I always file my Japanese taxes directly at the Katsushika city tax office. It’s possible to do it from home online, but honestly it’s so confusing I’d rather just go there and have the staff help me do it at a terminal.
This year, of course, things were different. Instead of long, crowded lines they strictly controlled admissions.
There was the usual confusion about my application since I get paid from my American company in dollars and had a US W-2, but after calling over the expert it worked out in the end, as usual. I always bring the last few years’ filings with me so they can remember what they decided goes where.
Done for another year! Took a taxi there and back…
Today was the first day for submitting personal taxes in Tokyo, so I decided to get them done early. For this return, I always go over to the Katsushika tax office and somebody stands by me and helps me get the right data into the computer. I always choose the “I don’t know how to use computers” option because even though I do know how to use computers I don’t understand taxes at all – even in the U.S. So I bring medical receipts, salary statements, and other stuff – plus my returns from the past few years so the person helping me can see what last year’s person did, and just ask them to help me. It usually goes more smoothly that way.
I was surprised it was so crowded. I guess a bunch of other people also wanted to get it done with quickly.
After standing in line for a while, and getting to the front of the “preliminary preparation” stage, instead of having to go to the computer area, wait in another line, and stand with somebody and do it, they dragged me out of line, said there were too many part-timers there today who are unfamiliar with dealing with foreigners (my income is from the U.S.), and brought me over to what I can best describe as a sort of “tax concierge corner” I had never seen before.
There I got to sit at a table in a comfortable chair while somebody took my papers and entered everything into the computer by himself, and I was done in 10 minutes. He even personally escorted me to the next room and showed me where to drop the final papers off.
After I was done I asked where I could call a taxi, because there was no obvious place around there where taxis go by, and I just felt like getting home quickly.
He sent me to the third floor, where they had me sit down again while they called a taxi for me. Then they escorted me back down to the first floor, showed me a comfortable seat where I could wait for the taxi, and told me where to look. And they even offered to stay with me until the taxi came.