It`s that time of year again...

OK, before anyone asks - the following picture says `baka gaijin` in Japanese. It translates as `stupid foreigner`... and yes, it`s a joke (kind of).

Last year I paid well over $5,000NZ in local city taxes. This of course was in addition to regular income tax. Generally I don`t mind paying it. Osaka is a pretty clean city considering that over 6 million people inhabit a very small space; the garbage men come bright and early every Tuesday and Friday morning; the roads are well lit and relatively safe to walk alone at night... it`s not all bad.

Unfortunately, there are some times when I wish that my tax dollar would do something to benefit me directly. Last night I was up until 3am trying to find the chinese characters for `Tax office`, and the location of my nearest office, as this will be the first time I visit one in Higashi Osaka (since I moved here last May).

For those people who are interested, or need this information for themselves, the Japanese word for tax office is `zeimusho` and the chinese characters look like this
税務署. I managed to find a website, entirely in Japanese, and get the address for the Higashi Osaka tax office (located in Eiwa city) and copy and paste it into google map... what an effort.

Basically, although there are over 2 million foreign people living in Japan, there is almost no information on taxes or tax offices in English. There are no documents, websites or information guides published by the government to assist foreign residents! I suppose that even though 2 million is a large number, it still equates to less than 2% of Japan`s population.

Thankfully for me, I tracked down a great resource - which helped me to calculate my taxes (in less than 2 hours) in the comfort of my own home, before I attempt to fill out the forms at the office this afternoon.

Wish me luck ~ !


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