Why am I Paying 8% Tax...??? (When Importing from Japan)

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Derek, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. Derek

    Derek Derek Weldon

    Jun 20, 2013
    Yokohama Japan
    My last thread about scamming exporters helps me to sleep better.

    But something weird has happened this week. We got a HUGE number of new customers telling us that their current exporter is charging them consumption tax on their imports.

    We used to hear about this from time to time but all of the sudden there has been a spike in what we have heard. Maybe this is anecdotal and we should not worry... but if some people are being scammed because of lack of knowledge, we should get some info out.

    Exporters can't charge you the 8% consumption tax.
    If they do that, they are stealing from you.

    Whoa... bold text alert. Let's back up a bit and go over this.

    In Japan, any time you buy something from a store, you pay 8% tax on it. Most countries have consumption tax. This should be easy to understand.
    Let's have a closer look at what consumption tax is...

    Okay, are you smarter now? For those that didn't read it. Consumption tax is a tax on goods being consumed within that country. WITHIN THAT COUNTRY

    Do you know what is not being consumed within Japan?

    That's right. When you buy cars from Japan to be exported, consumption tax is not to be charged on them because they are not for Japanese use.

    Let's let that sit for a second. Some exporters charge you a tax when they are not allowed to charge you a tax.

    But Derek... My exporter says that they have to pay that tax and so they pass it on to me. They even showed me their invoice with that tax charged.

    Sadly... Japan is not advanced (like Canada) and yes, we pay the 8% tax when we purchase vehicles.
    BUT... we get ALL of that money back. Yes, the cars are not consumed in Japan so we get that money back several months later depending on how often the exporter claims taxes. We claim it back monthly because 8% of the cost of cars is a lot of money.

    Why do some exporters charge tax?

    Well, they are cheating poo-poo heads but the reason they are pushed to steal is simple - It is hard for exporters to have enough money to pay for that tax. If we sell $1,000,000 in cars (not that hard really), then we need $80,000 in our hands to pay for the tax. Sure we will get it back... but we still need that money up front.

    Secondly, an extra $800 profit per car sounds so sweet doesn't it? How can the bad guys resist?

    Notice to people before they yell at their exporters. Businesses are allowed to charge any agreed upon fees. If the exporter charges 8% of the vehicle price and they don't call it a tax, but a fee, that is fair. In this case, it should be in the company's terms of service (that you have hopefully signed) and see if there is anything written about the 8% tax. None of the good exporters charge the tax (because it is insane to charge consumption tax for an exported good).

    My Exporter charged me 8% tax... What should I do?
    Sadly, there is not much that an be done legally. I have been to court in Japan. It is messed up, expensive, and hard to prove something like this. You would also need to come to Japan several times over about a year... they don't make it easy for foreigners. Even if you get to a court room, the onus will be on you to prove that this was not part of the agreed upon service fee. Japanese business is surprisingly corrupt and nearly all legal battles end in a private settlement. This option would only be useful for those that have spent hundreds of thousands on taxes over the years... like the person that emailed us this week.

    There is the option to publicly shame the company. sometimes threats to do so are worth more than actually doing so. You would need to think of your specific situation to see if this is the right option for you.

    It is getting harder and harder for exporters to make money (I should know, we work our butts off). This is due to extreme competition and a shockingly high level of underhanded practices. This is causing exporters to be "creative" in how they make money.
    Greg and pitty like this.
  2. _drew

    _drew New Member

    Jun 20, 2013
    Richmond BC
    thanks again Derek!
  3. Ihatedomestic

    Ihatedomestic I rarely post; mostly lurk in the shadows

    Jan 25, 2014
    Another great post. Very informative.
  4. Pajerist

    Pajerist New Member

    Jun 20, 2013
    Wet Coast, BC
    Thanks Derek for a heads up. You are a rock!
  5. Greg

    Greg Local Grumpy Moderator

    Jun 20, 2013
    Vancouver Island
    Sneaky and interesting to know! Thanks for this Derek.