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Student visa and independent contractor at the same time

#1
Hello everyone, I hope you can help me.

I saw a similar topic from more than a year ago but my scenario is a bit different.

I'm currently hold an student visa for a year (non permanent resident) and while looking for a part-time job I found a part time job from an american company that allows me to work remotely, in my specialty (engineer) with a lot of flexibility and better salary than a normal baito in Japan. The problem is I need to become an independent contractor to sign the contract. I went to inmigration and tried to explain the situation without much success, they told me that I can probably become a contractor until  my visa expired since laws does not stablish any restriction of how I receive the money, or something like that, it was hard to understand it.

One detail, since I have no bank account in Japan the money would be transfer to my country's bank account, I would not send it to Japan just withdraw it from the bank.

There's still some things that doesn't quite fit:

- None of the students working in a part time job have to pay taxes from it.
- Becoming a contractor means holding a different visa than student? So should I transfer it?
- If I were to not pay the taxes because I'm a non permanent resident and the incoming is foreign, should I pay it in my country? I'm currently not a resident of there either so I shouldn't be liable to pay taxes there.

Another friend has told me that I can become an independant contractor and live legally in Japan with just showing that I have a supporting client, not even from Japan, because after all I intend to pay my taxes in Japan so it's like giving money to Japan for free. So if that were possible I wouldn't mind consider changing the contract to full time instead of part time.

I intend to contact a lawyer about this but I don't want to go there without knowing all my possibilities beforehand.

Thanks in advance for the help.
Edited: 2016-10-19, 10:37 pm
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#2
Where is this part time that doesn't pay taxes? If they are not paying taxes, then they are probably working under the table Smile

Go to immigration and apply for a work permit on your student visa. They will give you a form to fill in, you will have to provide the details of the company and that's it, your visa is all good for up to 28 hours of work per week Smile. Make sure to bring your student card, passport and residence card.

You won't be paying taxes in your home country, the company will deduct the Japanese taxes before paying you.
Edited: 2016-10-19, 11:08 pm
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#3
This is one of those cases where I don't understand why people cause themselves so much trouble. Why bother with changing your status? Why bother with getting something to show you are working? Immigration isn't going to know you are working for an overseas company. So why bother with any of this unless you are no longer a student and need to transfer over now.

Something to keep in mind if you really want to change visa status. Schools/Unis/whatever, might have an issue with you not being on a student visa, so make sure you talk to the school and check if this will be an issue.

If you are dead set on paying taxes, then you'll have to file them yourself. You just tell the government how much you are making and then they'll figure it out. But you'll want to talk to a CPA/Accountant to figure that out.

Finally, why the hell don't you have a bank account? If you have a residence card you should be able to at least go to the Post Office and open an account with them. Do that.
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#4
Are you from the US, or just working for a US company? If you're from the US, you should also look into US laws. The US government loves to tax American citizens who work abroad. Only country I know of that does that.
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#5
Make sure you don't overstay that visa...nothing is more annoying than foreigners who stay even after their visa has expired (this applies not to just Japan but the US, Canada etc.)
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#6
Thanks everyone for the fast replies.

I need to become a contractor before signing the contract, I want to know if it's possible to become a contractor while being an student and what my status would be. I just want to do what's legally correct, of course I don't like paying taxes if I don't have to so if non permanent residents doesn't have to report foreign income I'm more than happy with that.

I already have a work permit for part time jobs, I did it just when entering Japan. I don't have a japanese bank account because I didn't need it, never had a work in Japan before but of course I have no troubles opening one. And I'm EU citizen, it's just the company being from US.

Thanks for the advises, if this ended up becoming a big nuissance I will just skip the job offer and try a normal part time job inside Japan.
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#7
(2016-10-20, 5:46 pm)PetaZetas Wrote: I need to become a contractor before signing the contract, I want to know if it's possible to become a contractor while being an student and what my status would be.

What do you mean by this? There isn't any legal procedure to "become a contractor".

If you want to keep everything completely legal while being a student then you need to apply for 資格外活動許可申請 (Permission to Engage in Activity Other than That Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted) and keep your billable hours under 28 hours a week. Then before March 15th you need to file 確定申告 Form B and report and pay taxes on your earning. Your local tax offices has the forms and instructions in English.

If you want to ditch your student visa and transition to full-time then you will need to set up a company in Japan which entails getting an accountant to advise you on the process.

