Taking action against Taiwan's definition of domicile/residence relating to foreigners

I’m about to split off a bunch of posts from the bank tax residency certificates thread, basically everything since @Mataiou’s response from the National Human Rights Commission of the Control Yuan, because I think that the discussion has now evolved into a much broader thing than taking action against bank tax residency certificates per se.

I’ll leave that thread open for any future developments/discussion about the tax certificates themselves, and I’m going to continue with my own complaints to Mega Bank and Richart/Taishin about how they handle them, but I think this battle against banks themselves has pretty much run its course if they’re just basing their internal policies on the interpretation of “domicile” used by the National Taxation Bureau/Taxation Administration/MOF. For their part, Taiwanese authorities appear unwilling to do anything about this, as confirmed by their responses to @Mataiou’s Control Yuan complaint as well as previous complaints I’ve made to CTBC and the National Taxation Bureau of Taipei.

What we’re talking about now is involving our own governments to try and encourage a wider-reaching change to Taiwan’s definition of “domicile” under Article 7 of the Income Tax Act as meaning “household registration”. The exclusion and differential treatment of foreigners here seem to violate the non-discrimination clauses of Taiwan’s double taxation agreements, e.g., for the UK:

Article 24 — non-discrimination
Citizens or nationals of a territory shall not be subjected in the other territory to any taxation or any requirement connected therewith, which is other or more burdensome than the taxation and connected requirements to which citizens or nationals of that other territory in the same circumstances, in particular with respect to residence, are or may be subjected.

Besides bank tax withholding certificates, the biggest implication of this seems to be that the residences of people whose centers of life are clearly here (e.g., long-term residents, ARC holders, APRC holders, people with homes, families, jobs, and so on in Taiwan) shouldn’t be solely determined based on the 183-day rule (as it isn’t with Taiwanese), and they shouldn’t be subject to a higher tax rate because they don’t have household registration.

I think this situation has probably caught a fair few people out over the years (e.g., anyone moving their lives to Taiwan in the second half of a year, or leaving in the first half of a year, or spending an extended period abroad despite Taiwan being their regular home). Not to mention everyone subject to higher income tax withholding from their salaries/wages for the first six months of each year.

I’m trying to restrain my optimism at the moment, but the initial responses seem promising, and if this differential treatment could be fixed by involving the tax authorities and/or Taiwan-based representative offices of our own countries… well, it’s fun to imagine Taiwanese tax authorities thinking at some point in the future “we really should have just let them write ‘Taiwan’ on their withholding certificates”. :grin:

I’m hoping that more people will get involved in writing to their own tax authorities/representatives, but this is what has been done so far (to my knowledge):

  • Italy: @Mataiou has contacted the Italian Economic, Trade and Cultural Promotion Office (I’m guessing) and they seem to be treating it seriously.
  • Australia: @justintaiwan has contacted the Australian Office Taipei. No updates as of yet (presumably in the new year).
  • UK: I’ve e-mailed the British Office Taipei, who seem to be taking the issue seriously and suggested I contact HMRC so they can start a Mutual Agreement Procedure with the Taiwanese side (will be doing this soon!). @Mataiou has also e-mailed someone he knows at the British Chamber of Commerce in Taipei.
  • Germany: @slawa has contacted the German Institute Taipei. No updates as of yet (presumably in the new year).
  • Canada: @jimbob132 is intending to write to them when he’s back in Taiwan in January, hopefully some other Canadians can get involved too.

Seems their definition of domicile is not clear and maybe it can be proved contradictory. If a person can only have one domicile based on their nationality then they are not recognizing dual nationality or NWOHR status.

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So Taiwanese citizens can’t move overseas? Is this North Korea?

And they also that permanent residents don’t have the intent to reside permanently? Wtf.

Rather than fixing the problem, they’re assisting the tax office in its interpretation which is not what a Human Rights Commission exists for


Quick OCR and automatic translation for the first letter.
Beware! Character recognition and translation can be off.

Different circumstances but related and might help you decide what to do @Mataiou

Australia does not have a household registration system or anything remotely similar and foreigners and Australians are treated in the same way as the Human Rights commissioned claimed Taiwan does (nonsesne of course) ‘intent to reside’. Immigration status does not affect intent to reside.

