CPA discussion

My advice is: CPAs and lawyers cost more than they’re worth unless you’re a very large business investing cash in Taiwan. I’m preparing a long ‘n’ detailed post on my experiences setting up a rep. office in Taiwan - News at 11.

You don’t apply for a standalone business license per se - normally it is part of a wider application for investment through MOEA. As a foreigner your options for setting up a Taiwanese company are more limited (no sole traders for example).

First questions are: on what basis is your current residence? JFRV? Work-related ARC? Student/visitor visa? What is your nationality?

[quote=“Okami”]Can someone please give me a lead for getting a business license in Sanxia. As soon as I get this deep hole dug, I’ll get this farm off the ground, but I would like to get a business license just for safety’s sake and for the novelty of it. I’ve met other people who have gotten them but I"m not sure if they used their wives or did it themselves.

Cheers,
Okami[/quote]

llary, by doing it yourself, how long has it taken? You recently posted your troubles in legal about your frustrations. I’m surprised you would recommend the do it yourself route.

The two major issues that Okami would have are capitalization issues and business licensing issues. Agricultural businesses will have their own specialized requirements I’m sure. My recommendation would be to ask the Council of Agriculture for any CPA or lawyer recommendations to set up a farm in Taiwan. They may also provide information on incentives and policies that might be useful to his farm venture. In this case, the best way would be to use his local contacts to find the people who’ve done it before and use their connections. Barring that, a number of possibilities exist, all who’ve posted or mentioned on these forums.

Err… I hired a CPA, and he has been the root of many of my problems. I have ended up doing most of the work myself, and by relying on him have been blind to most of the rules and processes.

Originally I had planned to do everything myself but was talked out of it by many people including you. ‘You don’t have the guanxi’, I was told. I can now quite safely say that this is patent nonsense. With decent Chinese and a modicum of intelligence, any foreigner will breeze through the rep. office registration. After spending so much time and money on my CPA, I was amazed that I could have just turned up at MOEA and got what I wanted through smiles and politeness. A couple of forms and a few thousand in fees is hardly rocket science.

Neither do I hold with the idea that a CPA’s experience or guanxi with the relevant departments (in this case MOEA) is any use. My final stumbling block, for example, was finding a Taiwanese company willing to sign a fixed term contract with me. How is your CPA going to help with that? Mine certainly didn’t. While he was drooling and saying ‘duhh…’ I’d come through and got my contract. Plus now I have my OWN guanxi at MOEA for next time. To top it off - and this is just hearsay, mind - it was suggested by a government employee that I may have automatically received my resident visa authorisation had I registered in person. Some CPAs are using rep. offices to get blatantly dodgy people residency in Taiwan.

Obviously, mileage varies with different CPAs but now I’ve had the opportunity to share experiences with other foreigners doing business in Taiwan it seems that many have had similar experiences. You’re an immigration specialist - you’re going to tell people they need a CPA. I don’t hold that against you and you may well offer a great service, but I want to dispel the myth that DIY business registration is impossible here unless you’re sleeping with the President’s daughter.

Had I known about the MOEA office on Fu Zhou st. I would have had my registration done and visa in my hands 6 weeks ago, and that’s why I’ve been compiling information as I go for other people in my shoes.

I hired a CPA to help me set up a business here. She got paid some money, she set up the business, no sweat.

I don’t even think you can do it yourself.

Sorry to hear that. I’m curious then what is this CPA charging you for if you have to do so much of the leg work yourself? It sounds like it’s about you chosing the wrong service provider. That happens a lot in Taiwan and why Forumosa is a great resource so people can get connected to the right people.

If it was someone that’s been recommended on these forums, then you might help others to know about it. We field many business set up questions and assist those individuals in obtaining their business licenses. Due to our experience with local providers, we continue to research and seek out reliable partners and sources that might be a solution to foreigner problems. It’s an ongoing process. We’re no stranger to DIY but …

DIY is not a solution to everyone’s problem. Many others before you have tried the same. It’s the same story as always. Even speaking Mandarin doesn’t insure DIY success with respect to government bureaucrats. Even guanxi doesn’t ensure success and smooth sailing all the time.

One of the things we deal with often is foreigners DIY and then when they screw something up (which they almost always do because they don’t have all the information and facts), they contact us to see if we can fix it for them. Usually, not really and if we can, they can’t afford the fees associated with fixing up screw ups. It’s pay now or pay later. Usually, paying later is a lot more expensive than paying now. In immigration, one cannot afford to screw up, because of tightening oversight which can result in deportation.

