Overview of Services

Tax Consulting

SBC will advise regarding the tax-efficient compensation of expat employees, including the proper structuring of company housing, salary payments, school fees, etc.

Accounting

SBC provides accounting services such as bookkeeping, bank account management, payment, and preparation of various reports.

Payroll

SBC are able to provide a comprehensive payroll service for any number of employees.

Recent Updates

Our latest news

Immigration : Change in re-entry rule

From 14th January 2021 the re-entry rule has changed.

“From January 14, 2021, all Japanese nationals and foreign nationals with status of residence are newly required to pledge to provide the location data to the health centers or other institutions if requested. They are required to sign the Written Pledge (PDF) when entering Japan. In case of violation, they may be subject to detention under Quarantine Act and the following measures may apply; (1) For Japanese nationals, names and other information that contribute to preventing the spread of infection may be made public. (2) For foreign nationals with the status of residence, names, nationalities, and other information that contribute to preventing the spread of infection may be made public. They may also be subject to the revocation of status of residence and procedures for deportation under Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law. Those who do not submit the “Written Pledge” are requested to stay at a location designated by the Chief of the Quarantine Station (Only at the accommodations booked by the quarantine office) for 14 days.”

https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html#section2

Re-entrants are required to submit the pledge upon arrival.

It is a requirement that the LINE application is installed on a smart phone which is available only in Japanese.

For the reports re-entrants need to provide their flight schedules and the following;

New instruction to re-entrants:

Using the LINE application report your health condition every morning for 14 days as follows:

(failure to do this, or failure to obey the quarantine rules could lead to deportation and loss of residence status).

Details required:

  1. Your daily temperature.
  2. If you have a fever of over 37.5 degree C (99.5 degree F).
  3. If you have cough, sore-throat or fever.
Employee Retirement Benefits

With the unemployment rate at its lowest point for two decades, the Japanese employment market remains a model for a lot of countries. Whilst a 2.8% unemployment rate is excellent, it creates a challenge for employers, who face tough competition in the employment market to attract and retain talents. This challenge is further toughened for foreign owned companies entering the Japanese market who often find difficulty attracting and retaining a local workforce.

A recent study by the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training shows that the younger generation employees now entering the labour market increasingly favour life-long employment, and one company careers (source: Bloomberg).

This raises the question of the type of employee benefit which foreign companies would give to their employees. Despite the differences in practice which can be found between industries, one of the employer’s main concerns is appealing to current and future employees.

Retirement Allowance benefits are in the spot-light. Whilst large international groups offer benefits tailored to their own needs; foreign owed small and mid-size Japanese companies have changed their focus, switching from Defined Benefit Schemes (DB) to Defined Contribution Schemes (DC).

Introduced 15 years ago in Japan, DC Schemes have seen their popularity growing, primarily as a means of alleviating the future liabilities found with DB schemes.

With DC Schemes, employee’s retirement contributions are invested in the markets, and it has been a way for companies to reduce their pension liabilities, whilst contributions are tax deductible.

However, the low cap on annual contributions, and the market risk of the scheme to deliver negative returns, has lead employers in industries with highly qualified employees, such as the high technology and pharmaceutical sectors, to focus the retirement benefits they offer on a controlled type of DB Scheme utilising Japanese Life-Insurance products to provide the defined benefit for the employee, whilst maintaining full budgetary control of the cost side.

This guarantees for the employee a defined Retirement Allowance amount, proving to be a key factor in attracting Japanese talent to work for a foreign owned company rather than their Japanese competitors.

The Retirement Allowance Benefit the employee receives attracts a very favourable rate of taxation for the employee.

Thus, the use of Japanese Corporate Life Insurance to provide DB Schemes, give employers an important advantage in the labour market place, with the added benefit that contributions to Corporate Life Insurance policies are deductible for Japanese Corporate Income Tax purposes.

Pound stabilises ahead of UK sales figures

After careening lower on Tuesday the pound was able to stabilise ahead of the publication of the UK’s latest retail sales figures.

