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Living Information

Living Q & A: Unable to Pay Resident Tax

2019.05.26

外国人暮らしのQ&A:住民税が払えない

Q:

My employment contract expired in March, so I had to leave my job. It's now June, and I haven't found another job yet. I'm looking, but because I still haven't found a job, I have no income.
The other day, an invoice arrived for resident tax, but with no income, I can't pay it. Up to now, my resident tax was deducted from my salary, so does this invoice mean that I'm being billed twice?

A:

In addition to national income tax (shotokuzei / 所得税), there is also resident tax (jūminzei / 住民税), a collective term for resident taxes levied by prefectural and municipal governments. Jūminzei is payable to the prefecture and municipal government in which you reside.

You will receive an invoice around June from the municipal government in which you were living on 1 January of that year. The income to which jūminzei is applied is that for the previous year. For example, the jūminzei to be paid for 2019 (from June 2019 to May 2020) is calculated from your income from January to December of 2018; Your jūminzei paid in 2018 (from June 2018 to May 2019) was based on your income from January to December of 2017. So you are not being billed for something you have already paid.

Under local regulations, a system for reducing jūminzei in certain circumstances is available. In the City of Nagoya, for example, "individuals whose total income (sō-shotoku / 総所得) for the previous year was less than 2,000,000 Yen and whose income for this year is expected to be less than half of that for the previous year" may receive a 50% reduction on their income levy (shotoku-wari / 所得割) amount. And there are a range of other circumstances in which one's jūminzei may qualify for a reduction (genmen / 減免).

To find out if you are eligible for a reduction in your jūminzei in accordance with local regulations, consult the section of your local municipal office responsible for taxes. As there are deadlines for reduction applications, it's a good idea to check as early as you can.

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