You misunderstand the role of the CPA in the business set up process. The CPA’s value-add is not with the MOEA unless it’s a CPA firm that has done many large international corporate clients. The CPA use is with your local tax authorities whom you will indeed rely upon once your company is set up and operational. The CPA’s guanxi helps relations with your company and the tax department if there’s any need for such use. The other factor is that in Taiwan, each case is “unique”; there’s no such thing as a standard process regardless of what’s published. People’s experiences vary considerably, even if the case facts are nearly the same (we see it all the time).

Your CPA didn’t do his homework properly. He didn’t make the right inquiries with the relevant authorities to insure all prior paperwork was prepared in advanced. Or, he may not have researched the possibilities of finding a different solution, perhaps a different business license. You understand of course that there are many business categories in which you can operate under right? Find the one that has fewer startup requirements but still within the scope of your business operations. There are many ways to wiggle around and get what you want in the end.

We’re actually moving toward more of a one-stop service provider model in certain areas due to the lack of reliable local service providers that understand the type of service quality foreigners expect and demand. Immigration is where it all starts and ends. It affects, legal, taxes, business, work rights, negotiations, mediation and many other issues that impacts a persons’ stay in Taiwan. We do our clients work so they don’t have to do the work, that is why they hire us after all.

Where were you going to and talking with? Had you properly done your homework, the MOEA office is at the Fu Zhou St office. That’s their main office clearly stated on their website if you bothered to look there.

From “MOEA” website: [quote] To inquire about business, Please contact to the related departments
15 FuZhou St. Taipei, 100, Taiwan, R.O.C.| Tel:886-02-23212200[/quote]

Hope it’s smooth sailing from now on.

You can do it yourself, and this is the kind of myth I’m really trying to break.

In my case, the CPA failed essentially because I’m a British national and he didn’t do his homework on differing requirements.

[quote=“Mr He”]I hired a CPA to help me set up a business here. She got paid some money, she set up the business, no sweat.

I don’t even think you can do it yourself.[/quote]

I will spill the beans when my whole process is finalised. If I have a contract with my CPA and he’s not doing his job, what am I going to do? I can argue until I’m blue in the face that he should be doing X or Y rather than me, or maybe even drag him through court, but how does that help me get my visa? Ultimately my CPA only filled out a few forms to register my company name and a rep. office, which was actually easier than the work I ended up doing on my own.

[quote=“ML McLean”]DIY is not a solution to everyone’s problem. Many others before you have tried the same. It’s the same story as always. Even speaking Mandarin doesn’t insure DIY success with respect to government bureaucrats. Even guanxi doesn’t ensure success and smooth sailing all the time.

One of the things we deal with often is foreigners DIY and then when they screw something up (which they almost always do because they don’t have all the information and facts), they contact us to see if we can fix it for them.[/quote]

I’m not bitter. We all live and learn. I learned a lot though,

I really don’t see how you could screw up a rep. office application. You get a multi-entry visitor visa through your local TRO, come to Taiwan, have a chat with MOEA, they give you some forms and if you mess up you fill them in again. Maybe I’m missing something here?

When it comes to applying for a resident visa and ARC, there’s no way I’m trusting anyone to do the right thing by me, so I will go and look for the laws and information on my own. By the time I’ve done that, why do I really need a CPA to hold my hand?

The guy in this thread is the perfect example of when you SHOULD hire a specialist, due to the added complications of agricultural businesses. I’m sure you will agree though that most people don’t come to Taiwan and set up a farm.

In which case, why not just hire a CPA for accountancy and tax purposes? Isn’t that what an accountant is for, and not immigration assistance?

Again, I don’t see how a CPA could do any better when the doodoo hits the fan.

You can say that again. This is all information that MOEA will happily give you. I’m not sure why it has to be filtered through a third party unless you want someone else to do EVERYTHING for you. PS - this application should have been a dream. Basic rep. office registration; nothing dodgy.

Hit the nail on the head. Ultimately, there are going to be people with money who like others to do things for them. I guess a company like yours is perfect for them. However, there are also people like me who hate being kept in the dark and prefer to do everything themselves. It’s not even a cost issue; this is just how I’ve been brought up and how I’ve lived my life. I would like similar people to learn from my experiences and know that the DIY route for something such as a rep. office registration or branch office isn’t so scary.

I really had no idea just how easy it was to talk to everyone at the MOEA office. Like I said, I wish I would have known because I could have breezed through the process CPA-less. That’s why I want other people in a similar situation to know about my experiences.