Am I in trouble?

I have read as many posts as I have been able to get my hands on here. However I would really appreciate your thoughts and insights into my possible predicament.

My work visa and ARC are soon to be up by July 31. My school wants to keep me on and I would like to sign a new contract with them. However, my school informed me that I need to include my a reciept for filed/paid taxes for last year with my new health check to the CLA for a new work permit.

I did file my taxes for 2007 and there is no problem for that year. I am getting money back.

The problem is I taught English ILLEGALLY for the two years before 2007 in Taiwan, constantly flying in and out of Taiwan. I was working at a school I really liked that couldn’t offer me an ARC and it was fun to go on weekend trips constantly. But I finally had enough of that and decided to go legal. So I got a legal job with work visa and ARC.

Then when I filed my taxes this past May, the tax office looked at my travel activity for the two years before and I admitted that I was working illegally. They did the calculations of the tax that I owed and it has been filed. But not paid yet.

So I am just worried that the when the CLA looks at my reciept for my taxes filed this year, they will notice that I paid taxes from the two other years but had no ARC.

My first question is: When issuing a new work permit, is the CLA just interested or mainly interested in taxes filed/paid from 2007? Or are they going to check before that? I presume if the past illegal years show up I will be in trouble.

I really don’t want to one day be deported so I was suddenly thinking of leaving Taiwan after my contract and arc expires on July 31.

But I am wondering as I am at the airport, will my unpaid taxes show up? What will happen then? Will I not be able to leave?

Or will they even nab me there for working illegally, now that I have filed those taxes?

If one is deported, how is it done? Do they come and get you and lock you up? Or do they notify that you only have so many days before you have to leave? Do you have a chance to get your things together and some money?

All information, suggestions, and advice are very welcome. And I might have to make a rash decision soon.

Thanks everyone.

Re:Point 1: Once you admitted to them that you had worked illegally, you were bascially fucked. You should just have said that you like traveling around this region.

Re: Point 2: That’s a big 10-4. But the worst you’ll get is paying back taxes, being deported, and being unable to reenter Taiwan.

Re: Point 3: If the immigration officer at the airport thinks you are exiting Taiwan permanently, they will stop you for unpaid taxes. For this, they might rely on a lot of different factors, the most obvious of which being a heads-up from the Tax Department, which they will probably have by now.

Re: Point 4: Maybe. But these days I’ve heard more about people just not getting a new work permit approval from the CLA, and thus not being able to get a new visa and having to leave for that reason.

Re: Point 5: The most likley scenario is a letter sent to your stated address asking you to come down to the police station with your passport. When you do, they’ll stamp a date in it and you must be out before that date.

One other question is:
Will I be fined if I am asked to leave Taiwan? How much? Is there a range?

And thanks Big John for the reply.

I haven’t heard of any fines for people being caught working without the right visa, or having an illegal second job. I have only heard of fines for staying in the country beyond the legal limit.

If you go ahead and put through the paperwork for another work visa, there’s a slight possibility you might get lucky. Sometimes places outside of Taipei City, like Taipei County, Ilan, Taoyuan, Taizhong etc., are less meticulous in the paperwork so you might have better luck there. Maybe. Also, big chain schools often have better infuence and can sometimes get “favors” from the government. Sometimes. But I’d get your Taiwan affairs in order.

If you are still into teaching ESL, there are plenty of other places in Asia.

As an afterthought: if you leave Taiwan before you are deported (not that you necessarily will be) you will probably find it easier to get back here - as a tourist.

Have you spoken with your first school about this? The amount of back tax you end up having to pay might be based on school records of your income. In the absence of these records, just a declaration might do. ( I say might because things are a bit slippery in Taiwan) The school, however, will likely face a stiff fine for having hired you without a proper permit. I think it’s something like NTD 250,000. They may not be too thrilled about that.

I heard of a threat of a fine of NT$750,000. That fine didn’t materialize because the case was dropped, though. But the upper limit jives with this post:

I heard of a threat of a fine of NT$750,000. That fine didn’t materialize because the case was dropped, though. But the upper limit jives with this post:

I meant fines for the teacher.

The first case supposedly included fines on the teacher, which never materialized – but the info wasn’t really clear. The cases of teachers who were punished that I know of involved deportation, or rejection of an APRC application.

I was hoping that against all odds this was just going to slide by. It doesn’t look like it.

I still hold a glimmer of hope that the CLA will see that last year’s taxes are in order and not notice the taxes I filed for my illegal work. Is this delusional?

btw my current school is not the one that I worked illegally for.

If anyone has any more insight into the workings of the CLA and how they use your tax information, it is still really appreciated.

Thanks alot to Big John and Dragonbones for the information.

If you’re lucky, they’ll accept just the 2007 tax statement, without asking to go back further. Definitely don’t volunteer earlier ones, of course. You might slip by. In the meantime, be planning on where you would go and how to deal with your stuff if you have to leave on VERY short notice.

Best of luck to you on this one. Please keep us posted!

One more question for Dragonbones, Big John and everyone…

If I apply for a work permit and I am turned down, will I be

a. asked to leave Taiwan with a big stamp in my passport that says I cannot come back

b. just not able to get a new work permit, work visa, and arc and have to leave

c. forcibly deported with a big stamp in my passport

d. other (if so, please specify details)

e. all of the above

Do all of the above options include a do not come back stamp in the passport?

I guess at this point I am really doing a risk assessment. My main concern is not being banned from Taiwan for any length of time. I really like this place.


If it’s due to the CLA turning down your permit based on tax records, I think it would be “b”, but I don’t know for certain. If it’s due to being caught red handed teaching kindy, that would be deportation with the big ‘don’t come back’ bit.

An Update of what happened.

My school went ahead and applied for a work permit for me. A school administrator even phoned anonymously to the office you apply for a work permit to and explained the situation about my past history of having worked illegally for two years. We were trying to figure out if they would look into my past taxes and put it together that I didn’t have an ARC for two years. And thus get me into major trouble. The man said that it probably wouldn’t come up. So I decided just to give it a try.

Well they issued my permit without a problem. I just have to take it to apply for my ARC which I will do this coming week.

I’m glad things worked out for you astroboy. Thanks for the update.

Oh wow, thats great news! One of my friends got deported because he was caught teaching at a school that wasn’t at the same adress as his ARC stated. He heard nothing for 6 months, then got a letter stating he had to leave in 10 days. So I think they do give you a week or so notice.

I hope new pats are watching these posts. If you cut corners, the corners will often cut you. Just do it right to begin with.