Tax season is here. In Taiwan, taxes must be filed from before May 31st, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tax filing deadline for 2019 has been extended one month to June 30th, 2020. As a foreigner, you might be wondering how to file a tax return and what the regulations are. Luckily Taiwan has made it easy by creating an online tax filing system that you can complete from your computer, although you do still have to physically send some forms to the tax office. Let us answer some common questions about tax filing that might come up:
Forward: The following is Q+A for tax year 2019 only, based on information provided on Taiwan's Ministry of Finance website.
Q: When should I file Taxes?
A: Between May 1st to May 31st after the tax year (tax year is same as calendar year), however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tax filing deadline for 2019 has been extended one month to June 30th, 2020.
If you are leaving the country and do not plan to return to Taiwan, you must file an early tax return within 10 days before you leave. We recommend going to the tax office in person for an early filing.
Q: When are Taiwan tax payments due?
A: Tax payments are due by June 3rd, after which there will be penalties for late payments, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tax payment deadline for 2019 has been extended one month.
Q: What makes me eligible for paying Taiwan taxes (or what makes me a tax resident)?
A: You become a Taiwan tax resident if you stay in Taiwan longer than 183 days, or you are a Taiwan national and have household registration（戶籍） in Taiwan and visit for at least one day. The address in your ARC is not household registration, it's a registration process from the local administrative office (戶政事務所）.
If you stay less than 90 days in Taiwan, in general you do not have to file taxes, and VAT or sales taxes are reimbursable.
If you worked in Taiwan and stayed over 90 days, you need to pay taxes on your Taiwan based salary even if your income came from overseas.
If you stayed in Taiwan between 90-183 days in a calendar year then you need to pay a fixed rate of 18% income tax （your company may have deducted this from your salary already).
If you have Taiwanese dual citizenship and Taiwanese house registration, then you need to pay taxes if you have stayed in Taiwan for over 31 days. Days are cumulative in a tax year, and it doesn't matter what you came for during these days.
Q: How do I count the days I stayed in Taiwan?
A: Please note that the day you come to Taiwan doesn't count, but the day you leave does. It's a good idea to keep track of the number of days you have been in Taiwan via the stamps on your passport.
Q: What is the income tax rate?/ How much is Taiwan tax?
A: The income tax rate for non-residents who earn at least 1.5 the minimum wage per month (34,650 NT as of 2019) is 18% (you can get a tax refund if you pay 18% taxes and then become a tax resident). This tax rate is usually applicable for most white collar foreigners.
For non-residents who earn less than 1.5 the minimum wage per month (34,650 NT as of 2019), the income tax rate is 6%. This tax rate is usually applicable for most blue collar foreign workers. 18% usually is applicable to white collar foreign workers.
The 2019 tax rate for residents (staying over 183 days in Taiwan) is as follows (source: Taiwan Ministry of Finance):
Xinshan Dream Lake (aka Xinshan Menghu) is a beautiful lake in Xizhi District of New Taipei. It is a popular place to stop for couples and Instagrammers due to its dream like aura. Also you can take the steep climb up Xinshan and enjoy some amazing views of east Taipei and Keelung. Besides taking photos, this Xinshan Dream Lake is a great place to relax and enjoy nature.
The rock formations that form the Xinshan Dream lake hike formed as sediment under the ocean millions of years ago, and was later uplifted thanks to the collision of the Eurasian and Phillipine plates. The rocks are mainly sedimentary and are part of the same formation that forms the special rock formations on the northern coast around Keelung, and the waterfalls in Pingxi.
Xinshan sits at 499 meters above sea level, while dream lake is 325 meters above sea level, which means the hike gains 175 meters from dream lake (in less than .5 KM), making it a short, steep hike.
Dream Lake get's its name from the thick fog that covers it during winter months, making it look like a dreamscape. Dream Lake is a popular spot for couples, wedding photography, and Instagram photos.
Moderate: About an hour hike round trip, steep and difficult climbing through the forest with aid of ropes.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take Xiwan Road (夕萬路) from Xizhi until you come to the turnoff the Xinshan Menghu on the right. It is a small one lane road up the mountain. There is scooter parking and limited car parking on the side of the road. You may need to park further down and hike up if you drive a car. The Lake trail is at the end of the road.
By Bus: Take Dongnan Bus F910 from Xizhi Park about 40 minutes up the mountain to Xiwan Raod Bridge No. 3. From there you have to hike up to Xinshan before you come down to dream lake. Or you can get off at Menghu Intersection, but it is a long walk up the road.
Please see below:
Heping Island Park is a geo-park and water park on Heping Island, just outside of downtown Keelung. Here you can find many interesting rock formations in the sedimentary rock along the seashore. There are also salt water swimming pools, amazing places to go diving, a playground, hiking trails, and historical sights. Some would say this island is the world's best kept secret. It is definitely worth stopping here along Taiwan's northern coast.
