Tax on overseas income

To fill out my taxes properly do I need to bring other documents in addition to pay slips and work contract? My employer is based overseas, so I dont have local Taiwan tax withholding certificates. When picking up tax forms recently, a clerk informed me I would need my pay slips notarized by a CPA. This may be difficult to do in a short period of time.

Has anyone faced a similar situation, and what would be your words of wisdom?

Many thanks

ROC income tax is due on “Taiwan source income” only. It seems that what you are talking about falls outside of that category.

Perhaps you can give more details.

I seem to be in a similar position: I work for an international company and need a statement by my head company that they don’t pay me any salary outside of Taiwan. This statement has to be signed by a CPA, and the CPA’s licence has to be added in copy. Shouldn’t be THAT hard to get it (besides, the government is not going to deport you if you haven’t handed it in by end of may - i’m still haggling with my income tax of 2002 for similar reasons).


ajax - Are you on a company sponsored ARC???

Taiwanese officials love paperwork, so my understanding is that in order to calculate the taxes they are due they require information from you but they they also require that this be verified and stamped by a recognised ‘body’. Lack of trust…

I was a little surprised last year when I went to file my taxes. During 2002 I came here for 3-4 months as a software engineer working for a UK company. I liked it here, felt like a change, so I reincarnated myself as an English teacher. I checked with my previous employer before I came here for them that there would be no tax issues. They said no. When I filed my taxes the tax people said ‘yes’ and showed me a photocopied piece of paper that kind of showed that I should pay tax for the 3-4 months I was here as a SE. They assume that if you are here on business that you MUST be performing a service for someone, so they want a piece of the action. Not much I could do at the time but leave with the promise that I would return with UK tax statements etc.

This I am not inclined to do. I have already paid UK tax rate for the period in question, so I don’t want to pay another 20% of my income for that time. Its called Double Taxation and many people come here unaware that its an issue. Although, most of the time, its only an issue if you have to file taxes for ARC purposes etc…

I’m working here for a foreign company. Until now, I came to Taiwan on a Multiple Entry visa and left in time before my visa expired. I’m now applying for a work permit.

Does that mean, that I will have to pay taxes for the time before I got the work permit even if I got my salary overseas?

Where and if you get taxed (here, there or both) depends on if the other country has a double-taxation agreement with Taiwan.

Of course you could just, aehem, not declare that income from overseas.

but if you need to declare that you get an income to get the work permit, don’t they get a way of knowing that?
I also am receiving my sallary overseas (and paying taxes there) and really don’t want to be double taxes over here.
But for what I understood, they don’t really care about that, only about how to get our money. I didn’t post any tax because I am only officialy working in TW for 2 months, but I think this year I will have to do it.

However if there was a way to escape this double taxation problem I would like to ear it (it is nice to know how they like foreign investors here, they even make us pay double taxes)…

[quote=“mr_boogie”]but if you need to declare that you get an income to get the work permit, don’t they get a way of knowing that?
I also am receiving my sallary overseas (and paying taxes there) and really don’t want to be double taxes over here.
But for what I understood, they don’t really care about that, only about how to get our money. I didn’t post any tax because I am only officialy working in TW for 2 months, but I think this year I will have to do it.[/quote]
If you don’t have any income here at all then it’s of course difficult to stay long time, i.e. they may not give you a work permit if you don’t declare any income here.

Double-taxation issues are depending on the two countries involved and a) depend on if there is a double-taxation agreement in place and b) details may even differ from guest country to guest country; say your home country A has agreements with B, C, D etc. but the regulations may actually not be exactly the same for B, C, D … As such there is no general rule or clear answer to this, you would need to check with a tax consultant (here and there I guess).

BTW: That you get possibly double-taxed also works the other way around, it’s not just Taiwan that’s doing it.

I was assigned to the TW Branch, got a work permit based on a mission description, and now I’m going to the Tax Office to know how to do things? Otherwise I just declare a low income and pay really low (if they ask me, my company pays all expenses, so the sallary might not be very big).

What I am wandering is how they will know what my sallary is…

I am only officialy working since middle november, because that is when my company opened in TW…

If they asked me how could I live here, I’ll just say that I’m living on interests… as they cannot charge me over that…

I don’t get any pay slips, I just get the same amount of money wired to my foreign currency account at my Taiwanese bank. I went to the tax office last year for the first time, showed them my contract (with a foreign company) which states my income, then showed them my little bank account booklet, which more or less (currency exchange rate fluctuation) reflects what is stated in my contract and then paid tax based on that.

