Can a school legally prevent me from claiming my taxes?

Hi Guys,

I worked in Taiwan last year for about 8 months. I took holidays after my payday on the 7th of the month left the country then resigned by email. I gave them about a weeks notice of my leaving. I did this because otherwise I would have to pay a 20,000NT fine for breaking the contract. Of course I still worked about 7 days during the last month before I resigned so they still received about 12,000NT for those days I worked. The reason I resigned was because they clearly breached the terms of my contract. It stated that they must give me 20hrs of work per week but they did not. I was unhappy that they would not pay me the difference which of course they should if it is stated on the contract. They are now trying to prevent me from gaining my tax witholding statement which must be illegal. How can they be entitled to keep my taxes?? If they require me to make up the difference in the fine thats ok. I am prepared to pay the difference 8,000NT or whatever it is but I am certainly not going to let them just walk away with about 33,000NT in taxes which I am owed. Who can I contact in order to resolve this issue?? Surely a school does not have the power to withhold all of my taxes. They initially broke the contract so I can’t see how they have any legal rights in this situation.

Thanks Erick

The contract issue is not relevant to the question of taxes, and I’m a bit confused who did what in that regard, so it’s probably best to just ignore that part of the story.

Regardless, if you worked and they withheld taxes, they must provide you a tax certificate. The kind folks down at the tax office would be happy to explain that to them, especially if the school didn’t actually pay them the withheld taxes. If you’re still in Taiwan, go down to the tax office and tell them what happened and they’ll be happy to help you. If you can bring any documentation such as pay receipts or bank deposits, that’ll help them figure out the situation better.

And again, I’d leave the contract dispute part out of it, because it isn’t relevant and is too confusing.

Thanks jlick for your reply. Unfortunately I am not in Taiwan at the moment but my Taiwanese girlfriend is still there. I wanted her to act as my proxy and collect the statement and tax return on my behalf. She was called by someone at my former school who told her that they weren’t going to give me my tax statement because I broke the contract, which is not entirely true because they actually broke it first. This woman also told my girlfriend that I would never be allowed to work in Taiwan again. Ouch!! That seems pretty harsh. Can a former employer actually ban me from working in the country again?? I used to work in Taichung. Can anyone tell me who I can contact in Taichung so as I can try to resolve this problem. Does anyone know the phone number of the tax office in Taichung or someone I could speak to so that I can tell them that they are refusing to hand over the tax certificate?? My girlfriend can make some enquiries for me but she is very busy at work during business hours so it is a bit awkward for her.
Thanks, Erick

If you fill out the proxy form and sign it, then your girlfriend can act on your behalf with the tax department. The issue of whether or not or who broke the contract does not relieve the employer from giving the tax department any withheld taxes and giving you a tax certificate.

As for whether you are barred from further work here, the employer is not the one who decides that, so don’t take their word for it. They are probably just trying to intimidate you. You can be barred from further work, but it usually takes much more than breaking a contract.

Where in Taichung? City or County? Which area?

I knew of someone in a similar, but not the same, position and the tax office told her that there was nothing that she could do. The school had never been to the tax office and they said there wouldn’t be anything that they could do until they came in again.

Sounds like bollocks to me.

Another teacher I know signed over a boss to act as his representative, then wanted to change back to himself, ehhh, you then need the original rep to give his permission to let you handle your own taxes again… so, I hope that you never signed anything letting them act as your tax agent.

Thanks jlick,
Yes I know if I fill out a proxy form and sign it my girlfriend can act on my behalf at the tax department. However, I wanted to make sure before I sent the “proxy form” and “application for transferring check” that I could first get the tax statement from my former employer. I wanted to do that first because I have been told by the TECO office here in my home country that I would have to get each document ie “proxy statement” and “application for transferring check” officially notorised by a public notary in Australia and then again officially stamped by the TECO office. This is going to cost about $120.00 Australian to do, so I want to make sure I will be successful otherwise I will be just wasting $120.00 for a couple of useless stamps. Thanks for your help.


Hello Bassman,

I worked in Taichung County for a very big chain school so I would be a bit surprised if they were doing dodgy things with taxes. I received printed payslips every month with the tax deductions clearly included. I have never signed anything for anyone to act as my tax agent. I want to get my Taiwanese girlfriend to act as my proxy but my problem is first of all getting the statement from my former employer.


