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FAQ about recliaming VAT in Japan


Does a claimant company need a fiscal representative to claim a VAT refund from the Japanese tax authorities?

Yes. Fiscal representation is mandatory if a company has non-resident status in Japan . It is important to remember that registration is required before expenses can be claimed.



When is the deadline for submitting a claim?

The deadline for a claim submission depends on the claimant's fiscal year. The deadline is set to be two months after the end of the claimant's fiscal year . For example, if a claimant's fiscal year ends in December, then the deadline is the end of February of the following year.

Do you send original invoices to the Japanese tax authorities?

No. You do not have to send invoices with a VAT refund claim. However, the original invoices must be kept for seven years for a possible audit. A detailed expense report must be submitted with a refund claim.


How often can VAT claims be submitted?

Claims may be submitted only once a year.


How soon can you expect to get refunds back from the Japanese tax authorities?

Usually you can get refunds back within two months after the claim submission.



Can a claimant receive refunds directly into a bank account in its own country?

No. The Japanese tax authorities deposit refunds directly into our fiscal representative's bank account in Japan . We subtract our fee and transfer the balance to your company's bank account.


What is the VAT rate in Japan?

A five percent VAT (Consumption Tax) is charged on each transaction on all goods and services.


Under what name is VAT recognized in Japan?

VAT is often referred to as Consumption Tax, “Shouhi-zei” in Japanese. Often the amount withheld as VAT is not explicitly stated on a Japanese invoice.



Which countries does Japan have reciprocity with?

At present, Japan has reciprocity with the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,

Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia,

Norway, Switzerland, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Israel, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia,

New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, South Africa and Egypt.


The number of the countries who have reciprocity with Japan is growing.

We will periodically update our web page with the additions.


When does a claimant become eligible to claim a VAT refund from Japan ?

As soon as VAT registration with the Japanese tax authorities is completed, the claimant is entitled to VAT refunds. Japan does not accept retrospective claims from a first time claimant. Expenses incurred before the registration date cannot be claimed.

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