GBP/EUR recovered from €1.1293 to €1.1321, GBP/USD fluctuated between $1.3012 and $1.3033, GBP/AUD dropped to a new low of AU$1.6299, GBP/NZD advanced from NZ$1.7662 to N$1.7763 and GBP/CAD recovered from C$1.6399 to C$1.6444.

What’s been happening?
Wednesday was a slow news day for the UK, with a lack of any influential data releases giving the pound the chance to stabilise after falling so dramatically on the back of the UK’s latest inflation stats.
While Sterling extended losses against the Australian and Canadian dollars, it held firm against the US dollar and clawed back some ground against the euro.
The GBP/EUR exchange rate advanced 0.3% on the day’s opening levels as the Eurozone’s construction report detailed a decline in output.
The euro was also feeling the strain ahead of today’s European Central Bank (ECB) interest rate decision.
Meanwhile, the US dollar found a little support in the form of outperforming domestic housing data.
With both housing starts and building permits figures smashing forecasts, the US dollar was able to creep higher against the euro. Higher-risk currencies still held the higher ground against USD however as renewed concerns about Donald Trump’s presidency and faltering Fed interest rate hike expectations kept the North American currency pressured.

What’s coming up?
We could be in for a bit of a roller-coaster ride today in terms of currency movement, with the UK set to publish its latest retail sales figures and the European Central Bank (ECB) scheduled to deliver its interest rate decision.
Positive consumer spending figures for the UK could help Sterling recoup some of this week’s losses, while a surprising decline in sales has the potential to send GBP exchange rates to new lows.
Meanwhile, a dovish tone from European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi is likely to leave the euro struggling heading into the weekend.
Draghi is due to speak this afternoon and it is hoped that he will offer some insight into the ECB’s future policy plans.
Hints that the central bank is close to winding down its quantitative easing programme would be euro-supportive, while indications that policymakers are willing to continue their current wait-and-see approach for the next few months would be euro-negative.
The only US news to be aware of is the nation’s initial jobless and continuing claims figures.

Japanese Pension Refund for Foreigners

A recurring question for foreign workers in Japan is the question of the Japanese Pension contributions.

Contribution to the Japan Pension Service, along with Social Security contributions and Labour Insurance contributions, are compulsory for anyone working in Japan and those contributions are directly collected and paid by the employer.

For those who are in Japan for a determined period, or who plan not to retire in Japan, then the question of the fate of their contributions to the Japanese national pension system often remains unclear once they decide to leave Japan.

Japan has signed over the years several social security agreements with different countries to avoid for a foreign national to have to contribute in both Japan and his own country, and to totalize period of employment in both Japan and the other country. As of February 2017, those countries are Germany, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, United States, Belgium, France, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain, Ireland, Brazil, Switzerland, Hungary, India. In addition, agreement have been signed and are in the process of being implemented with Italy, Luxembourg, Philippines, Slovak Republic.

For a foreign passport holder after having been employed and contributing to the Japanese public pension for more than 6 months the choice would be to either:

          Leave pension contributions in Japan. This can leave a door open if the foreigner plans on returning to work in Japan. For a passport holder of one of the above-mentioned countries, those contributions would then count under the conditions determined by the social security agreement.

          Claim for a Lump-Sum Withdrawal Payment under certain conditions. This would close the door to application of any other Japanese benefits.

On leaving Japan permanently, it is required to both file a tax return before leaving and settle tax amounts due, or appoint a Tax Representative.

To make the claim for the Japanese Pension Contributions it is advisable to appoint a Tax Representative, who can also make the Pension refund application.

The Pension refund will have 20% withholding income tax deduction taken before the balance is transferred overseas, and the Tax Representative can then file an annual tax return the following year to claim back the 20% tax deducted and remit this to the leavers overseas bank account.

The amount of the Lump-Sum Withdrawal Payment varies depending on the length of the contribution period with a limit of 36 months. For a foreigner having worked in Japan for more than 36 months the payment will be calculated up to 36 months and the rest of the period of contributions will be lost. It cannot be taken account in the case of a return to employment and contribution to the Japan Pension Service in the future and the benefits would then restart from zero.