UPDATED on 15/11/2015.
Hi guys, as promised i just copied a part of Mr.Lee Kolh's initial post and modify it as what i have done up to date (underlined & bold). I wrote this post in rush so if anything is unclear, feel free to pm me.
How to open a rep office
Step 1: Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA)
You need to prepare the following and bring it to the MOEA:
- 申請書 Application form.
Must be filled out 100% by computer. I personally used PDF software called PDF xchange which lets you type on any PDF and print. It might be good to visit the MOEA and get help filling it out, as it's not clear when to write Chinese and when to write English, etc.
Get this from the MOEA website gcis.nat.gov.tw/doc/com_doc1/Com_a_003.doc
Special permission letter, no need unless you plan to operate in one of these industries: gcis.nat.gov.tw/cod/html/sp_srh_3.html
其公司登記主管機關核發之法人資格證明文件(附中文譯本) Certificate of incorporation of your company back home.
It's easiest to set up if you have a corporation, there are instances of other forms of company being allowed but it's best if you set up a proper corporation that is a legal person (法人). If you are from Canada, you can do the whole thing online for 200CND, I'm sure most other gov'ts have similar systems. You could also form a company in a 3rd country like Hong Kong, I hear it's pretty straightforward, ask in the forum and I'm sure you'll get some advice.
The certificate must be translated into Chinese. If the original document is in English you may translate it yourself, or get a friend to do it. Other languages will require a certified translator to do it. Confirm with the MOEA first if you want to avoid hassle.
The certificate used to require legalization but this is no longer the case. I still recommend having someone at the MOEA take a look at your certificate or a copy of it as early on as possible to confirm it can be accepted as is, just to be sure.
Power of attorney (POA) giving you the right to act as representative, and should state your exact responsibilities as rep, same as I explain in the preamble. This will have to include the full name of the representative in Taiwan, and be signed by a person whose name appears among the company directors, or the company owner.
It will have to be notarized, in Taiwan. Notarization prices are fixed by law: 500NT for Chinese documents. It takes 5 minutes, super simple. 500NT should get you unlimited copies, get 2~3, who knows when you'll need them.
Search Google for 代理人授權書 to find a POA.
Here's a very helpful notary near Shi-Da: 陳永星 台北市羅斯福路三段126號4樓之3
Your passport, and chops/seals (大小章).
If you don't have a small personal seal and a Chinese name, get one. You also need your company owner's personal seal, get one.
Your company will also require a Taiwanese seal. It must read X商YZ有限公司臺灣辦事處 where XYZ are:
X: your country name in Chinese
Y: your company name in Chinese (make one up)
Z: 股份 if your company is limited by shares; if not then don't include anything here
Example: [country name]商[company name]有限公司臺灣辦事處
Note 1: Never pay more than 70NT for a chop of any kind. Here's a place that does laser-cut chops in 5 minutes: g.co/maps/exnqt. It's the best place you can get your chop as it's very fast and also cheap (one time i got a chop at a shop on Xinyi Road and they charged me 450NT :fume: )
Note 2: At the same time you might as well cut another chop with the word 辦事處 added to the end of your full company name as above. It's pretty likely you'll need this when you apply for a tax account. New Taipei City certainly will demand it.
- 建物所有權人同意書正本（應載明同意提供使用之公司名稱）及 最近一期房屋完 稅稅單（或所有權狀）影本。（建物為公司所有者或檢附租賃契約影本，免附 同意書，仍應附最近一期房屋完稅稅單影本或所有權狀影本）
If you can't read this, don't worry, the important parts, which are in bold, are written out at the end of this item.
This part will be the most difficult for most people, although there is no need for it to be hard. You need to find a place to register the office. This can be an office, or your home. Most residential landlords will break into a cold sweat at the mere mention. Here are some options:
a. Sweet talk your present landlord and promise to pay, under contract, whatever increase in tax there might be as a result of registering. You can register as little as 1/6 of the living space as a business, and the tax only increase 1 or 2%, so this should not be a big deal. You will hit a wall if the landlord isn't paying rental tax on your apartment--very likely to be the case. Same for the fifth floor of 4-story buildings, etc. (加蓋).
b. Raise the issue when finding an apartment--at least here you have some leverage. Sweet talking will still be required. Note: If you register at your place of residence, note that you may receive a visit from tax officials to verify that there is indeed a legitimate work space and that it more or less matches the space declared. This is a gray area, but as with many things in Taiwan, if it looks legit, it's legit. So it shouldn't be a problem.
c. Rent a small office. Offices go for as little as 10k per month. Look on 591.com.tw.
d. Use one of the innumerable "services" offered all over Taiwan where you can rent a "space" to register your business for NT$2000-3000 per month. Most ask for 12 months rent upfront, however. No big deal, just be sure any contract you sign has a bail-out clause where you get the balance of your money back if you shut down/move/etc. PM if you want the name of the one I rent with.
