How to Set Up Business in Japan Laws & Regulations on Setting Up Business in Japan

Section 3. Taxes in Japan

3.4 Overview of withholding income tax

Japan’s tax filing system is based as a rule on self-assessed income tax payment where individuals (tax payers) calculate their annual income and tax amount, and file tax returns by themselves. In addition, a tax withholding system where companies (salary payers) collect income tax on the date of payment and pay the tax on behalf of individuals (income earners), is also introduced for specific incomes. Withholding income tax is assessed against payments of certain taxable income, whether paid to an individual or a corporation. Income subject to withholding income tax is determined in accordance with the type of income and the classification of the recipient of that income.

3.4.1 Withholding at source and payment procedures

Persons/companies who pay income subject to withholding at source must pay the taxation office the amount of tax withheld at source no later than the 10th day of the month following that the income was paid. However, when a payer with a domicile or business office in Japan pays income to a non-resident or a foreign corporation in another country, the withholding income tax may be paid by the last day of the month following that the income was paid. Regarding withholding tax paid on residents’ salaries, certain professional fees, a special exemption is provided for small businesses with fewer than 10 persons on the payroll that allows them to make a prescribed election to pay withholding income tax in six-month installments twice a year (by July 10 and by January 20).

3.4.2 Withholding tax on residents(individuals)

Payments made in Japan of the following or other prescribed income to residents are subject to withholding at source:

  • Interest
  • Dividends
  • Salary, wages, bonuses and similar compensation
  • Retirement allowances
  • Compensation, fees, etc., to certain professionals

3.4.3 Withholding tax on domestic corporations

Payments made in Japan of the following or other prescribed income to domestic corporations are subject to withholding at source:

  • Interest
  • Dividends

3.4.4 Withholding tax on non-residents and foreign corporations

Upon the payments made in Japan of the income described in 3.2.1 2., 3., 4., 6., 7., 8. – and 9. above (In case of the business year commencing on or after April 1, 2016, prescribed domestic-sourced income described in 3.2.2 2. - 5. above) to a non-resident or a foreign corporation, or such payments made overseas by payers with a domicile or business office, etc. in Japan, tax should be withheld. Of these payments, payments of certain categories of income as prescribed for non-residents and for foreign corporations to a non-resident or a foreign corporation with a permanent establishment within Japan are exempt from withholding taxation, provided that a certificate from the taxation office is presented to the payer attesting that the income will be attributed to that permanent establishment and will be added to business income subject to self-assessment for tax purposes.