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Accountant in Korea

In the United States, people can prepare tax returns without the need of a license. In which case an EA (Enrolled Agent) and a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) are used to file for sole proprietors and corporate income tax returns, as well as some litigation cases for tax returns at a court.

In Korea, there exists a CTA (Certified Tax Accountant) and a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) for tax returns and only a CPA is qualified to engage in a financial audit. Any corporation with more than 300 million won in sales revenue will be required to enlist a CTA to file a tax return, and a corporation(주식회사) with more than 10 million USD in sales revenue is required to file a financial audit report by law.

I have heard that the tax accounting and audit service market is already a “buyer’s market” due to the fact that around 600 CTAs and 900 CPAs are receiving their business licenses each year. Therefore, finding a CTA (세무회계사무소, 세무법인) or a CPA (세무회계사무소, 세무법인) in Korea is as easy as spotting a church.

I think it is important to find an accountant who has a lot of experience and a positive reputation. That is not to say that there is a lack of good workers in the field of bookkeeping and taxation, but it is good to find someone with the overall experience to cover office functions like retirement funds, digital certificates, payroll schedules, and major insurance and corporate secretarial areas such as proper business license acquisition, and standard employment contract proposals (including housekeeping issues). Otherwise expats may need to hire a CTA for taxes, a CPA for bookkeeping, a lawyer for acquiring various business licenses and visas, a patent lawyer for business trademarks, a labor lawyer for HR issues, and an insurance broker for business risk management.

Sometimes I wonder if all the aforementioned information is immediately necessary when in the initial stages of setting up an entity, and this information may not be easily accessible. You should consult the Chamber of Commerce of your country for more information about this service as well as information about setting up your corporation (for those of you getting started). Hiring an experienced accountant for your business will be more cost-effective than even hiring a lawyer from a big law firm.

If you have any questions on the above, please send me an email to

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