Working in Taiwan?
Business Etiquette and Taxes in Taiwan
Etiquette for Business and Workplace
As a general rule, you can expect your Taiwanese coworkers and superiors to be fairly knowledgeable on usual Western forms of etiquette and conducting business, due to the openness of Taiwan’s economy to foreign trade and investment. The use of eye contact and handshakes, for example, will be a lot like what you may be used from any Westernized nation. You should, however, wait for instructions to be made, rather than introducing yourself.
The Asian concept of face is also an aspect of Taiwanese culture — you are unlikely to see outbursts of emotion, especially regarding negative ones. At the workplace, it is particularly important not to be too loud or lose control of your emotions — subtlety is key.
Below is a list of some other important factors to keep in mind:
- Your workplace attire should be conservative and professional, but you will not have to dress particularly smart.
- Official titles are highly valued in Taiwan, so make sure to address your counterpart with any titles they might have.
- Do not openly discuss money.
- Hierarchy is an important factor in the Taiwanese workplace, and knowing your place is expected of you.
- Gifts are very welcome, even in a business setting.
- Knowing and pronouncing your coworkers’ names correctly is key. Remember that the family name precedes the given name in Taiwan.
- Try to always be punctual, as being late is highly offensive to your counterpart.
Expat Taxation — There’s Plenty of Information Available
Expats with limited knowledge of Mandarin or Taiwanese definitely profit from the fact that nearly all government agencies provide key information in English. This is obviously particularly important in regard to complicated processes, such as filing your taxes. The National Tax Administration in Kaohsiung, for example, provides answers to all the main questions foreigners in Taiwan may have on tax-related issues. Furthermore, the excellent Handbook for Foreign Spouses in Taiwan, provided by the National Immigration Agency, offers useful info on the same matters.
If you are regarded as a fiscal resident — i.e. staying in Taiwan for at least 183 days in a taxable year — you will be fully taxed under Taiwan’s system of progressive tax rates (up to 45% for high earners). Taiwan is party to a number of double taxation treaties — due to the complicated nature of conducting official foreign relations with Taiwan, the list of treaty partners is somewhat limited, though. For shorter stays, you will only be taxed on your income from local sources.
The taxable year in Taiwan follows the calendar year (1 January to 31 December). Fiscal residents have to file their annual tax return by 31 May, latest.
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