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リーガルレント

従業員に対する福利厚生または報酬の一環として会社がアパートを借りて、これを役員や従業員に貸す場合があります。この場合、その従業員は会社から経済的利益を享受しているので、本来その分負担しなければいけない税金が増えます。しかし、会社が、アパートを貸している従業員から一定の金額を受け取っていればその従業員が負担する税金は増えないというカラクリがあります。これがいわゆる「リーガルレント」や「法定家賃」と呼ばれているものです。





問題となる従業員の給与から引くべき「一定の金額」は次のように計算されます。

 一定の金額 = 実際の支払賃料 × 一定割合

この一定割合がクセモノです。多くの企業はこれを一律10%(下記例1)しているようですが、積極的なアプローチを採用してこれを5%(下記例2)、消極的なアプローチを採用してこれを15%(下記例3)とするところもあります。

 例1
 実際の支払賃料が月額25万円で、一律10%とする場合、
 250,000円×10% = 25,000円

 例2
 実際の支払賃料が月額25万円で、一律5%とする場合、
 250,000円×5% = 12,500円

 例3
 実際の支払賃料が月額25万円で、一律15%とする場合、
 250,000円×15% = 37,500円

知っておかなければいけないことは、この計算方法にはリスクが伴うということです。それは、従業員が負担している一定の金額が少なすぎる場合です。何を基準に少なすぎるか?これが面倒なのです。家屋の固定資産税の課税標準額、敷地の固定資産税評価額、そして家屋の総床面積の3つの数字を引っ張ってこなければいけないからです。これらを何とか引っ張ってきたとし、上の例1~3について当てはめてみましょう。

 その年度の家屋の固定資産税の課税標準額 = 10,000,000円
 その家屋の総床面積= 55㎡
 その年度の敷地の固定資産税の課税標準額 = 11,000,000円の場合、

 10,000,000円×0.2% + 12円×55㎡/3.3㎡ + 11,000,000 ×0.22%×50% = 32,300円

最初の簡単な計算方法を使用している場合、実際賃料に一定の率を掛けて、その金額を従業員の給与から控除してこれでよしとしています。しかし、面倒な計算方法を使用した場合、10%または5%の控除では足りず、実際は15%の控除をしていなければならないことになります。税務調査が入った場合、リーガルレントは源泉漏れの疑いがかかりやすいので、積極的なアプローチを採用している場合は税務調査で引っかかるリスクも当然高くなります。

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2007年01月21日 Taxes トラックバック:0 コメント:0

paycheck and tax

Under the Japanese Income Tax Law(所得税法), salary income(給与所得) includes salaries and wages, bonuses, and allowances. Common allowances include allowance relating to cost of living, education allowance for children, medical allowance, tax allowance relating to gross-up, and housing allowance. Fringe benefits such as interest free or low interest loans are also included in salary income. Unfortunately, salary income is one of the 10 income categories subject to tax withholding.





The amount of withholding tax is calculated with reference to 給与所得の源泉徴収税額表 or Table for Withholding Tax on Salary Income. Please note that the Table has been renewed as of January 1, 2007 due to the termination of 定率減税 or a fixed rate tax deduction, an automatic tax deduction, which has been in effect for the past years. Using the Table, the amount of tax withhold from your monthly paycheck is determined based on (1) your monthly salary including all allowances and fringe benefits valued at fair market value, (2) whether you have submitted the annual 給与所得者の扶養控除等(異動)申告書 or the Deduction for Dependents Report, and (3) the number and health conditions of dependents claimed on the Report.

(1) Because the Japanese tax system uses the progressive rate system(累進課税制度), the more salary you earn the more amount of tax will be withheld from your paycheck. (2) To minimize your withholding tax (and increase your net pay), you should always, and I can’t emphasize this enough, submit the Report to your HR by January 1 of each year. Strictly speaking, without your Report in hand, HR is technically required to withhold more tax from your paycheck. (3) Also, if you’re financially supporting your parents, siblings, and relatives, you should claim them on your Report unless they’re claimed on someone else’s Report (you can’t claim your parents as your dependents if your older brother claims them as his dependents). Your dependents don’t have to be in Japan like it is in the US. If you’re sending money over to your aunt in Vietnam, claim her as your dependent. But be careful. I’ve seen a few Chinese nationals working in Japan who claimed their entire family and relatives in China as dependents. If those people were really supporting all those people and could prove it to the Tax Authority when they come knocking on their door for tax audits than that’s fine. But if they were simply abusing the system, they’d be in deep shit if caught. It is important to know that there is a line between tax minimization and tax evasion.

