Employer won't give me withholding statements

I’m praying for a longshot here. It relates to my former school refusing to give me my tax forms, or “kou jiao pin dan” (the form showing how much tax was withheld).

My situation: I came to Taiwan in early February 2005 to work for a private language school. I worked my 200 days, had a falling out with the school and attempted to resign, then they fired me.

I got a job days later with a private high school. No problems there. Except my previous school wouldn’t give me my tax forms, claiming that I owed them money. I was still able to file my taxes in May since the same school reported my withholding to the government; I used those numbers to file my tax return and got my receipt number. In June, before leaving, I also filed my 2006 return with no problems there.

I was told the money would be directly deposited into my Taiwanese checking account in late July or early August. Then I left the country. Now it’s late September and there still is no tax refund money in my account. When I had a Taiwanese friend call the government office in Taichung, they told her that there was a problem with my first employer-- they wouldn’t give up my tax form (kuo jiao pin dan") and so I couldn’t receive that tax refund.

Please help! What should I do? What can I do? The amount is significant, otherwise I’d just forget about it.

thanks in advance…

formerly in taichung

The employer legally must pay the withholding amount to the government and provide a withholding statement to the employee. If you claim that you worked for and were paid by the employer then the tax office can go after the employer for non-payment of taxes. Whether or not they do it depends on whether you want to push the matter. This may be difficult to do since you appear not to be in the country anymore. You would have to rely on someone here to help you out.

What if the government office appears helpless? I have Taiwanese friends and foreign friends in Taichung helping me, by stopping in to ask for assistance in person, and Taiwanese friends to call so that they can communicate in Chinese.

But the government officials are claiming that my former school refuses to give the forms-- that it’s my responsibility to obtain them-- and there’s nothing that can be done.

If anyone has any ideas about legal avenues to pursue I would love to hear them.

Call the Council on Labor Affairs. It’s not YOUR job to get the forms from the employer (well, maybe to pick them up, that might be argued, or to pay FedEx to deliver them, or something, but certainly not to produce the forms!) The school is obligated by law to provide them, and that’s that.

Sheesh, the Taipei tax office girls have called my former employers for far less than this. I’m surprised Taichung is so little help.

Thanks Ironlady! I wasn’t aware that there was a Council of Labor Affairs office that could deal with these matters. I’ll try to find the one in Taichung.

If my former school paid for my airfare (about $20,000NT) and it says in the contract that I have to reimburse them, would that give them a legal right to refuse release of my tax withholding form?

I would have reimbursed them, minus my September salary of eight days (about $12,000NT), but they added all kinds of other costs. I felt they were being dishonest, so I filed without reimbursing them. Sorry to give all the details, but they are pertinent.

The obligation to provide tax forms is between the school and the government. It doesn’t matter if there is a dispute between you and the school or not – that’s separate. If the school was employing you, it was obligated to withhold tax and forward that tax to the government, and they have no right to use a form as a bargaining chip to hold over your head.

YOUR tax obligations are between you and the government. The school’s are between it and the government – and only incidentally you, as they must provide you with the form in question.

If you want me to call the school, it will be my pleasure. :smiley:

I’m also surprised at this. The way you wrote it, the school told the tax office that they wouldn’t give up the forms. They have at minimum admitted to violating the tax law and came close to admitting tax evasion (if they didn’t actually pay the withholding within the 10 day deadline as they are also required to do). That should give the tax office a big mallet to hit them on the head with.

As I mentioned in my previous post though, getting the tax office to take action requires someone with persistence to sit in their office and tell them that they can and will do something because the employer is violating the law, is possibly evading taxes. That someone needs to be firm and insistent that they are the responsible agency for enforcing this law and that their lack of action makes it impossible for you to make an accurate tax filing. Now that you have informed them that and employer has refused to provide forms they are required to give you – and that the employer admitted to – they must do something about it. Remember that the translation of “nothing can be done” is “we don’t want to bother.”

Besides, somewhere in one of their offices there is a copy of the withholding form if the employer actually paid it. If there is no record of payment then the employer has essentially admitted to tax evasion.

Oh and one other thing: If withholding is not filed within ten days of payment without good reason, the employer may be subject to 100% penalty. (I.e. they will have to pay double the withholding once they get around to it.)

