Property Taxes in Japan

Information about the taxes that must be paid when buying and selling property in Japan…

Property Tax

Property tax (Kotei shisan zei) is raised at a municipal and prefectural level. Owners of land, housing and other types of tangible and depreciable business assets must pay a fixed asset property tax. Each prefecture decides the amount of municipal tax to be paid - this is usually calculated on the assessed value of the land or building. The rate for fixed asset property tax is 1.4 percent with a further municipal city planning tax of 0.3 percent due on some properties.

Where the land is used for residential purposes, one third of the assessed value is excluded from tax. Plots of land of less than 200 square metres are taxed at a lower rate than larger land plots. If the assessed value of the land is less than 300,000 yen, or 200,000 yen in the case of a house, no fixed asset tax is due.

Property tax is levied on 1 January each year, and bills are sent out between April and June. Payment can be made at a bank, post office or convenience store.

Property Acquisition Tax

This is a one-off tax payable on the purchase of a property. It is levied at prefectural government level. The rate is four percent of the value of the property and should be paid at the local tax office.

Inheritance and Gift Tax

Inheritance tax is payable on any property received as a bequest and should be declared within ten months of the inheritance. Gift tax must be paid on any property received as a gift. It should be declared between 1 February and 15 March of the following year.

Stamp Duty

In Japan stamp duty (Inshi zei) is paid by the vendor of a property. It is levied on written contracts and other legal documents and is paid in the form of a fiscal/revenue stamp. The stamps needed for stamp duty can be purchased from post offices. Stamp duty on documents can also be paid using the following methods:

  1. Take the document to the tax office and pay for it there.
  2. Where documents are produced every month or mass-produced at a certain time, the number of documents can be declared and paid for using an assigned form.
  3. Use a bank deposit book to pay for a year from 1 April to 31 March. A penalty tax is not charged.

A penalty tax is charged when the stamp duty is not paid on the day on which a document is produced. Usually the penalty is three times the stamp duty owed (minimum tax is 1,000 yen).