Having done precisely what you intend to do I would suggest working independently (ie. just pay your taxes as an individual) until you can save up enough money to create a one person 株式会社. After that your accountant can help you minimize your tax liabilities compared to paying individual tax.

Also I hope you aren't American because that complicates the individual tax part. If you are you need to hire a separate person that knows how to deal with it.

(2016-10-20, 5:46 pm)PetaZetas Wrote: Thanks for the advises, if this ended up becoming a big nuissance I will just skip the job offer and try a normal part time job inside Japan.

I highly recommend against this. If you suddenly decide you want to stay in Japan you will regret not having set up a profitable company that pays its taxes and almost guarantees you a visa. The only safer setup I am aware of is a marriage but your spouse can still fire you. Big Grin
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#8
(2016-10-20, 5:46 pm). .PetaZetas Wrote: I need to become a contractor before signing the contract, I want to know if it's possible to become a contractor while being an student and what my status would be. I just want to do what's legally correct, of course I don't like paying taxes if I don't have to so if non permanent residents doesn't have to report foreign income I'm more than happy with that.

As tokyostyle asked, the "become a contractor" bit is a bit confusing. Are you sure you aren't confusing what the US company is saying? A contractor in the US under tax law is a little special. They have different tax filings. A US company shouldn't be concerned with what your visa status is in another country if this work is remote and they don't have Japan offices.

If you work in Japan you are suppose to pay taxes, but the government only usually knows this officially if there is a business in Japan and they are filing taxes to the government about you working for them. Since this is a US company, they aren't going to file anything with the Japanese government so there won't be any paper trail for them to know you are working while in Japan.

If you are a long term student (ie: not an exchange student there for 1 year), you might want to check into whether you should file tax returns or not. Even while working for the US company you could put down 0 yen for income and be fine, because again, there's no way anyone would know, doubly so if you are transferring the money from your EU bank to Japan after you are paid. You want to file a tax return though because visa renewals and what not usually require a document from your local city saying you paid your taxes for the prior year; at least, that's the case for work visas, whether that is the case for student visas I don't know (or if its the case if you change from student to some kind of work visa).

tokyostyle Wrote:If you want to ditch your student visa and transition to full-time then you will need to set up a company in Japan which entails getting an accountant to advise you on the process.
This is a lengthy and somewhat pricey process. You have to get special inkans and pay the money to start the business. Setting up a company as well doesn't magically grant you a visa either though and its costly. Some short googling shows that if you don't have long term visa you have to appoint a director that is a Japanese citizen (which probably means paying them something). You also have to have  physical space for the office (paying rent somewhere) and 5,000,000 yen in investment in the business. That's just base requirements too, you probably have to submit certain documents about what kind of business you are running and the long term prospects of the business as well. Immigration doesn't want to grant visas if in 6 months you might be on the street.
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#9
Depending on what you're doing, you might be able to set up a kojin jigyo 個人事業 rather than a full 株式会社 company.
http://www.gaijin-web.com/starting-a-sma...ojin-jigyo
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#10
(2016-10-25, 1:20 am)six8ten Wrote: Depending on what you're doing, you might be able to set up a kojin jigyo 個人事業 rather than a full  株式会社 company.
http://www.gaijin-web.com/starting-a-sma...ojin-jigyo

He should consult with his accountant to help him decide. There are tax implications and also visa implications that need to be considered.
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#11
I think vix86's advice is spot on. You probably wouldn't be paying taxes as a contractor, but you would need to have enough at the end of the tax year to pay your US tax bill. I think this is something you need to do US side, not in Japan.

I have a friend who set up a software company in Japan and then employed himself to work at that company, he said it cost him about $5,000 - but he was not on a student visa.
Edited: 2016-10-27, 5:20 pm
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#12
(2016-10-20, 5:46 pm)PetaZetas Wrote: I need to become a contractor before signing the contract, I want to know if it's possible to become a contractor while being an student and what my status would be.

You should ask the company exactly what they mean by Independent contractor, what forms they need and if there are a range of options.  I've been a contractor in the US dozens of companies and they all have their own odd requirements that often don't make any sense.  Being in Japan likely adds to the list of things they could be talking about.  Starting by clarifying exactly what their requirements are seems the best way to proceed.
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#13
Hi, thanks for all the help. At the end I'm not taking the job since the situation was totally unclear and maybe I was doing something illegal without knowing.

In any case by becoming a contractor what I mean is "個人事業の開業" I think: https://www.nta.go.jp/tetsuzuki/shinsei/...pdf/04.pdf
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