I bet some of you may have seen your friends in Japan, posting insta-story of receiving boxes of Japanese Amao strawberries for FREE, hash-tagging #Furusatonozei and wondering how you can sign up for it? Not only that, maybe some of them posted pictures of Kobe beef, sacks of freshly harvested rice, mouthwatering huge scallops, or even the famous samurai swords Japanese knives!
So what’s the hoo-ha about FurusatoNozei/ Hometown Tax?
Simply put, it is a tax scheme that converts parts of your residential tax to the rural governments. So instead of paying tax to your residential area, say Tokyo Ota-ku, your tax money goes to a small town in Kagoshima, for example, as you apply for goods from that area. With the same amount of tax money you need to pay, you get gifts produced locally in return, for supporting the rural communities in Japan, they get tax money from taxpayers living in other parts of Japan. It’s a win-win!
And yes, foreigners living in Japan ARE ELIGIBLE to apply for it!
"Say no more, how do I sign up for it?", one may ask.
Here are three simple steps:
1. Calculate how much you can “donate”.
There are many websites for it, you can simply google “furusato nozei calculator”.
Simply insert the following items and the amount of tax money that you are eligible for
the furusato nozei scheme will be calculated!（See Figure 1)
Annual salary amount
2. Shopping time!
With the amount computed from step 1, you know how much to “spend” beforehand.
There are several websites for it but one I’d recommend is Rakuten, as you can redeem
points from your shopping ;)
Figure2-7. Simple Shopping Guide Using Furusatonozei
3. Tax Filing
Here comes what many people may think as the tedious part.
If your company does your tax filing for you You would want to apply for one-stop exception system, when you do the shopping, as shown in figure 4. However there are two conditions for the system:
Annual income not exceeding 20 million yen
Donate to no more than five municipalities in one year
The application form for “one-stop exception system” will be mailed to you by the
municipality to which the donation was made, together with a “Certificate of
Receipt of Donation”. You will need to return the mail with a copy of the special
application form and My-Number card to the municipality to which you are
donating, by Dec 31st for the tax exemption for the following year.
b. If you do your own tax
You first do your hometown tax donation and then claim back what you donated
later for the following year.
Besides donating to multiple municipalities. you can also choose the causes to which your tax money contributes to, as shown in Figure 3! Why not make use of this system and redeem the rare products from certain regions for free? You may thank me later ;)
For more info, here are some cool sites you might want to check out: