Most businesses need to engage a tax accountant to help them prepare and lodge a tax return at the end of each financial year. I also recommend that businesses with employees should generally get a Japanese tax accountant to prepare the employee payroll, or at least have a Japanese tax accountant on call for questions and the end of year tax adjustment.
I have come across a quite a few Japanese tax agents with a various skills, services and fees so it pays to find one which suits your requirements. I recommend you consider the following when choosing a Japanese tax accountant:
- Does he speak good English? This is important if you expect to get good advice in English but not so important if your Japanese is good or you do not expect to ask for much advice. If the senior staff don’t speak English, it might be OK if one of the junior staff speaks a bit of English.
- Do they produce accounts in English? This is important if you want to understand the accounts they give you but not so important if you are using Xero or MYOB which is in English and should be updated once a year to match the Japanese tax return.
- How many staff do they have? Quite a few tax accountants I have met operate on their own which generally means they can offer a cheap fee but they tend to be extremely busy and may not have so much time available to discuss with their clients.
- How much do they charge? Some tax accountants charge a flat annual fee for lodging the annual corporate tax return. This fee ranges from about 100,000 yen to 324,000 yen so you should know why you are paying what you pay. Other tax accountants charge a monthly retainer and visit monthly which can also be very expensive, especially for new companies.
- Can someone recommend them? Speak to friends or myself to find out what they are really like.
- Where are they located? There are a two or three tax accountants in Kutchan but most of my clients use tax accountants in Sapporo.
- Do they visit your area from time to time? A few tax accountants in Sapporo have several clients in the Kutchan and Niseko area and so make regular visits to the area.
Please don’t hesitate to ask me for more information about choosing a tax accountant.