Hu Shih was one of the greatest literary figures in the history of China, and completely changed the literary and scholarly world in China and Taiwan for the better. After he passed away, a memorial hall was erected in his honor as well as a graveyard park.
As a lifelong student of Chinese, I am a big fan of Mr. Hu, and hopefully after reading this blog you will be as well! I was surprised when I first moved to Nangang that his grave and memorial hall are right here, so of course I wanted to make a blog about it.
Who was Hu Shih?
The Taiwan Presidential Office building is the office for all presidents of Taiwan, past and present. One of the many historical buildings in Taipei, it is a beautiful Japanese era brick building, with a built in museum inside. It is open for tours to the public on weekdays, and is definitely worth a visit.
The building was first constructed during Japanese rule of Taiwan for the Governor-General of the island. A plan was chosen that included an eleven storey tower and European style elements. Like other Japanese buildings in Taiwan, it faced east toward the rising sun.
Construction began in 1912 and it was completed in 1919. Some of the bricks for the building came from the Songshan Brick Kiln which we have blogged about earlier. It was the highest building in Taipei until it was overtaken by the Hilton in 1973.
The building was damaged during an air raid in 1945 and was not repaired until the Taiwan Provincial Government under the ROC raised funds. When the ROC retreated to Taiwan in 1950, it became the Office of the President Chiang Kai-Shek. Since then, every sitting president of the ROC has used this building as their office, and it is currently used by President Tsai Yingwen. For more information click here.
How to get there:
The building is close to the NTU hospital MRT station:
Being an American Expat abroad can be a scary prospect when it comes to taxes. Worldwide banks have implemented FACTA reporting which means that big brother knows how much money you have overseas for accounts you opened using your American passport. Also, the USA is one of the few countries that exercises a worldwide tax system. Not to mention, for tax year 2017 the individual mandate for health insurance is still in effect, so if you don’t declare to the government that you were out of the country, you’ll be slapped with a fine for not having health insurance.
But don’t let those things get you down! The overseas exemption is pretty high (102,000 USD as of 2017) and if you make more than that you should be investing some money into to a professional to do your taxes for you anyway. If you are making lower than that, filing your taxes is easy!
You may try to file taxes online using Turbo Tax or something similar, but once you declare you have an overseas bank account, you will run yourself into trouble. The tax software will only be able to process this if you pay an extra $50 or something for the “professional version.” Who wants to pay $50 on a tax form that you are declaring nothing on, right?
The simple and free solution is to send in your tax form via pencil and paper. The government has made this relatively simple for us foreigners abroad. And they give us an extra 3 months to file! Below is a rough guide on completing your taxes via pencil and paper from overseas.
Paper and Pencil Tax Filing Guide
Disclaimer: I am not a professional in US tax. Below is simple a guide that follows the tax instructions given by the IRS. If you have complex overseas tax issues, I would suggest you seek professional advice. If you file yourself, you need to read the IRS instructions carefully and make sure you do not misreport anything. I cannot take responsibility for any tax misfiling on your part..
With that in mind, I am going to assume that you are:
I will walk you through the following 6 steps:
Step 1: Fill Out Schedule B of Form 1040
Yes, before you even start on Form 1040, you need to begin with Schedule B of Form 1040. This is because you have a foreign bank account; you must declare it as well as other foreign assets. Because of FACTA, the US has forced banks worldwide to share the account information of American citizens. Big brother knows, so you might as well declare.
Click here for Schedule B instructions and here for the Schedule B itself. Be sure to print it out and read the instructions carefully.
Filing taxes in a foreign country can be a scary prospect. However, Taiwan makes it easy by providing many tools and resources such as the E-file system. This is not a comprehensive guide, but is written to help give you an idea of how to file taxes online and avoid unnecessary confusion.
A complete guide to the system can be found here although the whole thing is in Chinese. Here is a simple guide they have provided in English.
Filing online will require a basic understanding of Chinese characters (at least your own name, address, etc.). If you know no Chinese, either get a friend to help you or just file in person at the Tax office. Filing in person doesn't take long either, but it may be far away and you will have to wait in line. You can also hire an accounting firm or law firm to help.
