Procrastination, Filing Japanese Taxes Edition

I finally got my Japanese taxes done. I am exhausted. I feel like I have accomplished a lot that I am ready to just retire and not do anything else anymore.

Man, it was such an ordeal.

woman holding her head
Photo by David Garrison on

Normally, I wouldn’t be stressing over my taxes so much, but this year, I had to do something different because I had a new income source from my rental property. I’ve been putting off writing about how I acquired it, but I will eventually write about it some day when I’m not so busy. I think I should write about it–but I think it needs a post of its own. It’s quite long, so I want to give it some proper thought and preparation.

And this is exactly why getting my taxes done this year was such a pain in the ass. I think because I wanted to do it “properly,” that waiting for perfection caused me to procrastinate so much I had to rush it in the end.

I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t breaking any rules when it came to filing my taxes–which I think is a fair enough assessment. I don’t want to get into trouble with the law and pay taxes properly if I need to–look at the Ghosn case right now.

So I thought I should get a tax accountant to look at my finances–after all, I don’t know how to go about filing taxes from rental income. I can do it with my regular employment income fine, but I am out of my league on this. Plus everything is in Japanese, so I want to make sure that I don’t make a mistake. But then I needed to find that perfect tax accountant who would help me. So that means I need to research. I went to the Hokkaido CPA association. They gave me a 30-minute consultation. Nothing got accomplished. It just solidified the need to really make sure I needed a professional to help me with this.

But at least I got this first step done.

A few months go by. I get busy with work and life.

November comes along. Holy crap, I need to get my butt in gear. I research again and read about paying taxes on rental income. Okay it’s too complicated. I need professional help.

December rolls by and now I am really panicking. Let me go to my local City Office and see if they can recommend an accountant. They don’t do that, but they told me I needed to go to the Sapporo one. They should be able to deal with it there. Also, I found out that the rules are changing for the new year, so I’m better off waiting until the new year. Plus, I have ’til March, so there’s time.

man in red crew neck sweatshirt photography
Photo by bruce mars on

Oh, good. They gave me permission to procrastinate. So I do–it was the New Year’s anyway so I might as well take it easy. Then I get sick and plans fall apart.

Two weeks into the new year, I call the same Hokkaido CPA association for another consultation. What I really want is to find a professional to do this for me–I don’t think I can do this on my own. I go in only to be told the same thing: I need to go to the Sapporo City Tax office suggested by my local one. But, I need to wait for my company wage earning statement before I can do anything else.

Crap. That means I have to wait until that comes in then. So I wait two weeks.


All my documents are ready, and I head to the City Tax Office, South Area. I get there and there are fifty people ahead of me. Fine, no problem. I can wait. And then I come to find out that I flipping forgot one of my files in the printer. I had scanned it earlier in the day so that I would have a copy at home to refer to. I forgot to take it out and put it back into my bag.

Great. So now I give up–they can’t help me because I needed that document. I trekked all the way here so I didn’t want to go home yet. So I go back to the receptionist and told them I wanted to consult with some one about this. The man was nice enough to answer my questions. He then showed me the forms I need to fill out–all in Japanese. I think I understood what he was saying enough to believe I could do it on my own.

Well, I got home and looked at the documents again. Everything the man had said disappeared from my mind. I completely forgot what he said.

At this point, I am done. I just give up.

I’l try again tomorrow and just have them do this for me.

I took an earlier train and got there at 9:10, right when they opened. Already, though,  about twenty people were in the room waiting to be seen. I talked to the receptionist and showed him the forms for the real estate part of the taxes. He told me to fill out the forms by myself before I saw one of the CPAs.


I told him I couldn’t.

He asked me why, and I said I didn’t know how to. It was my first time. He looked a little crestfallen then he told me wait by the tables. He went to get another person, this time a young lady to help me fill out the forms.

At this point, I was incredulous. I wanted to cry. I didn’t want to fill out the forms!

I went in that morning fully expecting someone else to do all this for me. I was just going to wait and then magically, it would be done.

Nope. I had to do it all by myself, but at least the lady who helped me out was very patient. She basically told me what to calculate and where in the forms to fill it in. It took a while to get going because my limited Japanese was unhelpful and I didn’t know what questions to ask. And she was also busy helping other people besides me. It took about an hour to do everything. When she told me we were done, I made sure to ask her that they will check everything, right? Because I didn’t know what I was doing and that I want to make sure that I did everything I could to the best of my abilities. I didn’t want to go to jail. And she said basically yes, if anything happened they would send me something in the mail. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu. I said yes, of course.

Then I went to wait at the line and pressed the wrong button at the number dispenser. There were two, one was blue and it said there were thirty other people waiting. The other was red, with three people waiting. I saw the kanji for building, tatemono, so I was sure this red one was mine. I was waiting for twenty minutes when I realized that maybe I made a mistake. I got up, asked one of the other receptionist if I had the right number. She said yes, so I thought I was okay.

It wasn’t.

When they called my number, it was clear that I didn’t have the materials. I was meant to wait with the other thirty people.

Luckily, they squeezed me into the other group. Through my mistake, I was able to skip thirty other people before me. But in my defense, I did ask the lady if I was in the right line.

When I got through, the lady who helped me basically inputed my info into the e-tax system. That was it. There were a couple times she needed help and the real tax professional came and guided her through it, as well. I don’t think she was a pro. She was just there for data entry, I think. Which meant I could have done all this by myself–at home, in the comfort of my living room.

But I needed to know how to calculate all this real estate income and where to fill it in.

So the moral of this very long story is that I cannot procrastinate and wait for perfection if I want anything done. I just need to do it and deal with the consequences when it comes up. In the end, I rushed everything and wasn’t even sure if I did it correctly.


Next time, though, I really want to get a tax professional to do everything for me–and I’ll do it even earlier and not wait so long.

Now on to my US taxes. Sigh.

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