According to a law passed in 1994 all foreigners who pay into the Japanese pension system but then leave the country are eligible for a partial refund. Although we are eligible for this refund we must follow the following steps to actually receive this money.
When you get your pension refunded, 20% of it is taken by the Japanese Government as tax. However, you are eligible to get this 20% back as well. The process described below is for both the pension and tax refund.
Steps to take before you leave Japan
- Fill out a claim form for the lump sum withdrawal payments and bring it with you to your home country.
- Find someone to be your tax representative. This person can be a friend or co-worker.
- Officially designate them as your tax representative by filling out a Declaration Naming a Person to Administer the Taxpayer’s Tax Affairs (所得税・消費税の納税管理人の届出書) and submit it to your local tax office.
When you leave Japan
Be sure to pack
- Pension book and your claim form
- Contact info for:
- Tax Representative
- Contracting Organizations
Note: 1. Remember to turn in your gaikokujin card at the airport! 2. You must turn in a "moving-out notification" to your local city office. If not, you won't be able to claim your pension for a whole year. Failing to do so could also render you being liable to pay taxes.
When you get home
- Mail your claim form for the lump sum withdrawal payment to:
Social Insurance Operation Center
Takaido-nishi 3-5-24, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 168-8505
(〒168-8505東京都杉並区高井戸西 3丁目 5番 24号社会保険業務センター)Packet should contain:
- Pension book
- Copy of Passport (showing DOB, country, signature, visa and date of departure from Japan)
- A certified bank stamp OR all pertinent bank information for your HOME COUNTRY BANK
- Wait until you receive a Notice of Lump Sum Withdrawal Payments (支給決定通知書) as a receipt for your money. Make a copy of this form for your records. At this point you will have received your refund in your home country’s bank account. The next steps are for getting the last 20% that was withheld as tax.
- Mail the ORIGINAL Notice of Lump Sum withdrawal Payments to your Tax representative and have them fill out a tax return (確定申告書)for you .
- Note: The tax return form changes every year so there is no use in uploading one as it will likely be outdated.
- Instruct them to have your remaining 20% deposited into their account (it must be deposited into a Japanese bank account).
- Have your Tax Rep deposit the money in your account (Money Order, Go Lloyds, etc.)
- Express deep and profound gratitude to your tax rep for helping you with this arduous process.
The Pension Book (年金手帳) is a small book that you should receive shortly after arriving in Japan. It should be either orange or blue, and the front should have four kanji that read 年金手帳 (Nenkin Techou). When it comes time for you to apply for your pension refund, you will need to send it in with your application. If your school or contracting organization is holding onto this for you be sure to get this from them before you leave the country.
Lost Pension Book
Although you would think they would have electronic records backing up something as important as your pension, it appears that under no circumstances can you get your pension refunded without this little blue book. If you do misplace your pension book, you can apply to any regional office of the Social Insurance Agency (社会保険事務所) and get a replacement book.