The Power of Zeirishi: your ultimate guide in the jungle of Japanese taxes

Punctuality. Obedience. Respect.

These are the three words that perfectly describe the mentality of Japanese people. And if you’re reading this article, you may have already encountered some hurdles to overcome either in your daily or business life.

Doing business in Japan is not a walk in the park. And needless to say that tax matters are not something you should expect to be solved at the push of a button, especially if you don’t speak Japanese. No wonder many entrepreneurs feel bewildered when establishing their company in Japan.

If you’re new to Japan and don’t know where to start or which path to take – we have a solution for you. The simplest one you can ever imagine! Keep reading to find out how hiring a tax accountant at an early stage can help you save your money and time.

Where to start?

Upon entering the Japanese market, you may notice a subtle difference in the job responsibilities between Japanese and your country’s professionals.

Therefore, don’t be reluctant to spare some time on checking out the table below to figure out who you should turn to if you’re planning to set up a company in Japan.

Quite unusual and unexpectedly complicated, don’t you think so?

In other words, to establish a company you will need to run to a registration, while immigration lawyer will be handling your visa application.

At the same time, you will also be expected to inform the tax office of the opening of your company, so you’ll have to seek assistance from a tax accountant as well. Already feeling pressure, huh?

Are you supposed to pull yourself apart running back and forth between different professionals and dealing with the paperwork when starting a new business? You’re already busy enough trying to move heaven and earth to make it through your first year.

Want to avoid this headache? Just reach out to one specialist that can guide you through the whole process from the very beginning : a tax accountant or zeirishi (ZS) in Japanese. It’s as simple as that.

In our experience, many entrepreneurs contact a tax accountant after establishing their company and experiencing a hike in sales. The order, though, should be the other way around.

A tax accountant is the very first professional you should contact if you’re planning to set up a business in Japan.

Why should I hire an accountant in Japan?

Connections. If you’ll ever need help from another professional (be it a certified social insurance labor consultant or lawyer for registration), just ask your tax accountant and they will gladly introduce you to an appropriate one. They may even arrange a meeting for you and help to communicate your issue on your behalf.

No need to use your valuable time to look for a trustworthy professional by yourself – your tax accountant will make sure that you and your business will be taken care of by a reliable specialist.

Cost efficiency. A tax accountant (ZS) can register as a lawyer for paperwork (GS). This kind of professional has the power to submit documents at a notary public office and is allowed to use an electronic signature verification system for establishing companies.

If you decide to open the company without a tax accountant (ZS), you must pay a “Revenue Stamp” of 40,000 yen. A tax accountant (ZS), however, doesn’t need to pay it and can therefore offer a lower price than the one you would get if you did it yourself.

Blue-form Return. Once the establishment procedures are completed, you’re required to submit several notifications to the tax office. One of the notifications, the so-called “Blue-Form Return Application”, is a vital document to the Tax Reduction Strategy. If you fail to submit it in time, you will lose the chance to get 650,000 yen in tax deductions at the end of your first fiscal year.

Despite that, neither a lawyer for registration (SS) nor a lawyer for paperwork (GS) will tell you about this document because tax matters are not their area of expertise. A tax accountant, on the other hand, will make sure to submit this document for you in a timely manner.

Translation benefit. One of the biggest obstacles for foreigners in Japan is the language. Most Japanese institutions, including banks, tax offices or pension services, still do not provide efficient English support. This might feel unbearable, especially when you’re new in Japan.

Here is where your English-speaking tax accountant can come to the rescue. Although translation is not their duty, they won’t refuse to make some calls on your behalf or even accompany you if you’re in trouble. Sometimes it may come at extra price, but no one can put a price tag on a sense of security and relief you get.

Continuous support. Having a tax accountant by your side means having continuous and long-lasting support. Anytime. Anywhere.

Not sure how to enroll the company into Social Insurance? Call your tax accountant. Don’t know if you are eligible for a pension exemption? Contact your tax accountant and they will make some calls on your behalf.

They are also the ones who will gladly guide you through the Japanese business custom to secure your smooth adjustment to the new environment.

Feels compelling, doesn’t it?

As you can see, not only can tax accountants advise you on tax matters, but also offer a wide range of support you might have never expected.

Be time and money-wisecontact a tax accountant and start your dream journey in Japan with a successful note.


I’m David, the Director of the International Department.

Native Japanese speaker, born and raised here in Tokyo, I have more than 10 years of professional work experience.

Through my bicultural background, I decided to support foreigners in Japan by helping them establish their business here.

Taking care of all necessary procedures and providing accounting services with English speaking experts is our promise to help you make the best out of your experience in Japan.

In order to not get lost in translation, we accompany you and your business through every step.




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  • Operating in Japan since 1983
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I ended up taking the services of the Otani Accounting Office because their website was great and they had good reviews online.

The OAO team was with me every step of the way, offering advice and tips to make my future tax returns even easier.

As a result, I got a fantastic return, claiming the amounts that I was entitled to.”

Stephen Heller, Project Manager at Mugen Creations LLC

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