Tax is a joke

At least that’s what TV Asahi makes you think when you watch its news programs. Here are some choice still frames from their broadcasts this week.

This woman brought her items to the cashier at a convenience store and the clerk started to ring her up just before the the stroke of midnight on October 1, so she got a receipt dated October 1, but was still charged the old consumption tax rate of 8 percent.

She says she’s going to keep the receipt.

The restaurant chain Sushiro wasn’t able to charge anyone consumption tax in 197 branches. This man in Fukuoka was proud to show TV Asahi his receipt, which says that he didn’t pay any consumption tax for his meal.

“How many plates of sushi did you eat?” the reporter asks. 45 plates, the man laughs. What a steal. Quite literally.

This group of friends from Osaka ordered a round of beers past midnight, which meant that the new tax rate would be charged on those beers. They taste like a heavier tax burden, unfortunately.

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For some reason, the Japanese government decided to keep the 8 percent rate for takeaways at restaurants, but apply the new rate if you eat the food inside the ‘eat-in’ areas of convenience stores. Which tax rate applies to you depends on an honors system. So there are now people (mostly balding men, according to TV Asahi) called segi-man (i.e. men of justice) who have way too much time on their hands lurk around in convenience stores calling out on people who tell the store clerks that they’re going to take their bentos home, but they end up eating them anyway inside the store.

So what happens when these men of justice appear at your friendly neighborhood FamilyMart? Zerishi Dotcom News has the answer:

自己申告をせずに、飲食している人を見掛けた第三者が、従業員に報告したケースにはどう対応するのでしょうか。ファミリーマートは「報告を受けても証拠を把握することが難しく、本人が申告しないのであれば、お声掛けしない」、ローソンも「現時点では、自己申告に基づくので、報告を受けて何かするということは想定していない」と説明します。つまり公平を期そうと勇気を持って報告したとしても、「なかったこと」にされてしまう可能性が高いと言えます。

What happens when someone sees a customer who consumes the food and drink he bought inside the store without declaring that he would do so for tax purposes, and reports it to an employee? FamilyMart said that it would be difficult ascertain the evidence even when someone who isn’t the customer himself reports it, and that the store will not say anything if the customer doesn’t declare for himself how he’s going to consume the food and drink. Lawson similarly said that currently, consumption tax is calculated based on a self-declaration system, and did not envision for situations where they would do anything after receiving a report from a third party. In other words, even if one bravely reports to the store in pursuit of fairness about the consumption tax, there is a high possibility that the store will overlook what happened.