The people were pretty helpful, I was trying to stay polite all the time and speaking some Mandarin probably helped, too.

No payslips, no verification, no extra stamps, no CPA.

EDIT: That was Taichung County tax office

To answer some of mr_boogie’s questions…

Taiwan source income is for income paid in Taiwan OR services paid outside of Taiwan but performed in Taiwan.

If you are in the country for less than 90 days in a year, you are not taxed on overseas income for work performed in Taiwan. Yeah, it’s kind of crazy. So if you were present here less than 90 days in 2005 then your overseas income will not be taxed. If you were paid in Taiwan though, you would have to pay tax at the non-resident rate.

If you were present for more than 90 days and less than 183, then overseas income for work performed in Taiwan is taxable at the non-resident rate.

If you were present for 183 days or more, then your overseas income for work performed in Taiwan is taxable at the resident rate. Also note that if you are present for 183 days or more, the tax office may try to claim that any overseas earned income was related to your presence in Taiwan unless you can prove it wasn’t. So it’s best to keep your mouth shut about this, even if that income is completely unrelated to your presence here.

And note that this is based on total presence in Taiwan in a calendar year for any reason, not just times you were here for business/work.

What is the deadline for filing your U.S. taxes? Must a return be filed by April 15, or do we still get the extension to June 15 if we’re living overseas?



You get an automatic extension to June 15, but your tax is still due on April 15. If you’re getting a refund or have no tax due then it doesn’t make a difference, but if there’s tax due you will have to pay it by April 15.

Thank you, jlick.

Does anyone know where I can find a Taibei-based accountant who can handle American taxes? The IRS website is less than user-friendly for anything other than a standard tax form.

My company assured me that by staying on a visitors visa and leaving every month I would not become liable for Taiwan taxes. Presumably because I am not on anyones radar. It sounds as though this may be illegal, but will I get caught?

I am employed in HK and pay taxes there of course.

Taiwan tax law has absolutely nothing to do with your visa status. The definitions of residency in the tax code are based only on days present in Taiwan, not by whether you have a resident visa or not. The only way what you are doing is legal is if you are in Taiwan less than 90 days per year AND any work performed here is paid for outside of Taiwan. If you’re here more than 90 days a year or are paid in Taiwan then you legally must pay tax on that income.

This may become a problem if at some point you want to become a resident. The first time you go to file your taxes they will look at your entry/exit records and wonder why you were here so often before but never paid taxes.

Thanks, will push our HR people to sort this out.

Hi !
I have a question about double tax.
I am working in Taiwanese company, in their overseas branch and getting most of my income there, although living and working in Taiwan since August last year. I also get small part of my salary here, for expenses and also for all the insurance and stuff for my family. As I understand it now, I will also need to pay tax to Taiwan government on my income abroad (my counry does not have double tax agrrement with Taiwan).
Is there any possibility to lower this tax (for Taiwan) since the tax in my home country for my salary is very high (above 30%)? Is the fact that my wife, that lives here with me and does not work, can affect it somehow? I was working in Taiwan for less than 183 days in 2005, in 2006 it will full year. Thanks.

When marrying a Taiwanese…do you have to report both incomes (yours and your spouse) to the US IRS?

If your spouse does not have a US green card then your spouse will be considered a ‘non-resident alien spouse’ in which case the answer is that you have up to three choices:

  1. File as ‘married filing jointly’ in which case you must report all of both of your income. You will get a higher standard deduction and higher limits on phase out of other benefits.

  2. File as ‘married filing separately’ in which case you report only the US citizen’s income. This will get a lower standard deduction and lower limits on other tax benefits.

  3. There are some cases where you could file as ‘head of household’. Normally you can’t do this if you are married however there is a quirk in the tax code where if you have a non-resident alien spouse you are considered unmarried for the purposes of qualifying as ‘head of household’. In this case your spouse cannot be used as a qualified dependent, however if you have minor children living with you then you may be able to use this. The standard deduction and other limits are much better than ‘married filing separately’ but not quite as good as ‘married filing jointly’.

Keep in mind that there are complex rules regarding changing your status from year to year that kind of force you to pick and keep a filing status in this case. If you chose ‘married filing jointly’ for the better benefits and then your spouse comes into some substantial income down the road it may be difficult to change filing status later. Personally I chose option 2 initially and then switched to option 3 after my daughter was born. This way I do not have to worry about my wife’s income being taxed in the US if situations change.

As always, consult the tax guides and/or a tax professional to verify any information given here.