I am a foreign citizen who has been in Japan for two years. I receive a pension in my home country, which is deposited in my bank account there, from which I withdraw money when needed. Am I required to pay tax on my pension from my home country?
A pension (nenkin / 年金) paid to you is classed as income (shotoku / 所得), and is therefore subject to income tax (shotokuzei / 所得税). However, in the case of a foreign citizen's income from sources outside Japan, the scope of income subject to income tax in Japan will depend on the classification of one's residential status.
The scope of individual tax liability is determined according to the residential categories of Resident (kyojūsha / 居住者) and Non-resident (hi-kyojūsha / 非居住者). A Resident is an individual who has a domicile (jūsho / 住所) or has had a residence (kyosho / 居所) continuously in Japan for at least one year. Those outside this category are categorized as Non-residents. In the Resident category, individuals of non-Japanese nationality who have had a domicile or residence in Japan for a total period of five years or less within the preceding ten-year period are further classified as Non-permanent residents (hi-eijūsha / 非永住者). Residents other than Non-permanent residents are conveniently classified as Permanent residents (eijūsha / 永住者).
As to the scope of taxation according to residential status, the whole income of a Permanent resident, regardless of whether from sources within or outside Japan, is subject to taxation. In the case of a Non-permanent resident, income from sources within Japan, and income from sources outside Japan which is paid within Japan or remitted to Japan are subject to taxation. In other words, a Non-permanent resident's income within Japan is subject to tax.
In your situation, given that you have been in Japan for two years, you would be classified as a Non-permanent resident. Your pension paid into a foreign bank account is therefore not subject to Japanese income tax. Although it seems that withdrawing funds for everyday expenses in Japan from your foreign bank account is not considered a remittance (sōkin / 送金), this may vary depending on the circumstances, so please consult a tax office.
On the other hand, funds paid within Japan or remitted to Japan are subject to taxation, so you will be required to submit a final tax declaration (kakutei shinkoku / 確定申告) in order to pay. When filing one's final tax declaration, if one has an obligation to pay income tax or an equivalent tax in accordance with foreign laws, one can credit a certain amount of the foreign income tax against one's Japanese income tax, a deduction known as foreign tax credit for non-residents (gaikokuzei-gaku kōjo /外国税額控除).
For further details, please consult your nearest tax office.
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