Legal Wranglings with Former Employer

Hi Guys,

I am desperately seeking some help with regards to my old employer who is threatening all kinds of things. First of all some background information.

I worked for the school until my contract expired after a year at the school. I met all my contractual obligations and as such thought that all was ok. I had a few weeks left on my ARC and had explained to them that I hoped to travel during this time. They did nothing to inform me that they thought this was not possible in actual fact quite the opposite as they helped me organise to rent my apartment for an extra month so I would have somewhere to leave my stuff. Then 2 days before I was due to finish at the school they came and told me that they had told the police and that I had about 5 days to leave the country. This of course was a big shock and ended up costing me a fortune as I had to buy a ticket during Chinese New Year etc etc. I only found out later that they had actually not fired the papers at that time and I should have received some official papers from the government informing me that my ARC had been cancelled and I should leave by such and such a date.

Anyway after a trip to Hong Kong I came back to Taiwan as a student as I planned to study. I complained to my agent about the way that they had handled my Visa and mislead me as to what they were doing. In addition to that I found out that they had been only reporting half my income (granted I know I should have checked the figures, but it never occurred to me). I also never requested this nor was aware of this until I received me tax receipts.

In addition to this they paid me more than my contract stated. But I queried my first pay slip with the secretary so that I could understand what the figures were and why they were larger. No one at the school speaks any English, but she told me that it was my Salary when I asked so I presumed it was ok. They paid me the same amount for 12 months (have the payslips to prove it). My contract is in English and Chinese. They met all other bonuses etc etc in my contract as stipulated. No they inform me that after 13 months after the fact they have read the contract for the first time and realised that they should have paid me less.

To sum it up now they want me to pay back the taxes that they did not pay for and also pay back the salary excess.

I am scared to pay them the taxes as I doubt whether they will pay it to the government. As for the salary I feel that it is all their problem as I checked and assumed it was a pay rise and can’t be responsible for their misreading the contract.

All these accusations were brought after I complained to my agent about their conduct. I also have some other proof that they do not follow the law in other areas, but am loathe to enter into any sort of battle.

At the moment I have told them I have nothing to say and that it is their own doing.

What do you guys recommend? What is my legal position? Who should I go to? Should I leave it?

Please help rather desperate.


This isn’t a problem mate. You have proof that they are in the wrong(Your payslips/tax evasion). They aren’t going to report you, because then they would get into trouble too. The important question is, Do they know where you live? If they don’t, politely ignore them, be distant, and keep a low profile. If they do know where you live then it becomes more complicated.

They really can’t do anything to you. After the way they treated you, keep the money as an asshole tax. They’ll make it sound terrible, but they’re just bluffing. It seems complaining to your agent was a mistake, note that for the future. Relax, have a beer and keep studying your Chinese.


Hi there Okami

Thanks for the advice. Makes me feel a lot better. They know that I am in Taipei but the actual address etc etc They do not know. I think that you also helped me with directions to a furniture market. I have contacted a society that offers some help. Do you think I should inform them of all or leave it for the moment.

I look forward to hearing from more people if they have been through this or something similar and how they handled it.


It seems to me that really the only problem you have is whether to report your full taxes or not. If not, just file your taxes and get the refund. Otherwise, when you go to pay your taxes you’ll have a bit of a problem, because your tax slips will all say you earnt 30K a month (for example), but you’ll be telling the IRS 60K. I guess then you’d tell the IRS, that those were the only receipts they gave you, and the IRS would have to chase up therest. That could be a hassle. But if it was all worked out, you wouldn’t have to pay much more because of the 20%/7% thing. Ie you probably paid 20% for 6 months and 10% for 6 months, (which would be 48000 on 30K a month) but the real rate is 7%, (which would be 50000 on 60K a month).

Other than the tax thing, I agree with Okami. You’re in the unusual position of having all the proof that you’re right, so I don’t think there’s anything (legally) that they can do.


Go work at another school. Sounds like they screwed up and forgot to pay the agent the kickback. Don’t worry about them chasing after you. I’ve been through this crap before. They’ll make a big stink and it will die down because they’ve broken the law in the first place. There’s plenty of new, naive English teachers being trucked in to take your spot every day, anyway.

They aren’t the tax office either – pay the tax office directly, but for God’s sake, don’t pay them.

And this brings me to two important lessons:

  1. File your own taxes. The number of teachers who let their schools “take care of it” for them never fails to amaze me.

  2. Don’t work through agents. Agents are scum. Agents don’t care. Agents are bad. Big boys and girls can find their own jobs without agents.

It sounds like you have given up the battle before you have even started . . . .

But at any rate, the rule of thumb says that if you don’t have money to hire a legal professional, then you don’t have any legal rights . . . . . .

This sounds like the situation you are in.

Note 1: Sorry if you think that this post is not helpful, however the sooner you face the reality of your predicament, the better. That is my opinion.

Note 2: If you are not willing to fight for your legal rights, then you don’t have any legal rights . . . . it is that simple . . . . . . and “fighting” costs money. Also, by being unwilling to fight for your rights, means that you don’t care about the foreign community in Taiwan, because you are not willing to fight for a “precedent” which could help other people in the future. Hence, at the most basic level, your approach is selfish.

Note 3: Just because you don’t recognize your approach as selfish does not mean it isn’t.

Note 4: There are no quick and easy solutions. If you think otherwise, ask Martin Luther King. Were the battles he fought for “minority rights” any different from what we face here in Taiwan today? In essence, they are the same.

Ignore Quest, he’s just doing some goody two shoes thing, might be your agent.

Relax ignore the whole thing. They don’t know where you live, so you can abscond with the money and not have to pay any extra taxes. If the tax man cometh, than just say in the most pathetic voice, “Zhende ma? Wo bu zhidao le.” and pay anything they say to pay. The chances of the tax man actually cometh and finding out are the same as you sucking my plum. It just ain’t gone to happen. Foreigners don’t really have rights in Taiwan, therefore when we can break the law we should, but I’m a criminal to begin with. Now if you excuse me, I have to get back to my pirate VCD factory and check up on my mainland ho’s at Snake Alley later.


PS You always have legal rights and only you can give them up.