Heping Island was formed as sediment under the ocean millions of years ago and were then uplifted thanks to the collision of the Eurasian and Phillipine plates. The rocks have then been slowly eroded away by wind and water, creating odd shapes that you see today. You can see similar formations atYehliu Geopark.
Heping island is the closest island to the main island of Taiwan. It first part of Basay aborigine lands. Chinese fisherman first called the island Greater Keelung Island.
The island was first settled by the Spanish in 1626, as their first settlement in what became their rule of northern Taiwan until they were defeated by the Dutch and left Taiwan in 1642. On Heping Island they built Fort San Salvador (聖薩爾瓦多城), which was destroyed and abandoned by the Dutch in 1668. The ruins of the fort were not confirmed to be found on the island until excavations in 2019.
After the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, the island was renamed Sheliao Island (社寮島). After WWII, as part of the White Terror Movement, on March 8th, 1947 KMT soldiers kidnapped and shot some of about 30 civilians on the island that were suspected enemy conspirators, known as the Sheliao Incident "社寮事件." After this, the people on the island decided to change to island's name to "Peace Island" or Heping Island in Chinese, so that the KMT would stop harassing the local people and bring peace to the island.
The Island was under KMT military control until the 1970s, after which tourists were allowed to enter the island.
Now it is a popular daytime and weekend destination for many Taiwanese.
8 AM to 6 PM
80 NT per person
When to go:
During the summer (May to November) when the water is warm and calm for swimming and diving.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 north out of Keelung and take a left at Zhengbin Road. Cross the bridge over to the island and head to the park which is on the north side of the island. There is paid parking in front of the park.
By Bus: From Keelung, take Keeling Bus 101 to Heping Isand bus stop.
Please see below:
Taiwan is a safe, inexpensive, and convenient place to give birth. Taiwan has a world class healthcare system, capable doctors, and top of the line medical facilities. If you are hesitant about whether or not you want to give birth in Taiwan, let me tell you now that there is nothing to worry about, and having a baby in Taiwan will be fine. I have created this brief guide here for you so that you can understand a little more about what it is like to give birth in Taiwan.
Forward: Please note that I am writing this blog and FAQ section from the perspective of an American father, married to a Taiwan National, covered by Taiwan's National Health Insurance. I have recently gone through the birth of two children in Taiwan, born in 2017 and 2020. One was born in a private local clinic and the other was born in a public city hospital.
This blog will begin with my experience, and at the end there is a frequently asked question (FAQ) section.
The most popular hiking trails in Taichung City are in the Dakeng Scenic Area, and these are numbered #1-10. This blog will take you through hiking trail #6. These trails are relatively easy and have some great views of eastern Taichung City and the surrounding mountains.
Dakeng Scenic Area is a well maintained hiking area with ten main hiking trails. Trails #1-5 are more difficult and harder to get to, and trails #6-10 are easier and more accessible via public transportation. All of these trails are somewhat interconnected and traverse the hills in eastern Beitun District of Taichung City, and have great views of the city and surrounding mountain scenery.
These trails are especially popular with Taichung City residents on the weekends.
Trail #6 Difficulty:
Trail #6 is an easy-moderate hike and takes about 2-3 hours.
The trail is 1.6 km long one way and reaches about 200 meters of elevation gain.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take Dongshan Road East out of Taichung, then turn left under Highway 74. You will then need to turn right on Jiancheng Alley (建成巷) and keep going up the mountain until you reach the parking lot.
By bus: Take Central Taiwan Bus 1 east from Taiuchung, then get off at Dongshan Songzhu Rd. Intersection, then walk about half an hour north to the trail head.
Map: Please see below:
Bitan is a slow moving part of the Xindian River in Xindian District of New Taipei. It is also known as Bitan Lake, or Bitan Scenic Area (碧潭風景區). Here you can bike ride, paddle boat, go hiking, and shop at Xindian Old Street (新店老街). With convenient transportation via Taipei MRT, it is definitely worth a stop on your trip to Taipei.
The name Bitan means "green lake" in Chinese, which was coined by Sun Ke, vice chairman of the KMT after WWII. It is also known as Chibi Lake (赤壁潭)、Shibi Lake (石壁潭)、and Shishan Big Lake (獅山邊大潭).
Bitan suspension bridge was completed in 1937. Before that time, ferry boat was the best means of transport. In 1997, the National Freeway 3 bridge was completed across the lake. In 2000, Bitan Suspension Bridge was refurbished.
It is also known as one of Taiwan's top 12 or top 8 sights.
It is also a very popular recreational spot for Taipie residents on the weekend.
Near Bitan is Xindian Old Street (新店老街), which sells street food, fruits, and vegetables. It has been the main acrigultural market in Xindian for over a hundred years. The Changxing Temple on the Old Street (長興宮) is over 150 years old, and is dedicated to the Earth God.
