Japanese Tax Laws

A Comprehensive Guide to Japanese Tax Laws for Residents and Expats

Japanese Tax Laws

Gain a comprehensive understanding of Japanese tax laws with our in-depth guide for residents and expats. Discover the unique tax system that governs Japan, and learn how to stay compliant while making informed financial choices. From the basics to the specifics, this blog covers it all.

Japan, known for its rich cultural heritage and cutting-edge technology, also has a unique tax system governed by its own set of laws. Whether you are a resident or a foreigner working in Japan, having a basic understanding of Japanese tax laws is essential to ensure compliance and make informed financial decisions.

Types of Taxes in Japan

In Japan, taxpayers are primarily subject to three main types of taxes:

  1. Income Tax: Similar to many other countries, Japan imposes income tax on individuals based on their total annual income. The tax rates vary depending on the income bracket, with higher rates applied to higher incomes.
  2. Consumption Tax: Consumption tax, often referred to as the sales tax or value-added tax in other countries, is applicable to most goods and services consumed in Japan. Currently set at 10%, this tax is included in the final purchase price.
  3. Resident Tax: Resident tax is levied by local governments in Japan based on an individuals income and place of residence. This tax helps fund local services such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure.

Taxation for Foreigners in Japan

If you are a foreigner working in Japan, there are a few key points to keep in mind regarding your tax obligations:

  • Non-resident foreigners are generally taxed only on their income generated within Japan.
  • Resident foreigners are subject to taxation on both their domestic and international income, similar to Japanese residents.
  • Japan has tax treaties with numerous countries to avoid double taxation. It is important to understand how these treaties impact your tax liability.
  • Foreigners may also be eligible for certain tax deductions and exemptions, such as for relocation expenses or specific foreign income.

Filing your Taxes in Japan

In Japan, tax returns are typically filed annually. The Japanese fiscal year runs from April 1st to March 1st, with tax returns generally due by mid-March of the following year.

It is essential to keep accurate records of your income, expenses, and deductions throughout the year. In many cases, employers in Japan withhold income tax from employees salaries and handle the filing process on their behalf.

If you are self-employed or have multiple sources of income, you may need to file your taxes independently or seek assistance from a tax professional.


Understanding Japanese tax laws is crucial for anyone living and working in Japan. By familiarizing yourself with the different types of taxes, knowing your obligations as a foreigner, and staying organized during the tax filing process, you can ensure compliance and make the most of your financial situation in Japan.


Minoru Shiina