For our full FAQ regarding income tax for foreigners in Taiwan, click here.
Okay, let's get started. The first thing you need to do is download the E-filing software here.
After downloading, go ahead and install the thing.
Some strange things may happen after you download:
1. There are weird symbols instead of Chinese characters.
Okay, now you are ready to login. You have five options:
In order to login via health card, you need to register a password online here. You need a card reader as well. The website should automatically recognise your card. All you need to do is type in your ARC number, and type in a password. Also, the process will only be completed once you confirm it by email.
Okay, you are finally in the system. Start filling in your information! This should be pretty straightforward. You also need to fill in the personal info for your dependents.
For your resident days, refer to your passport (this is why you should have your passport stamped and not use the e-gate). If you have been in Taiwan for less than 183 days you are a non-tax resident and pay 18% tax. If you have stayed for more than 183 days, you are taxed according to the tax table. See our tax guide for more info.
Next you should download (import) income and deduction data from the government database. It is the yellow button on the left. If you have already logged via health card or citizen certificate, then there should be no problem. Otherwise you won't be able to download the information.
Once the income info is downloaded, the system will automatically calculate your tax due for you! No math needed!
You will also have to choose between the standard deduction and itemized deduction. Again, for more info see our complete tax guide.
Once you have calculated your refund or tax payable, you can decide how you want to pay or receive payment.
If you have tax payable, you have four options:
If you choose to pay by credit card, make sure you only pay once. If after payment you find a mistake in your filing and try to upload again, it will ask for you to enter your credit card again and charge you again. In this case, you need to choose "pay by cash" and it will print out the remaining balance if your taxes amount increased. If the tax balance became less, call your credit card company and cancel the transaction. If the credit card amount is the same, check "pay by cash" and do not pay, because your card has already been charged.
For the refund, you can either choose:
After you have uploaded your filing and paid, you now need to mail in your supporting documents via snail mail or send them via electronic media (CD/USB).
I would suggest just printing them out.
If you don't have a printer, you may notice that the supporting document list and receipts save in a weird file format, but you can save them via PDF as seen above, and then print them at a 7-11 or copy store.
Look at your list of documents and make sure you have copies of everything they want. They also provide an address of the office near you that you can stick right on an envelope and mail to the tax office. Also, you can check the progress of your filing right from the system (as well as online here).
Still Have Questions?
Please feel free to like, follow, ask questions, comment, and share, to help foreigners in Taiwan everywhere with their tax filing!
Foreword: Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of questions. This is meant to only give a basic overview of Taiwan's economy to those who have not yet been to Taiwan.
Is Taiwan a developed Country?
Yes, with a GDP PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) nearly equivalent to that of Australia, it has one of the highest living standards in Asia. Also, it has one the best quality of life for expats in the world according an article by InterNations.
Is Taiwan safe?
Yes, Taiwan is one of the safest countries in the world according to Prescavve, due to low crime and high economic freedom and devolopment.
What currency does Taiwan use?
New Taiwan Dollar.
Who is on Taiwan money/dollar bills? Who is on the New Taiwan Dollar? What does Taiwan money look like? What does the Taiwan dollar look like?
Older Chiang Kai-shek
Front: Sun Yatsen
Back: Chung-Shan Building
Front: Youth baseball
Back: Formosan sika deer and Dabajian Mountain
Front: Elementary Education
Back: Mikado pheasant and Yushan (Jade Mountain)
1 NT: Chiang Kai-shek
5NT: Chiang Kai-shek
10 NT: Older Chiang Kai-shek/ Newer Sun-Yatsen
50 NT: Sun Yatsen
100 NT Front: Sun Yatsen
100 NT Back: Chung-Shan Building
500 NT Front: Youth baseball
500 NT Back: Formosan Sika deer and Dabajian Mountain
1000 NT Front: Elementary Education
1000 NT Back: Mikado pheasant and Yushan (Jade Mountain)
How much is the Taiwan dollar worth?
Check this now. As of jan 3rd 2018 it is worth 29 US dollars.
