photo by Brendan Wood
It’s been nearly one year since the spread of corona virus was recognized for the first time in China. As the world economy has slumped, many people in Japan have lost their jobs or been forced to temporarily close their businesses. The Japanese government has been implementing measures to recover Japanese economy, though they haven’t produced a result yet. As this corona crisis is deteriorating financial status of people living in Japan, many people are now having trouble to pay everyday expenses. To solve this issue, power companies and local governments are implementing postponements of payments for utility and tax bills.
About payment postponement of public utility and social insurance bills
In April when the spread of the corona virus was accelerating, the Japanese government made a request each local government and power company to allow payment moratorium. Phone companies and insurance companies have already closed payment moratorium period in May or September, though, gas and electricity companies still accept applications for postponement of payment as at October, and local governments also accepts application for postponement of tax payments and pension installments. However, the conditions vary by each company or local government, inquire the power company you have contracted with, or the local government of your area for availability.
Power companies such as TEPCO, Chuden and KEPCO takes measures to postpone due dates of monthly bills. People who have difficulties to pay power bills on time due to the corona crisis are allowed to postpone the payment for September for 2 months, and for October for one month. Application should be made over the phone with your local power company branch office.
Same as electricity companies, some gas companies are offering postponement of gas bill payment. Application must be directly made with your gas company: you need to explain that you have a difficulty to pay gas bill due to the corona crisis. Gas supply is often operated by major electricity companies (e.g. KEPCO, Chuden), therefore if your gas supplier and electricity supplier are the same, you can apply for postponement of payment at the same time. Unlike electricity, the details of postponement vary depending on each supplier. If you have a gas contract with any of following companies, inquire them if they are offering postponement of bill payment.
People who are not eligible for employees’ pension (e.g. students, sole proprietors) are enrolled to National Pension. Your monthly contribution amounts to 16,540 yen if you pay it in full. But if you have a difficulty to pay monthly contribution of National Pension you may be able to have exemption of payment or special postponement of payment for students. An application for such exemption and postponement can be made at your local municipal office or branch office of the Japan Pension Service. Also, you need to prove that your income in last year and estimated income for this fiscal year have declined, to pass an assessment. This treatment can be applied retroactively for the past contributions you have already paid.
- Your income decreased in February 2020 or after
- Considering the decrease in income in February 2020 or after, your expected income for this year will meet the current condition to be exempt from contribution payment of National Pension.
- Exemption: For FY2019 (Feb 2020 – Jun 2020), for FY2020 (Jul 2020 – Jun 2021)
- Special postponement for student: For FY2019 (Feb 2020 – Mar 2020), for FY2020 (Apr 2020 – Mar 2021)
- Application form for exemption/postponement of payment (other than student)
- Application form for special postponement of payment for student (student only)
- Declaration of income form
- Copy of student’s ID (student only)
Exemption rate for exemption/postponement of payment (for single person)
- 570,000 yen or less: 100%
- 780,000 yen + deduction amount such as social insurance: 75%
- 1,118,000 yen + deduction amount such as social insurance: 50%
- 1,58,000 yen + deduction amount such as social insurance: 25%
National Health Insurance
Same as National Pension, you may be eligible for reduction or exemption of contribution payment according to your income. Monthly contribution of National Health Insurance is calculated based on your income for previous year, therefore monthly payment of contribution can be a heavy burden for some people. If you have a financial difficulty to pay monthly contribution, send an application form to your local municipal office to apply for exemption or reduction.
- The person who had financially supported the family died or become seriously ill or injured due to coronavirus infection
- Expected of the person who financially supports the family had a decrease in expected income (profit from business, real estate property, woodland, or salary), and you also meet the following A -C.
- Any type of income of the person who financially supports the family decreased by 30% or more
- Incomes of the person who financially supports the family for both year of 2018 and 2019 were less than 10 million or less
- The sum of “other income” and “business income which decreased by less than 30%” is no greater than 4 million yen.
Contributions which are due between 1 February 2020 – 31 March 2021
- Application form (download from website of municipality office, or request to send)
- Applicant’s ID with photo (driver license, personal identity number card, passport, etc.)
- Proof of income decrease of the person who financially support the family due to the coronavirus crisis (pay slip, bank book, etc.)
When income for 2018 and 2019 were:
- 3 million yen or less: 100%
- 4 million yen or less: 80%
- 5.5 million yen or less: 60%
- 7.5 million yen or less: 40%
- 10 million yen or less: 20%
Local tax (e.g. resident tax)
In Japan, employees hardly have to sort out their local tax by themselves as their companies deduct it from their monthly salaries. However, some casual workers and part timers may have to make payment for their local tax because their employees don’t deduct it from their wages. If you fall in the latter and have difficulty to pay local tax due to the coronavirus crisis, you may be eligible to postpone your tax payment for up to one year. Application can be made at your local municipality office.
- A person whose income from February 2020 for any period of time (1 month or longer) declined by 20% or greater compared to the same period in the previous year.
- A person temporarily has a financial difficulty to pay local tax.
Tax which is due from 1 February 2020 to 1 February 2021
- Application form (each local government has their own format)
- Documents that proves the decrease in income (e.g. pay slip, bank book, etc.)
- Documents that proves you an applicant temporarily has a financial difficulty to pay local tax (e.g. bank book, asset statement, list of assets and income statement, etc.)
This corona crisis has significantly affected the Japanese economy, as well as so many Japanese citizens and foreign residents. Many people lost their job or job opportunities all of a sudden. The hardest part is that they still have to pay for utilities and social insurance. To rescue those who are in a difficult time, power companies and local governments are offering postponement of payments. If you have not applied for these special arrangements, contact your utility companies and municipal office as soon as possible.