes care of everything for me normally, despite the fact they’re aware of my side gigs, I don’t think I can ask them to do my side gigs part.

I have so many questions, this community is great, but asking everything here is probably too much, lol. Can anyone recommend an English speaking accountant who can take on individual customer like me? About how much I’ll be paying for such a service? Or hiring an hourly billed virtual assistant would be good enough? If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to throw at me! Thanks everyone!

When trying to find an accountant for my company, I discovered that English speaking accountants charged a premium of two to five times the going rate for a Japanese one. At the time, we were cashed strapped, and so ultimately went with a Japanese one. The base rate for a corporate tax return from a Japanese accountant seems to be ¥200,000 to ¥300,000.

I don’t have experience with paying a professional for help with personal income taxe but I would guess it would be in the ¥50,000 to ¥100,000 range. Given your relatively small side revenue, I doubt it is going to be worth it.

Japan does have English language income tax documentation. Here’s the 2018 guide. There’s also a hotline you can call regarding tax. There’s also free in person consulting available (though it might only be in Japanese).

While it can be intimidating to do your own taxes, Japan’s goal is for you to pay the correct amount of tax. So generally you can trust bureaucrats advice. Also, as long as you’re approaching it in good faith, even if you do end up making a mistake, there aren’t going to be dire consequences.

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Thank you so much Paul! Your reply is not only super informative, but also made me feel whole lot better! I’ll read the document carefully, and make the phone call if I still have any questions.

p.s. I filled out your survey the other day, when the result will be coming out? Very interested to see the results. :slight_smile:

I’ll wait until people stop answering it, and then normalize and analyze the results. I’d expect the article to be out by mid-December, but exact timing will depend on a lot of factors.

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