Thanks again for the replies jlick and Ironlady. Actually, I would LOVE it Ironlady if you would call my school and remind them of their legal obligations to release my tax withholding form. They might get spooked and agree to release the forms. I’ll email the school name (with the supervisor’s name) and number when I find it. You’re a saint.

jlick-- My understanding is that the school did indeed pay the withholding to the government. The government let me use the information to file my own taxes before I left Taiwan in late June. So if the withholding and salary information was on the government computer system when I filed my return, that means my first school paid (reported) my withholding, right?

According to my Taiwanese friend who called and talked to the “foreigner tax person” at the government office in Taichung, that same official said I could settle my 2005 account NOW and get the tax refund for my SECOND school-- the private high school which gave me a tax withholding form-- BUT I couldn’t get a refund from the first school because I didn’t have the official form. That’s not acceptable to me because my withholding was %20 of my salary at the first school since it was during my first 183 days in Taiwan.

She told my friend it was not necessary to call my school again because she already tried and they wouldn’t release the forms. Basically, it’s a hostage situation: school demands money before releasing forms.

My friend is calling the Labor Disputes office in Taichung tomorrow for me.

fingers crossed…


First call to school, 10:28 am. Taiwan time – receptionist, who speaks precious little English, did not know where desired party was when asked in English. When asked in rather snotty-sounding Chinese, she suddenly realized that said party had “gone out to buy a few things” and would be back soon, best to call her before noon. Kept telling me that Academic Director was now at another school, which had nothing to do with the inquiry. Will try again in an hour or so.

Okay, had a not very cordial chat with “Jo”, who claims that the school is NOT holding OP’s tax form hostage, oh no no no – it’s just that OP owes the school money for utilities and other stuff, and, well, OP needs to come in PERSON to pick up his tax form, at which time, naturally, they will work out all this other stuff.

When it was pointed out to her that I, having worked in Taiwan for 10 years, had never had to come in person to pick up a tax form from any entity, public, private, educational or otherwise, she merely claimed that she had spoken to BOTH a lawyer and to the CLA and the school was perfectly justified in doing this.

End result: OP or agent has to show up in person to collect the form, at which time they will squeeze about other bills owed. IMHO it sounds like some of the bills may be legit, but of course Jo refused to talk in detail to me about them because I was not “the principal” – although she claimed that the OP could talk to any of the foreigners at the school so that there would be communication problem – despite it being pointed out that those foreigners were likewise “not principals” — “Well, they can represent School X” – “And I can represent the OP”…impasse.

Bottom line – daily phone calls to the CLA. There is definitely another issue or issues that needs to be worked out, BUT they have no right to refuse to give up the tax form before they are resolved. And I have NEVER heard of any institution refusing to mail them – I have one in the mail myself right now from a private company in Taiwan, for all the good it will ever do me.

She will not budge until she sees a “gongwen” (official letter) from the CLA or the Tax Office. My bet is the Tax Office is your best bet, as they don’t give a rat’s a$$ what other issues are involved. Call the tax office early and often. Gentle drip of water on stone method. They should get the form for you.

[quote=“ironlady”]My bet is the Tax Office is your best bet, as they don’t give a rat’s a$$ what other issues are involved.[/quote]Not quite. The school already paid the OP’s taxes, so there’s no evasion to chase. If the school doesn’t cough up the form, then the tax office doesn’t have to cough up the OP’s rebate, does it? :wink:

This is the way I see it: Not giving the taxpayer withholding certificates is illegal. The tax office is the agency in charge of ensuring compliance with tax law. Therefore, they should be the ones to remind the school to comply with the tax law. They are also responsible for assisting taxpayers in filing accurate returns, something that the OP cannot do because of his employer will not comply with the law. Again, they are the ones with the responsibility to help the taxpayer file an accurate return.

Another comment: I don’t necessarily believe that the employer has received advice from a lawyer and the CLA that they don’t have to mail the withholding forms. I would ask for a copy of the written advice from both from the employer. I bet they don’t have it.

