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kakutei shinkoku  (Filing Income Tax Returns)

Alex, who recently started working at a Japanese company, hears the words kakutei shinkoku for the first time as his colleague Mizushima talks about it.

Mizushima
I need to get ready for kakutei shinkoku soon.
Alex
Mizushima-san, what is kakutei shinkoku?
Mizushima
kakutei shinkoku is a requirement to file your income tax returns for the last year at a tax office. The tax office determines how much taxes you pay according to the information you file.
Alex
Does everybody have to file the taxes?
Mizushima
If your income is only from one company by which you are currently employed, you shouldn't have to file the taxes by yourself. The estimated amount of taxes are automatically deducted from your monthly pay, which is a system called gensen choshu. Your monthly salary statement should tell you how much taxes you paid for that month. If the deduction was more than what you should actually pay, you get a refund of your overpayment at the time of nenmatsu chosei, or year-end adjustment. If the monthly deduction was short, an additional deduction from your pay will be made also at the time of year-end adjustment. These deductions and adjustments are taken care of by the employer.
Alex
Why do you have to do the kakutei shinkoku, then?
Mizushima
Well, if you were paid by more than two employers in the past year, you are required to file. I had an income from my previous job before I began working here since last summer. I should have made the year-end adjustment of my two incomes but didn't, so I have to file now.

Alex feels a bit confused with those tax-related words he is not familiar with.

Alex
It sounds like kakutei shinkoku is a complicated process.
Mizushima
Preparing documents for the filing is time-taking, but this is required of us, and it is also to our benefit. There are various tax deductions available so that your tax payment may be reduced.
Alex
In what cases can tax payment be reduced?
Mizushima
For example, if you paid 100,000 yen or more for medical expenses in the past year, you may claim the medical expense deduction. You should save receipts from hospitals and pharmacies because they are required for submission at the time of filing. Premium payments for social insurance, health insurance, and life insurance are also tax-deductable.
Alex
I see.
Mizushima
So, if you are employed only by one company and are paying taxes from your monthly pay, you may still want to file annual tax returns by yourself to receive a possible refund.
Alex
I guess I should not be lazy. Where can I file my tax returns then?
Mizushima
You may file it online, but the best way for you is to visit a local tax office nearest to your address. Make sure you take your gensen choshu-hyo(certificate of withholding tax) and receipts with you, and people at the tax office can help you fill out the tax return form.
Alex
When is the tax filing accepted?
Mizushima
From February 16 (Wed.) to March 15 (Tue.) this year.
Alex
I guess you don't have much time left.
Mizushima
Right, I'd better get started!

National Tax Agency (official website in English) http://www.nta.go.jp/foreign_language/index.htm