We spent International Women’s Day tackling the gender-neutral issue of . . . Tax!
A couple of weeks ago, I received a 3-page form in the post for filing an individual tax return.
Ordinarily, each month my employer pays income and residence tax to the government on my behalf. However, since I’m currently on maternity leave the usual rules of engagement do not apply.
Amazingly the form and accompanying documents were in English, but because I now have a dependent I thought it best to ask directly for advice from the powers-that-be.
Where to file?
Armed with my 2016 tax withholding slip (gensen choshu hyo), an A4 folder full of baby-related medical receipts, my hanko (name stamp), and all official ID for myself and my baby, we headed to our local tax office in Azabu.
After a false start – we were told that any and all questions about tax could not be answered in Azabu but instead had to be directed to the city’s main tax office in Shiba Koen – we took a nice, long walk to the correct place, via Tokyo Tower.
Baby Hope napped for much of the journey. Smart kid!
Minato City Office – thumbs up
Luckily, Minato City Office now has an English information desk and skilled interpreters on hand to assist with tricky questions. Everyone is SUPER kind and helpful.
To cut a long story short, it seems we may be eligible for a tax rebate related to medical expenses incurred at pre-natal and post-natal hospital appointments. This is separate to the ‘giving birth’ reimbursements, to be paid by our city and insurer.
Moving ahead, we now have to secure an additional document from my employer before re-visiting the main office to file our individual tax return.
To be continued . . .