You will have to get two things from your landlord.
i. A letter stating that the landlord agrees to have your rep office established at the address, full address and your company name must be stated. OR If the lease is in the company's name, you can provide that instead.
ii. A copy of the most recent tax statement for the place you're registering. It must show the same landlord as the name on the letter/lease in part i.
Note: Make a copy of all these document for your own records. To make a wanton generalization, landlords are a very shady lot and will get all antsy when you start asking them for various tax stuff so once you have the docs, copy them so you won't have to ask again and make them nervous for nothing.
- 外國公司指派代表人（變更）報備表（一式兩份） Registration card.
Must be 100% filled out by computer with zero mistakes. This is going to be your official certificate showing you have a rep office in Taiwan. Don't worry about doing into too much detail with the sections on what your company does, etc., a couple of sentences is fine.
File is here: gcis.nat.gov.tw/doc/com_doc1/Com_a_004.doc
- 免繳規費 It's free to register. How nice is that!
Some notes about the MOEA:
i. They're very helpful. There is a CPA desk which can answer all kinds of questions and most of the people there are very friendly. Go and talk to them.
ii. They have a website, which is awful, but it's still useful: gcis.nat.gov.tw. Find the link for 資料下載, which should have a section called 應備文件, under which rep office registration is referred to as 外國公司報備.
AN AGENCY DID THIS STEP TO ME AND ALSO HELPED ME TO APPLY FOR A TAX NUMBER, but REMEMBER whatever documents issued in your home country MUST be translated into chinese and be authenticated (certified) by TECO - Taiwan representative office in your country (ie: certificate of incorporation, power of attorney, contract...2-3 copies is fine)
After apply all document, you can monitor the progress on MOEA website (gcis.nat.gov.tw/pub/cmpy/cmpyCaseListAction.do), it usually takes up to 14 days.
Step 2: Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) I did this step at WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (Cross-border Workforce Services), Address: Fl. 10, No. 39, Chung-Hwa Rd. Sec. 1, Taipei City.
You will need to apply for a work permit. You will need:
- Application form (you can fill it out by hand at the CLA office) you can download it here wda.gov.tw/en/home.jsp?pagen ... 0049&flag=
- Photo of you, visa format. They're not too picky but it should be visa/passport style.
- Passport--prep copies before you go, there's a 7-eleven northwest of the office which you can use.
- Your two chops, 大小章
- Employment contract, any contract is fine. English will do.
- The registration documents (公文) given to you by the MOEA. you can download it here wda.gov.tw/en/home.jsp?pagen ... 0049&flag=
- 500NT cash.
Note: There is no official minimum wage in this case. Your home country's minimum, or Taiwan's minimum are fine, although if you are reporting too little tax here you might find yourself being asked a lot of questions. Now the MINIMUM WAGE to be inserted is 20,800NT$/m and your salary in the contract should not be lower than this amount.
Some notes about the WFA:
- There is Mr. Liu, he is receptionist which is an excellent helper for guiding you to complete every small details with your documents, forms...he is very nice guy. After he help you out with your document, just take the number, pay 500NT$ and apply all your document. Tell them if you want them to send you the approval letter to your desired address or you come back to pick it up (i chose to come back to pick it up myself to avoid any loss or missing)
- It will take approximately 7-10 working days. You can check the progress at this address wcfext.wda.gov.tw:8080/wcfonline ... search.jsp
- I really recommend you to come early at 8h30 am, at this time you are the only one there.
Step 3: National Immigration Agency (NIA)
You will need:
- 2 visa format photos
- Employment certificate, which they can give you one on the spot--it will require your signature and 大小章. Ask them to give you this form
- Application form, fill out by hand at the NIA
- Work permit from the CLA
- Passport and one copy (they have a copy machine there)
- Copy of the lease for the place you live, or a letter from the lessee stating you live there (may not be required if you fill out your address in Chinese, etc., I've only rarely been asked for this)
- 2200NT + 1000NT/year. You can choose to pay every year, or pay all at once. NOW you have to pay at once
It takes exactly 14 days. NIA will give you exactly stay duration as shown on work permit.
Note: If may be necessary to go to Foreign Affairs to get a resident permit, depending on your status at the time of application--ie visa free treatment. To avoid this, come on a visitor visa. I'm not sure about switching from another ARC. What is clear is that the likelihood of being forced to do a visa run is almost nil. Yes, i have no problem with switching from visitor visa (chinese learning purpose) to residence status.
Note for working holiday visa holders: This is a non-convertible visa and you will be required to do a visa run and probably visit a TECO office to have the visa formally canceled. It would be useful to apply for a visitor visa at the same time so you can avoid the application for a resident permit as stated above.
TAXATION and INSURANCE: I am still working on it and have further update when available.
Hope that could give you a clearer picture.