Report: Japan To Tax Foreign Downloads Starting Next Year

Report: Japan To Tax Foreign Downloads Starting Next Year

Physical goods imported into Japan are taxed. And, according to the Japanese media, starting in 2015, foreign downloads will be as well.

Content such as digital music, ebooks, apps and games downloaded from foreign servers will levied with a consumption tax, reports Nikkei.

Going on info from government sources, Asahi, one of the largest papers in the country,explains that individuals in Japan who buy digital content from can get their content at a discount, because it’s currently not taxed. Downloads, however, sold through domestic Japanese servers are taxed.

Thus, this has given foreign-based retailers an advantage — something about which Japanese vendors have complained. And next year, that means taxes for digital foreign goods.

海外発ネット配信に消費税課税 15年度にも 登録義務付け [Nikkei] 海外発ネット配信への消費課税、15年度にも開始へ=政府筋 [Asahi]

Picture: sunabesyou@Shutterstock


  • Oh man, I would so totally believe if this happened to Australians…..



        • We don’t though do we? We just get overcharged for them. When they ACTUALLY tax us for them as well we’ll pay $150 for the latest call of duty 6 months after release when its $20 in america

          • I’ve been trying to find an official source to confirm/deny this, but it’s pretty ambiguous. From what I understand, each company gets to decide how much they want to charge in different regions and that’s why it’s so expensive. For example, Adobe Photoshop is twice as much (digitally) in Australia as it is in America – more than could be taken up by tax. I was under the opposite impression to you, but I may well be wrong.

          • Gst is supposed to stop at the border as I understand it since governments can’t tax foreign businesses unless they work here rather than just sell their products

          • Yeah, but how are you going to get an American/Chinese/British company to pay their taxes to the Australian government if they don’t have a physical presence in Australia? That is the problem. If they sell through physical stores with an ABN, easy. Otherwise Australia (or any country I. The same position) doesn’t have any bargaining chips. So good luck Japan and Italy and Australia, it is never going to change anything.

  • On the plus side I guess this means Japanese developers might be a little better and be able to provide us with better, cheaper games.

    On the down side, it’s only a matter of time before our government decides to follow suit…

    • Umm… how would it benefit Jp Devs?

      It’s a digital tax on products. The only one who gets this slice of the pie is the government.

      Oh and of course the supposed “gains” by the “local markets” by “equalising” the prices…. yeah try saying that with a straight face >.>

      • Ok, maybe it won’t help local devs greatly, but it should at least boost Japanese local retail sales… And maybe it will make a few people think twice about importing a US version of COD and instead buy some FF or something.

        • People already don’t play COD in Japan. Sales there are less than sales in Canada, even though Japan has nearly four times the population.

  • I swear, it’s like the people who make these policies actually have no idea how the internet actually works……

  • So will it be up to the seller to collect the tax and remit back to the Japanese government?

  • Hah. I imagine Japan’s access to foreign hosted online stores is about to be reduced. Unless they have a very clear and simple taxation process, nobody will bother trying to implement it in their systems, especially the smaller online businesses.

    America has been through various iterations of digital taxation and one of the biggest problems is the issue of multiple taxations. That is, if you buy a product in one state from a store in another from a site hosted in yet another state, do you get taxed three times or once? There are probably going to be similar occurrences if Japan is already taxing nationally hosted digital stores.

    I’m no accountant, but trying to work out the logistics of fair taxation on digital goods that “pass through” any number of foreign servers with their own laws is going to be a bit of a nightmare. It’s shipping routes all over again, except on the digital seas.

  • So how in the world is this going to work? It requires big foreign websites to set up an agreement with Japan to claim tax on sales, right? So eg if I buy off the Australian PSN on my PS3 in Japan, Sony Australia will claim the money on behalf of the Japanese Government? I can’t imagine this is something that can be enforced at all… This seems like a giant wank to appease businesses, I can’t imagine many people actually do this.

  • Did people miss this part:
    Downloads, however, sold through domestic Japanese servers are taxed.

    So they are just taxing ALL digital content so the foreign stores don’t have the advantage anymore.

  • It would suck to be in a country where your government have run the country into the ground through incompetence and then try to get the money back with illegitimate taxes

    oh wait!

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