Why is it called the New Taiwan Dollar?
This is because during Japanese rule, Taiwan used Taiwan Yen. After WW2, Taiwan was given back to China, and the government of China changed the currency to Taiwan dollars. But, during the Chinese civil war, the Taiwan dollar experienced hyper inflation, and so was later replaced by the New Taiwan Dollar.
What type of economy does Taiwan have?
Taiwan is an advanced liberal economy, and the 7th largest economy in Asia. It is a member of the WTO, ADP, and APEC, and an observer of the OECD.
When does the Taiwan stock market open?
The Taiwan stock market is open on weekdays (M-F) from 9:00 am to 1:30pm Taipei time.
What is made in Taiwan?
98% of Taiwan exports are industrial goods. Electronics are the most important part of Taiwan’s economy. Taiwan is the largest supplier of computer chips. Semiconductors, LCD panels, computer memory, as well as boats, hardware, scooters, and agricultural products are also made in Taiwan.
What are the biggest companies in Taiwan?
Foxconn, TSMC and Pegatron, Quanta Computer, and Cathay Life Insurance are the biggest companies in Taiwan. Other companies include Acer, Asus, and HTC.
Which bank should I use in Taiwan?
Most banks will let foreigners set up an account. Some handy accounts to have when shopping are with Cathay Pacific, which has the Costco credit card, CTCB which is PX Mart, and Yushan Bank which is alligned with Carrefour.
How do I open a Taiwan bank account?
Typically you can walk in to any bank, and open an account if you bring your passport and/or ARC. If you do not have an ARC, then you will need to apply for a Taiwan uniform ID number at the immigration office first.
If you are from a list of countries that is high risk because of money laundering it may be harder to open an account.
Also, if you are American you will have to sign a W9 or similar form because of FACTA.
How much is food in Taiwan?/ How much is food in Taipei?/ How much does Taiwan food cost?
Check here. An average cheap meal in Taipei is 80-160 NT.
In the south it may be 10-20 NT cheaper.
Why live in Taiwan?
Taiwan is one of the best countries in the world with one of the best qualities of life. Taiwan boasts delicious food, great weather year round, amazing tourist sites, friendly people, cheap cost of living, and economic opportunity.
How much does it cost to live in Taipei?
Average rent is 17,220.13 NT for a one room apartment, but can range from 10,000-25,000NT. Food is 80-160 NT for a cheap meal in Taipei.
How much does it cost to live in Taichung?
The average rent for a one room bedroom in Taichung is 9,444 NT, but can range from 7,000 NT to 14,000 NT.
How much does it cost to live in Kaohsiung?
Rent is 8,375.00 NT on average for for a one room apartment, but can range from 6,000 NT to 12,000 NT.
How does Taiwan make money? Where does Taiwanese wealth come from?
Taiwan makes most of its money by exporting electronics. Electronics are the most important part of Taiwan’s economy. Taiwan is the world’s largest supplier of computer chips. Also, over 70% of Taiwan’s GDP comes from the service industry.
How does Taiwan increase its crops?
Irrigation systems and dams, modern machinery, pesticides, and GMOs.
What does Taiwan import?
Taiwanimports a huge variety of items. The top ten imports in 2016 were as follows:
What does Taiwan export?
The top ten exports in 2016 were as follows:
From where does Taiwan import oil?
Taiwan imports nearly 99% of its oil from the Middle East and Persian Gulf countries.
Where does Taiwan import from?
Taiwan’s biggest imports come from China/HK, Japan, the US, Europe, and ASEAN countries.
Where does Taiwan get its water?
From reservoirs and rivers that originate mostly in Taiwan’s mountains.
How much money does Taiwan have?
The average net worth of a Taiwanese household in 2015 was NT 11 million, roughly 370,000 USD.
Taiwan also has 447.21 billion in foreign exchange reserves.
Have any more questions about Taiwan's Economy? Please leave them in the comments below, and we might just add them to the list!
Please like, follow, and share to help everyone know that Taiwan is a friendly and inviting place for foreigners to do business!
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.