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?
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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.