Getting paid for freelance work

There is an ancient thread on this subject, but things have changed a lot in the last couple years, so I’m hoping someone can shed some light on this.

I have an ARC and work permit for a teaching job. Can I also legally accept deposits into my bank account for freelance writing performed at home? Will I need a second work permit, or do I just keep records and declare the income honestly and leave it at that?

I can’t say officially what the legality of it is, but I often submitted so many tax income statements (“koujiao pingdan”) that I needed to fill out two tax forms to list them all. Yet I had only a standard ARC listing one employer. Obviously no one at Tax cared (at least at that time – I left Taiwan in summer of 2004) as long as I was paying the taxes honestly.

However, given the situation, your mileage may vary.

One consideration is to see whether the people you’re freelancing for require receipts. You might consider offering a small discount (read: raise your price if they want a receipt, but don’t phrase it that way) for jobs not requiring you to sign a receipt. There is then no legal liability involved as there would be no paper trail. Cash payments are your friend. Another means is to find a pliable Taiwanese friend to sign as your “ren tou”. Anyone in a Taiwanese company will readily understand what a “ren tou” is – a person who nominally accepts payments on your behalf, signing for you, and being responsible for the taxes for you. You could then work out a private agreement with the rentou to take care of the tax s/he would owe. Don’t pick a rich rentou though or you will end up in a higher bracket! :smiley:

Thanks for starting the thread DP, and excellent reply IL, as always.

How about foreign source income for freelance work? The signature trail might not be an issue in this case (contracts and invoices all go offshore), but there might be an issue with chunks of money turning-up in your bank account… Anyone know anything about the responsibilities of banks to report account data to the tax office?

Although I have only been in Taiwan 30 years, to my knowledge the Employment Services Act has never been interpreted to say that one needs a work permit to do freelance writing, editing, proofreading, etc. at one’s home, a local coffee shop, the library, etc.

( … I am listing such locations as “coffee shop,” “library,” etc. with the thought that you might be doing your activities there with a laptop computer or something.)

A major issue is whether the police will walk in and find you working without a work permit. Hence, the key point is that you do not want to be sitting at a desk in the employer’s office …

As for the tax authorities, they don’t care whether you have a work permit or not, they just want you to pay tax on your income.