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Japan taxes foreign e-books, games, apps 8% from October 2015

  • VAT
  • 20 December 2014 | Richard Asquith

Japan taxes foreign e-books, games, apps 8% from October 2015

Japan is bringing forward proposals to subject sales by non-resident providers of electronic services to consumers to the 8% Consumption Tax from 1 October 2015. The move comes following pressure by local providers who are penalised by being subject to the tax on domestic sales.

It is estimated that the measure will raise ¥3.2 bilion per annum – approximately €22 million.

The proposals will bring into Japan’s VAT (Consumption Tax) net app’s, e-books, streaming or downloads of games, music and film sold by platforms outside of Japan.

Consumption tax registrations and returns

Foreign digital services retailers are currently exempt from the indirect tax. But Japan has been exploring electronic services VAT for some time. In particular, the government wishes to level the field for local providers who must charge the 8% tax. The new measure will require foreign suppliers to register with the Japanese authorities and submit periodic Japanese returns.

The proposal will be confirmed in the 2015 budget, to be presented in the forthcoming weeks.


VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, helping businesses understand their compliance obligations as they grow globally. He is part of the European leadership team which this year won International Tax Review's Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard qualified as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.