This is the way I see it: Not giving the taxpayer withholding certificates is illegal. The tax office is the agency in charge of ensuring compliance with tax law. Therefore, they should be the ones to remind the school to comply with the tax law.[/quote]No argument on this. Merely pointing out that the tax dept. may not consider it in their own best interests to do their job. Of course that would be a first. :wink:

Another comment: I don’t necessarily believe that the employer has received advice from a lawyer and the CLA that they don’t have to mail the withholding forms. I would ask for a copy of the written advice from both from the employer. I bet they don’t have it.[/quote]I think you’d win that bet. However, the employer is hardly under any obligation to prove these claims.

If OP were still in Taiwan, I’d say cut to the chase and call the Foreign Affairs Police, and have them meet him at the school. If he is being straight about what is owed to the school, that shouldn’t be much trouble to arrange. “Jo” seems to think she has all the supposed debts of OP documented with receipts, and says any inconsistencies between meetings of reported amounts owed is due to bills arriving later. (Although I personally find it difficult to believe he could owe that much…this is a good advertisement for not taking anything from a school other than salary…no help with housing or anything else, it just gets involved if you want to reclaim your life.)

I agree that “Jo” probably has not really talked to anyone, but she was truly super-adamant. Logically she is not functioning on all barrels: absent any questions of legality or ethics, if she doesn’t give OP’s agent the document releasing his tax refund, how does she expect to get paid anything she is allegedly owed?

The Tax Office in Taipei HAS gone to bat for me,though, on the matter of missing tax forms and even screwed-up tax forms (when the employer decided to get cute with a bottle of White-Out!) so it MIGHT be an option. They didn’t seem particularly concerned that they had already gotten the tax monies in question; at least the girls in Taipei took it as a personal affront that the employer wasn’t complying with regulations. I don’t know what the Taichung office is like, and I sort of have a relationship with the Taipei office as (by pure chance) I used to get the same girl every year when doing my taxes, but it might be worth a try.

Agreed…but…the OP is working through an agent in Taiwan, and (although I do not know the agent personally) I get the impression that it is a female Taiwanese friend. Now, most female Taiwanese sort-of-youngish people are not really up to getting into people’s faces or being persistent to the point where they can actually choke documents out of unwilling organizations. That’s my concern. Plus, Taiwanese people are at least theoretically open to retribution or at least difficulties if the school has any connections (and this is a WELL KNOWN name on the ESL scene in Taiwan, shame on them.) I’m not saying she has to be rude or take a Western approach (which might not work anyway), but only that the whole thing might require more chutzpah than most Taiwanese girls possess.

Also, “Jo” is not in the mood to give anyone anything…she’ll let OP deal with anyone at her school, but she won’t let anyone work on OP’s behalf. Basically she knows which side of the bread the butter is on – although at this point it sounds like she’s being vindictive more than anything else as there is no financial gain for her in doing this (the taxes already being paid and the OP out of Taiwan and unable to pay anything he supposedly owes her without the refund). I might add that she IMMEDIATELY recognized the case, even though the last meeting with the OP (based on what he told me) was back in December. Hmmm…

Ah, if only my former boss were in Taichung…now HE would get it out of her, one way or another. :notworthy:

Hi Ironlady,

I thought I would give you an update on all this craziness. Just to remind you, I was the guy who couldn’t get the tax withholding form from my former school unless I paid the money they said I owed them.

Well, I finally gave in and paid them about $600 through my proxy. My proxy then took the form to the government office. They told her I would receive my tax return in December. When December came, they said January. And when January came, well, you get the idea.

I still haven’t received the 52,000 NTD that I am owed for my tax withholding from either 2005 OR 2006, when I was in Taichung for 16 consecutive months.

My proxy, who is a Taiwanese female, tried calling many times but the tax lady isn’t being helpful. So my proxy said she would try to get her uncle to help because he works for the government (I’m not sure in which area).

So the epic continues.


Well, at least now your problem is the Tax Office, which usually does follow its own regulations. The school had much more latitude to be just plain vindictive or nasty, and doesn’t have to follow any regulations (so long as you have no power to make them do so).

I’d be willing to bet you’ll (eventually) see that money. Maybe a weekly or bi-weekly call just “inquiring” when the refund will be processed. They are coming up on their busy season now, but that doesn’t answer for why it was impossible to process it in Dec/Jan when they are not so busy (and which is the time in fact when they wish people would do their tax matters so as not to overload them when everyone else is there.)

If I’m ever in Taichung in future, though, it’s tempting to pay a visit to “Jo”. What a piece of work.