Japan JCT guide for digital businesses

Is your product taxable in Japan? Get up-to-date rates, registration thresholds, and more from Anrok’s team of tax experts.

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Tax rate
JPY 10,000,000 (B2C)

Taxable transactions

B2C sales


Digital products
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Table of contents

Are digital products taxable in Japan?

Japan has a 10% consumption tax called JCT that applies to nonresident businesses selling digital products and services to Japanese consumers.

Nonresident businesses with over JPY 10 million in Japanese sales per year are required to register and collect JCT on B2C transactions. However, for B2B transactions, the business customer is responsible for self-assessing JCT under the reverse charge mechanism. Once registered, the nonresident business must collect 10% JCT on all B2C sales of digital products and remit this to the Japanese tax authorities. Nonresident businesses must comply with JCT registration, collection, reporting and remittance obligations to legally supply digital products in Japan. Understanding these requirements is key for nonresidents selling into the Japanese market.

Determining if your product is taxable in Japan

To determine whether JCT applies to the sale of your digital product or service, there are three main factors to consider:

  1. Customer's location: You need to identify the location of your customer, as tax regulations vary by country. Common pieces of evidence for customer location determination include billing address, customer account address, and credit card country.
  2. Taxability of your product: Your digital product or service needs to qualify as a digital good or service for JCT purposes. This typically means that it is delivered electronically over the Internet or an electronic network, is automated, relies on technology, and is not a physical good.
  3. Customer’s tax registration status: If you sell to other businesses located in Japan, you should collect and validate their tax registration numbers (tax IDs). In Japan, sellers are not responsible for JCT on B2B transactions with the proper documentation, and the responsibility of accounting for tax is transferred to the buyer through a reverse charge mechanism.

Getting JCT compliant in Japan

To ensure compliance with JCT regulations, here are the general steps that a nonresident company selling software or other digital products should take:

  1. Collect customer addresses and tax IDs: Even if you are not registered for JCT, collecting customer tax IDs can save you expenses in the future. This step can be taken right away for customers outside the US.
  2. Understand your JCT obligations: Determine where you have JCT obligations by cross-checking customer locations and the product taxability and registration thresholds in each country. Each country has its own registration threshold, which triggers the requirement to register.
  3. Monitor JCT exposure and register in exposed jurisdictions: If your sales reach the registration threshold in Japan, you are required to register for tax purposes. Each country has its own processes for registration.
  4. Apply JCT where necessary: Identify transactions that require tax collection and apply the correct rates to those invoices. Though Japan utilizes the reverse charge mechanism for B2B transactions, you should still validate tax IDs for B2B transactions to confirm the customer’s status, but charge tax if a valid tax ID is not provided.
  5. File JCT returns, make payments, and keep records: Periodically file tax returns with the jurisdictions in which you sell, reporting the tax collected and remitted. Be prepared for foreign exchange conversions and cross-border payments in various currencies. Many countries also have a legal requirement to keep tax records for a certain period of time.

Risks of delaying compliance

Delaying tax compliance can expose your business to various risks:

  • Audits: As tax legislation for digital goods is relatively new, audits for international sellers are increasing. Facing an audit for which you are not prepared can result in fees and penalties that can significantly impact your business.
  • Paying out of pocket: Regardless of whether your customers pay tax, you are responsible for the tax on the sales you make. If you are audited or register late, you may have to pay the tax out of pocket, along with penalties and fees.
  • Reputational risk: When expanding internationally, your compliance with tax rules may be questioned by potential business partners or customers. Failure to comply with tax regulations can harm your reputation and even lead to blocked business opportunities.

To learn more about tax rules and regulations for nonresident businesses around the world, explore Anrok’s VAT index for digital products.

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