Ferry boat: 20 NT one way
Paddle boats: 300 NT for a two person boat, more for more people or electric boats
Bike rental: 15-70 NT per hour depending on the bike
About 8 AM to 10 PM.
How to get there:
By MRT: Take the Green Line MRT south to Xindian Station, or Xiaobitan Station. Xindian Old Street is within walking distance of Xindian Old Street. From Xiaobitan Station, you can rent a bike and ride up the river to Xindian Old Street.
By car/scooter: From Taipei, go south on provincial highway 9 until you reach Xindian Old Street. There is paid parking near the old street.
Please see below:
Please note that this guide is written from the point of view of a heterosexual American marrying a Taiwanese National. For other types of marriages in Taiwan, check with the your home country's consulate or office in Taiwan.
Generally speaking, getting married in Taiwan is not that complicated. Typically, you should only require the following documents, and apply for marriage at the local house registration office:
Q: What documents do I need to get married in Taiwan?
A: Marriage in Taiwan required documents:
Marriage agreement (結婚書約) sample below:
Nantou lies at the heart of Taiwan and is it's only landlocked county. It is known for its rugged natural landscapes and mountains, and includes the highest mountain in East Asia. If you come to Taiwan you should definitely pass through this place and stop by at some of the sights we will mention below.
In this blog we will visit the following places:
The Taipei Zoo is not only the largest and most varied zoo in Taiwan, it is also one of the best zoos in Asia, and at the same time has an extremely affordable price of only 60 NT per adult. If you have time you should definitely stop by and visit this zoo, if not for anything else but to see Taiwan's ingenious animals like the Formosan Black Bear and Sika Deer which are hard to see in the wild.
The Taipei City Zoo was originally established during the Japanese Era in 1914 near the Yuanshan Hotel. After the ROC took control of Taiwan, elephants, lions, and bears were added to the zoo in 1952. Because there was not enough land to expand the zoo, it was moved to Wenshan District in 1986. Two employees have been killed by animals, one from an elephant and one from a black bear both in the 1970s. There have been no fatalities at the zoo since. The Maokong Gondola was built next to the zoo in 2007, connecting Taipei Zoo with Maokong.
The current zoo includes a Taiwan indigenous animal exhibit, children's petting zoo, tropical rain forest exhibit, desert animal exhibit, Australian and African animal exhibits, tropical animal exhibit, petting zoo, insect exhibit, and bird exhibit. There is also indoor Panda exhibit, insect exhibit, amphibian and reptile exhibit, koala exhibit, and penguin exhibit.
9 AM to 5 PM, tickets are not sold after 4:00 PM.
Sometimes in the summer twilight hours are extended to 9:00 PM, but it's not worth going as most all of the animal exhibits are closed after 5:00 PM.
60 NT per person
How to get there:
By MRT: Take the brown line MRT to the Taipei Zoo station, then walk north a few hundred meters until you reach the zoo entrance.
By Car/Scooter: Drive to the Taipei Zoo (via highway 3 or county road 106), and park somewhere on the street or in a parking lot, then walk to the zoo entrance.
Please see below:
Maokong is only one of a few Gondolas in Taiwan, but it is the most accessible. You can get there via the Taipei MRT. After embarking on the Gondola, you can view grand vistas of Southern Taipei, and then explore the mountainous streets of Maokong, which has tea shops, street food, restaurants, temples, hiking trails, and great views.
The Maokong Gondola was completed in 2007 to improve transportation to Maokong, a tea growing area in Southern Wenshan District of Taipei City. Before, the district could only be reached by small mountain roads.
The Gondola was closed from 2008-2010 due to Typhoon damage.
Popular activities in the area include tea drinking, hiking, and picture taking.
There are four stations on the Gondola: Taipei Zoo Station, Taipei Zoo South Station, Zhinan Temple Station, and Maokong Station. A one way trip takes 12 minutes, and gondola cars which can fit up to eight people (five people in glass cars) come every few seconds.
Maokong gets its name from the eroded holes in the rocks around the area; the name literally means “Cat Hole.” The area has been one of the largest areas for tea production in Taipei since the Qing Dynasty. After the completion of the Gondola in 2007, tourists to the area have increased significantly.
9 AM to 9 PM
120 NT per person one way from Taipei Zoo Station to Maokong Station.
50 NT per trip for Taipei City residents
How to get there:
By MRT: Take the brown line MRT to the Taipei Zoo station, then walk south a few hundred meters until you reach the gondola station on the east side of the main road.
By Car/Scooter: Drive to the Taipei Zoo, and park somewhere on the street or in a parking lot, the walk to the Gondola Station.
(You can also take the Gondola from the southern station inside the Zoo or from Zhinan Temple)
Please see below:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.