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2007年01月15日 Taxes トラックバック:0 コメント:0

taxes aren't voluntary

A famous jurist by the name of Judge Learned Hand once said:





“Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one’s affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible(節税をすることはそれ自体何も悪しきことではなく、それは裁判所が都度都度指摘するところである). Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right(裕福・貧困を問わず誰もが行うものであり), for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands(誰しもが社会に対し法が求める以上に税金を納める義務など負っていないのである): taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions(税金は強制的に徴収されるものであって、任意的な寄付ではないのだから). To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant(モラルの名の下に必要以上の納税を求めること事態が馬鹿げたことであるとしか言いようがない).” [Commissioner v. Newman, 159 F2d 848 (Ca 2, 1947)]

This kind of attitude may not be welcomed in the yet bureaucratic(未だ官僚的な) Japan. But I am a big supporter of this saying and this type of attitude is at the very basis of every article introduced in WJA.

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2007年01月14日 Taxes トラックバック:0 コメント:0

W-2 forms

I presume you’ve all returned to work by now. Beginning of the year in Japan normally starts off by drinking sake at the office, visiting customers for a new year’s greetings, and going to nearby shrines. The HR department, however, is still in the midst of its busy season. No time to be sipping sake at their desks. Under the Japanese Income Tax Law (所得税)employers are required to issue the Japanese version of W-2 forms (源泉徴収票)by January 31st of each year to be distributed to their employees as well as to the municipal government offices that have jurisdiction over their employees’ place of residence.





The Japanese W-2 form is the result of the year-end adjustment performed by your HR or by another person or entity your employer outsourced its payroll functions to. The form indicated your age, the number of dependents you are claiming and their age and health conditions, your gross income, income deduction, taxable income, life insurance premiums paid, non-life insurance premiums paid, social insurance premiums paid, mortgage payments paid, income tax withheld up to your last paycheck, income tax that should’ve been withheld according to the information you submitted for year-end adjustment, and the difference as refund or additional withholding. All in all, it’s a copy of your tax return.

This form becomes important if you want to file a more detailed tax return separate from the year-end adjustment. Because the year-end adjustment is designed as a one-size-fit-all simplified tax return for salaried employees, it only takes into consideration of salary income and disregards other sources of income such as interests, dividends, rental, business, capital gains, and property sales. It also disregards itemized deductions such as charitable contributions, medical expenses, capital losses, to name a few. Therefore, if you have sources of income other than salary from your employer, you’re more than likely than not to be required to file a separate tax return by March 15th. Even if you don’t have other sources of income, filing a separate tax return is the only way you can claim additional deductions and increase your tax refund. And the Japanese W-2 form must be attached to the separately filed tax return to be accepted by the tax office (税務署)that has jurisdiction over your address.

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2007年01月13日 Taxes トラックバック:0 コメント:0

tax return

April 15th is a real dread in US, another tax return to file with the damn IRS. Good news is that the dread is much lighter in Japan. In Japan, in December of each year, employees’ salaries throughout the year undergo something called year-end adjustment performed by the HR in your company or whomever your company outsourced its payroll functions to. For most people, this year-end adjustment is in itself the tax return.





Because year-end adjustments are performed by your HR (or by another person or entity your company outsourced its payroll functions to), you don’t have to touch a thing. All that is asked of you is to give the necessary information to the HR by an internally designated date (usually mid November to early December). In most cases these information are your (1) life and non-life insurance premium payments, (2) social insurance premiums (usually National Pension Insurance premiums) you paid for your family members and dependents, and (3) mortgage payments.

Where can you get these information yourself? (1) Proof of life insurance and non-life insurance premium payments are sent to you by your insurance companies (if you’re looking for insurance companies, here are some helpful sites: Insurance Clinic and Medical Insurance).

towards the end of the year. (2) You receive a receipt every time you pay social insurance premiums so keep these till year-end. (3) Proof of mortgage payments are sent to you by your mortgage company, usually a bank in Japan. After you gather these information, you enter the amounts into a designated form called Insurance Premium Deductions for Salaried Personnel and Special Spouse Deduction for Salaried Personnel (給与所得者の保険料控除申告書兼給与所得者の配偶者特別控除申告書), print your name and address on the bottom, and stamp your seal. Many companies also ask you to complete Declaration of Dependents for Salaries Personnel (給与所得者の扶養控除等(異動)申告書) to confirm your dependents for deduction purposes. You probably have completed the same form at the beginning of the year (and might ask why you have to do it again). The purpose is to reflect the most updated information in the year-end process because your family structure might have changed during the year.

After you submit all necessary forms and information, your HR will punch out your tax liability for the year and compare it against how much has already been withhold from your monthly salary. If withholdings exceeds tax liability (which is most likely the case) you’ll receive a refund on your December paycheck. If your tax liability exceeds withholdings (does happen once in a while) you’ll see more tax deducted from your paycheck than normal months. Together with your January pay slip your HR will provide you something called 源泉徴収票 which is an official copy of the details of your year-end adjustment.



2007年01月09日 Taxes トラックバック:0 コメント:0

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