Avoiding bank wire transfer hassles?

I work as a freelancer, and a couple of times per month I receive wire transfers to my US bank account from various clients in various amounts from US$100 on the low end to US$7000 on the high end.

I now find myself in Taiwan. I was planning on opening a bank account in Taiwan and having clients wire me money here, until I read posts on this forum about the hassles of bank wire transfers. For example, I read that every time you receive a wire transfer, the bank will phone you to “confirm” the transfer before releasing the money, and in some cases you have to explain the reason for the wire transfer.

I don’t speak Chinese and would prefer to not have to explain myself every time I receive a wire transfer. Have any other freelancers figured out a way to receive wire transfers hassle-free? Any advice would be most appreciated!

Don’t think there’s a way around it with local banks, and it’s not practical for small amounts because of wire fees anyway.

Just keep receiving in your us account, then withdraw from ATM or wire a bigger amount from time to time.

If you’re here for a short time, I don’t think a local account is worth it.

Would be curious how you intend to deal with taxes. Seems like such a headache to get right.

Maybe just keep it in your US bank and bring it back to Taiwan. Just fill out the US customs form if it’s over 10,000 USD.

Is PayPal still in Taiwan? If yes, you could link your account to your PayPal account and move it like that.

Hi,

Important threshold to care about: TWD 500,000. If your inbound transfers are above this amount, you basically can’t escape a visit to the branch to sign/stamp a form (bring ID).

Below that, it depends on your bank. Your relationship with your bank is important in Taiwan. Aim to get to know the people who are processing your transactions (most likely staff at the branch where you open the account), and treat them well they can help tailor service to you.

It took me about 12 months to ‘train’ my bank, but now they no longer call and instead just accept the funds and email me a PDF of the completed paperwork (and post a hardcopy for my accountant). They call only when the amount is over TWD500,000 and I need to visit the branch, or something has gone horribly wrong.

It is true that inward international transfers need to be tagged with a purpose. It’s more about putting a code in a box to categorise them than explaining their legitimacy.

The document you’ll need is this one:

Page 79 - Classification and Description of Inward Remittance
http://www.law.cbc.gov.tw/webCbcEng/wfrmDownload.aspx?ID=344&type=Law

(if you are sending funds overseas, the outward version is a few pages up)

Look up the appropriate code for your transaction type.

So, for example, if you are able to tell your new friends at the bank that every transaction you get is “19D” (Professional and Technical Service receipts), they’ll be able to look up the Chinese version of the same document and be satisfied with that.

One very critical thing:

In my experience, Taiwanese banks care a great deal that the account name on your account matches the beneficiary name of the transfer. This is to the extent where even line-wrapping can throw them off.

If your (English) company name is longer than 35 characters, chatting with your bank about this first could help you. You may have to add instructions like “Add ‘Full Beneficiary Name: My Company With Long Name Taiwan Branch’ in the description field” to your invoices.

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Many thanks to everyone (especially fifieldt) for the excellent advice and detailed explanations. In my case, it seems obvious that my best option is to continue to receive wire transfers to my US bank account and not deal with the hassles of wire transfers to Taiwan.

With MegaBank I can easily make wire transfers to my US account using their (English) website. No phone calls involved-- They just send me a confirmation email. The only downside is that they charge 500 NT per transfer, so I limit them to once a month or less. Oh, the other weird thing is that they only allow wire transfers during certain limited hours of the day. As long as you remember to do it during that window it’s pretty simple, though.

This is very helpful and I am grateful you posted this link. I noticed that page 79 seems to fall under “Outward” remittances, and Inward remittances seems to begin at page 90. Perhaps this document has been updated since then.

19D for inward remittances is now at the bottom of page 90 (page 2-4): Professional and technical service receipts - “Service receipts from the provision of professional services such as legal, accountant, management consultant, public relations, advertising, market survey, poll, commercial exhibition, public notary, examination, etc., including remuneration of directors and supervisors.”

I found this topic because I have a tax question. I have just received a dividend payment from an overseas mutual fund. The amount exceeds the NT$ 500,000 threshold @fifieldt has pointed out. Should I care whether I inform my Taiwan bank that is receiving the funds that it is income? Doesn’t Taiwan only tax income generated in Taiwan?

I think I found the answer to my questions here:

If you worked in Taiwan and stayed over 90 days, you need to pay taxes on your Taiwan based salary even if your income came from overseas.
This would not apply to me because this income is not from salary but from overseas investments.

In the comments section, this might apply to my situation:

Hi, I’m looking into investing into oversea securities (ETF and bonds)

Do you know under which category will falls the profit coming from those oversea dividends?

Thanks!

Hi Dan,
That income would fall under alternative minimum tax on overseas income (AMT). If you are not a Taiwan tax resident, you do not have to worry about this. If you are a tax resident, then AMT is 20% on your foreign income that exceeds 6.7 million NT per year.

It depends how long you stayed, whether you are a resident, and what the tax treaty between Taiwan and the other country says about the type of income. In some cases dividends can be taxed in both countries.

There’s a thread on this very topic forming in recent days: https://tw.forumosa.com/t/taxes-on-foreign-investments-as-a-taiwan-resident/