Hi Erick:

We’ve helped people in Taipei with a similar problem. Of course the buxiban employer can’t withhold your tax slips, preventing you from properly filing. They will still do it because they’re unscrupulous. The Taichung tax department should be going after the employer for that because their failure to comply with the law is preventing you, a legal taxpayer, from complying with the law. Don’t worry, they’re not going to hold that against you. Just make sure you document everything and save all your receipts and paperwork from the school. This will be evidence you will need to show to the tax department people at a later point in time.

The Taipei City tax department certainly do their investigation and follow up with the employer for our clients. The other issue also is that the buxiban owner may force the tax department to trace its records for the buxiban and find out exactly what the tax situation is. That’ll take a while and it’s a long process at the moment due to all the tax filings this month.

Good luck.

Hello Mr McLean,

I was wondering if you were able to help me find out if I have in fact been put on some kind of blacklist. Apparently my girlfriend was told by my former employer that I have been put on a blacklist and, therefore, I won’t be able to work in Taiwan again. I spoke to my local TECO office in Australia but they couldn’t help me. They gave me a number in Taipei for the Consular of Bureau Affairs. I called them but they couldn’t help me. I am considering returning to work in Taiwan but I don’t want to go to Taiwan and then find out I can’t stay because I have been blacklisted. I would only apply for a visitor visa in Australia so therefore, I see no reason why there would be a problem getting that but the problem may come after I find employment in Taiwan and the school applies for an ARC only to find out that I have been blacklisted. Am I right?? Is that how things work in terms of the consequences of being blacklisted?? Thanks for your help.


You’d probably need to contact the CLA to find out if you’ve been banned, though it’s possible that the MOE would be involved since you were teaching.

What exactly is this blacklist anyway?? Am I completely banned from ever working in Taiwan again?? Or is it just some kind of warning for employers that some of these particular teachers may have done something ‘dodgy’?? Which in my case was to resign and give a weeks notice because my employer was not abiding by the conditions of my contract which they created. What a terrible thing I did. I stood up for my rights and now I have been outlawed. How can an organisation just blacklist someone because they resigned?? I thought Taiwan was at least partially democratic but I am not so sure anymore. An employer in a western country could never blacklist anyone in a such a manner. People in western countries have the right to defend themselves and prove their innocence. In my case a large organisation has just blacklisted me without allowing me any kind of defence whatsoever. What is even more laughable is that the Taiwanese government just supports these companies and basically ordinary individuals and especially foreigners have little or no chance against authoritarian organisations.


calm down, its doubtful the skule could have blacklisted U, i don’t believe any such list exists, U can still come back to TW and apply at any number of places.

Whether the new buxiban chooses to hire U is anyone’s guess, naturally if there is a global database and the new business finds out what u did at the old business, they may take it into account when giving you your VISA.

Your school is required to give you the tax withholding statements, regardless of your current employment status with that school. The fact that you have pay slips noting the deductions made for tax will make it very easy to show the tax office that you were working legitimately and had been paying taxes. The tax office will then follow up. I have personal experience with a very similar situation here in Taipei and I found that the tax office were extremely helpful in this regard. The important thing is being able to document everything as it is highly likely that the school will lie to protect itself.

The teacher blacklist that you are referring to is a thing of the past. it was supported by the MOE when they were involved with the processing of work permits for teachers, but now that the CLA handles this, the blacklists have become pretty well defunct.

Most teachers who were blacklisted were blacklisted for a period of time. Teacher blacklisting had no effect on your ability to obtain a visa (seperate government authorities). It was merely a system whereby any application you made for a work permit through the MOE was blocked. You could still apply for work permits from other government departments for other professions.

The concept was probably not a bad one, a system set up to prevent teachers from running away and school jumping. Unfortunately it came under abuse by some schools.

Now that official blacklisting of teachers has gone by the wayside, unofficial blacklisting has popped up. This is unco-ordinated and operates in much the same way that we discuss schools here at forumosa.

I hate to be the devils advocate, but despite your obviously strong feelings to the contrary, you cannot just decide to break a contract. If you found that the school was not abiding by the conditions in the contract then you really need to seek mediation on the matter. If the matter was a serious breach, such as illegal activities, then you would be excused from seeking such mediation, but if the concerns were based upon management, pay, hours etc. then really mediation should have been sought.

Maybe not by putting your name on a blacklist, but breaking a contract with an employer back home can have rammifications in future job searches. Back home, your new employer is most likely going to want to see a reference from your previous employer, and is most likely going to want to even speak with them. Fortunately, schools don’t generally want to do this here in Taiwan, so I guess that schools see blacklists as one way of addressing the problem.