As far as I can tell the law relates to being employed in Taiwan and drawing salary here. You are not permitted to interact with the local economy in such a manner that you draw payment for your services or might theoretically draw payment for those services, formally or informally.
It goes without saying that most tourists and all business travellers are technically still employed in their home countries, and in the latter case are ostensibly working for their employer while in Taiwan. IIRC there is (or was) a different kind of landing visa granted for business travel, but in practice everyone came and went on a tourist visa. What the law is in Taiwan, and how it’s actually implemented, tend to be two different things, not least because the Law hasn’t caught up with the fact that people do move around to do their work (digital nomading in Taiwan is a very awkward grey area).
The tax issue is separate and clear enough: you are liable for tax only in the UK, because you are ordinarily resident there.
Realistically, is anybody even going to know anyway, if you’re locked in a room with a laptop?
My feeling is that you’re not really allowed, so if your company is insisting on seeing something to prove you have the legal right to work here you won’t get it (because you don’t have the legal right to work here). Nobody would know of course, but I guess that would be the sticking point from your UK company side.
The tax issue seems pretty clear as you would be non-resident (from here - you can find similar statements on official government websites if so inclined):
Income received for services rendered in Taiwan is considered to be Taiwan-sourced income subject to tax, regardless of whether such income is paid by a local or an offshore employer. However, income received by a nonresident individual for services rendered in Taiwan is not
considered Taiwan-sourced income if the total length of the stay in Taiwan does not exceed 90 days in a calendar year, and the compensation is paid by an offshore employer.
Non-residents staying in Taiwan for no longer than 90 days in a calendar year are not subject to income tax on Taiwan sourced income paid outside of Taiwan, such as salary remuneration, provided that the payment is not charged back to any Taiwanese entity; otherwise, the income is subject to WHT. If the individual received equity income during the tax year, the 90 days rule will not be applicable as the individual would be required to file a Taiwan individual income tax return to report the equity income in relation to Taiwan.
One possible workaround, albeit a bit of a fiddly one, if you’re determined to work here and can be bothered, would be to get a one-year gold card if you’re eligible to do so, especially if you have a PhD from a top-200-or-whatever-it-is now university (because the application process is then trivial).
That would give you open work rights and the fee is next to nothing (I think ca. 100 GBP), so might be worth it if your company is insisting on legal permission to let you work from here. It’s not really what the scheme is intended for, but it seems it would work.
Who asked this? the UK tax office, Taiwan immigration or just your work trying to cover their backs?
Is visa free allowed again? if not you will have to look at the terms of what ever visa you get. If you’re just coming for a holiday and connecting to the work system while you’re bored in quarantine, a lot of people have been doing this in different country’s (even before covid while on holiday). If on PAYE, just leave it as is if you’re not changing your residence or claiming expenses. Now if you or your work do want to claim money back then that’s different.
There are a lot of IF’s here and you have to decide what is right with you.
I’m guessing the company want proof of right to work in Taiwan as they will need to support their employee if something bad happens. It’s the same at my company if I go to Taiwan (or anywhere) for anything more than a business trip.
I am not so sure you are not allowed to go online and work from Taiwan for a UK job for the duration of your tourist visa. Just tell your company you are allowed to work on a tourist visa. If they disagree, ask them to state why / what law prohibits this. In other words, put the burden of proof on their end. Of course, if you got injured or died while working in Taiwan, you should assume any insurance or benefits might not cover you.
I work full time PAYE and it was my employer who asked this.
I’m planning to answer like this based on Andrew’s comments: No I don’t have the right to work in Taiwan. However, Taiwan allows remote work if the source is not from Taiwan and for less than 90 calendar days.
Is the country currently allowing travel due to Covid-19? Travel is allowed at this time through a visa as a foreign spouse.
How many days have you spent in Taiwan over the last 2 years? Both holidays and working days. I have spent 0 working days and around 2 weeks in Taiwan in the past 2 years
I’m applying for a visa as a foreign spouse. The embassy told me its a simple visa that just needs me to prove my marriage. I don’t think I have time to deal with a gold card/working holiday as I’m planning to travel in the end of February. I’m also planning to get a ARC? or something similar by registering our marriage in Taiwan too. Not sure what benefits there are, my wife said healthcare?
So yeah I don’t think Taiwan would care I’ve worked 2 weeks. I’m just wondering what my company want to consider. Maybe just tax or insurance related, I’ll just BS my way through. Worst case, I will request unpaid leave. Lets see what they reply with.
The important part here is the second sentence of the bit you quoted and the first sentence of my second quote - because they’ll be here less than 90 days and the Taiwan-sourced (/rendered) income is paid outside of Taiwan, the income wouldn’t be taxable.
(As soon as they exceed 90 days, the person answering e-mails for the paper company in Slough from Kaohsiung would indeed be required to pay taxes on that income, even if the customer is in Reading.)
Should point out that this isn’t strictly true (or true in any other sense!), although if you were just presenting it as a lie to tell your company then okay. The stuff discussed above only refers to the taxability of the income.
No judgment from me ( ), but you still wouldn’t have work rights - that’s a separate issue. Taiwan definitely doesn’t “allow remote work” under the circumstances you stated, so you won’t be able to show that it does if your company insists on seeing something official.
This is the key point. If you work for a big multinational like I do HR are usually pretty clued up on this, even if they do seem like morons otherwise. Tax liability is one thing, but work rights are another.
Let’s be absolutely clear: tax status and permission to work are separate issues.
Please see here:
And also (more generally) here:
I think an email from the Ministry of Labor stating that you’re allowed to use email for work purposes while on a tourist visa (during quarantine or not) would be sufficient, if that would be the extent of your work while in Taiwan. If you succeed in getting such an email, please let us know.