As you may have noticed, LP has been hard at work on articles about the Juki Card (AKA the Basic Resident Registry Card) system that has just been opened up to foreigners.

As we have mentioned before, in addition to containing your registered alias (tsushomei 通称名), the Juki Card can be used as an electronic identifications for official government transactions over the internet. Perhaps the most important of these transactions is the system for electronic tax filing, better known as e-Tax.

What is E-Tax?
E-tax is the catch all name for the National Tax Agency's (kokuzei-cho 国税庁) electronic statement filing system. This systems is specifically for national tax (kokuzei 国税) such as income tax (shutoku-zei 取得税) and corporate tax (hojin-zei 法人税). 

A seperate system for prefecture and local taxes (collectively known as jumin-zei 住民税 or "inhabitant tax") known as E-L Tax is run by the Council for Local Tax Filing Digitalization (地方税電子化協議会). Both E-tax and E-L Tax use the Juki Card as the primary means of digital ID.

What are the Benefits of E-tax?
The most tangible benefit of filing taxes electronically is the potential 3000 yen tax break available for digital filers.

Other than that, filing taxes online is more flexible than filling out heaps of income reports (kakutei shinkoku 確定申告) by hands. Since the authorities in Japan tend to be sticklers for mistakes, an error on a hand written form can mean a total rewrite. Also, if you are self employed and/or earn income from alternate sources like investments, e-filing can drastically simplify filing and record keeping.

One of the big disadvantages of this system that the relevant authorities do not seem to be keen on supporting Mac and Linux-based operating systems. This can be a big problem for potential filers as specialized software and applications must be installed. However, third party developers are able to incorporate most of the e-Tax system into their products so you aren't tied to the default web portal and software.

Also, the system is entirely in Japanese, meaning you have to have pretty good handle on the difficult jargon of tax terminology before you consider using it.

How to Use E-tax
Before you consider using e-tax you need the following things:
  • A valid Juki Card with your current address (with or without picture)
  • An approved IC card reading device to connect to your PC
  • The appropriate software and drivers
That means after applying for your Juki card at your local city hall or ward office, if you want to use it online you will still need to pick up a card reader like this:
NTT Communications branded IC chip card reader
An IC chip card reader can be found at just about any major electronic retailer and online (check out's selection here). Most IC readers are compatible with Juki Cards but make sure to check the packaging just to be certain. Also, make sure to confirm that the appropriate software and drivers are supplied for your operating system of choice.

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