The exception to this was working holiday visa holders who previously were not able to be treated as tax residents under any circumstances. A group of foreigners with a WHV took the Australian Taxation Office to the High Court (the highest court in the Australian judiciary) and won. Partially.

The High Court found the ATO in breach of Australia’s international treaties with some countries. Unfortunately Taiwan is not one of them.

If you could find that Taiwan has a non-discrimination clause in its treaties with some countries it might be a start? Wouldn’t help everyone but might make it easier to get the ball rolling



I expected that kind of BS answer from my former dealings with government agencies here. They will never contradict their masters, especially when a foreigner is involved. Sad state of affairs.

The other crappy part is the government is basically saying that they don’t expect foreigners to stay here permanently even though they have PR. It goes to the whole ‘when are you going home’ question many people ask and the government agrees with that.


Yes—but they sometimes contradict other agencies in government, as I found out in my tangle with the Tax Bureau and what was then the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Eyeballing this situation, and as someone with no background at all in legal studies, I’d venture to say that the Tax Bureau is willfully disregarding the Ministry of the Interior. What’s the point of having a category designated as APRC if the “permanent” part is interpreted by the Tax Bureau as “temporary”? In that case it would have been called an “ATRC.” :grin:

My limited success in the past fighting these sorts of issues (at a much less sophisticated level than the brilliant and fearless @Mataiou ) was to get one of the agencies (then the Ministry of Science of Technology) to send a curt formal letter to the Tax Bureau, after which the latter changed their tune immediately.



I did so, a few updates;

  1. I have lodged an administrative appeal against the Ministry of Finance

  2. I have sent a protest claim to my consular representative post since this practice seems to violate the double taxation agreement between italy and Taiwan (and basically all other double taxation agreements signed with other countries, check if yours have done that and inform your representatives to protest with TW government!)


Emailed the Australia Office (embassy). Not sure who else I could email it too

I’m not sure if this is the correct email to send this too so please advise me the best place to send this.

It has come to my attention that the Taiwanese Ministry of finance is likely in violation of the


The ministry of finance and the Himan Rights Commission recently claimed that is not possible for ARC and Permanent ARC holders, including Australians, to be permanently domiciled In Taiwan due to the lack of household registration. This in contrast to objective fact of someone’s permanent home.


My “consulate” here just called me back to confirm a few details, they will submit the request to the chief of mission for further action.

They agree this is not what it should be


Looks like there’s something for the UK too. Will try and contact them when I have time:

Article 24 — non-discrimination

  1. Citizens or nationals of a territory shall not be subjected in the other territory to any taxation or any requirement connected therewith, which is other or more burdensome than the taxation and connected requirements to which citizens or nationals of that other territory in the same circumstances, in particular with respect to residence, are or may be subjected.

was going to ask you to do so! thanks mate, I have a contact at the british office, can share with you.

@slawa germany has it too, try to contact the german office pls.


since you are still a kiwi, also NZ has an agremment, try to contact the office too

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To clarify, this aims to stop the practice of Taiwanese tax office to force banks/employers/etc. to put ‘DE’ for the field of Tax Jurisdiction Code (居住地國或地區代碼) for people who are only tax residents in Taiwan.
I can confirm that it is the case for bank interest statements and also employer tax statements.

Here is the agreement between Germany and Taiwan in English:

This part is also in the German agreement:

This is might be relevant for your contact dealing with this as well @fifieldt


Correct, the tax authorities in TW need to consider any foreigner with a permit of stay for more than 1 yr as domiciled in the country, hence satisfying the text of art 7 par 2 sub 1 of the income tax act, so all withholdings will be done correctly at the resident rate and no more forced false CRS declarations.

I believe in the agreement there is also an article talking about centre of vital interests for determination of residence and domicile. Cite that and say it is easy to ascertain that

Would it be helpful to attach the response to your recent complaint, how Taiwan fails to recognize foreigners here as domiciled?

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That’s what I was thinking. Maybe a PDF version would be useful if @Mataiou can provide it, or could just link to the post here?

I finished writing my letter to the General Director of German Embassy in Taipei.
I need to get some pictures of my tax statements at home later today.
Will send it off tomorrow.

A better quality scan of the reply to @Mataiou complaint would be appreciated.


refer to the attachments of my post on 12-dec, that’s the official reply (in chinese ofc).