Starting a small business in a foreign country can sometimes sound like a pain. That being said, whether you are trying to run a restaurant, small language school, or simply making a bit of cash as a freelancer, you will be happy to learn that there is an extremely simple form of business you can use.
It is called kojin jigyo (個人事業), or sole propritorship as it could be translated in English. You can declare yourself as a kojin jigyo anytime, for free, and with no limitations of revenue.
What are the advantages of being a kojin jigyo?
-You can make any amount of money, and your losses can be deducted from your revenues when you do your tax declarations.
-All you need to do then is to keep track of your revenues and expenses and declare them in your kakutei shinkoku once a year between February and March (blue form instead of white).
For these reasons, it is a very common form of business for restaurants, language schools, import/export companies and people working as freelancers or consultants. The only risk to be a kojin jigyo is that your liability is unlimited, but if you are in control of your expenses, that shouldn’t be a problem.
How do I declare myself as a kojin jigyo?
It is extremely simple! Just fill this form, print it out and send it to your closest tax office (find the complete list here). If you are struggling with Japanese, just let me know and I’ll give you a hand.
Once this is done, just make sure you keep all your payments on record, in case someone comes to ask.
A great thing about kojin jigyo is that your expenses, if relevant to your business to an extent, can be deducted from your revenues, which potentially means it can help you pay less in taxes. For example, say you buy a new laptop. Whatever business to do you will probably need to be using a computer at some point. Well, you can register this purchase as a business expense, even if you mostly use that laptot to surf on random sites and play games! This also works for things like transports (you need to go out and see clients, don’t you?) or even the coffee you drink if you work as a private teacher.
Of course, if your business takes off, that you start paying employees and want to limit your liability, you will need to incorporate yourself at some point and start a K.K (株式会社 – kabushiki kaisha).
That said, the kojin jigyo is a great starting point and is still relevant to a number of not-that-small businesses. This is the form of business I am personally using, and it is also the one of virtually any teacher, translator, consultant or freelancer that I know.
Once again, if you need help to sort things out, especially with Japanese forms and terms, just contact me or leave a comment here and I will be more than happy to assist you!