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Essential Tips for Filing Comprehensive Income Tax Returns as a Foreigner in Korea

Filing taxes in a foreign country can be a daunting task, especially if you are not fluent in the local language or unfamiliar with the tax laws. If you're a foreigner residing in Korea, understanding the comprehensive income tax system is crucial to ensure compliance and possibly benefit from deductions and exemptions. Here are some valuable tips to help you navigate the process:

1. Understand Your Tax Resident Status

First and foremost, determine whether you are considered a resident or non-resident for tax purposes. In Korea, you are considered a resident if you have lived in the country for 183 days or more in a fiscal year. Tax residents are taxed on their worldwide income, whereas non-residents are only taxed on income sourced in Korea.

2. Know the Key Dates

The tax year in Korea runs from January 1 to December 31. The filing period for comprehensive income tax returns is typically from May 1 to May 31 of the following year. Mark these dates in your calendar to avoid penalties for late filing.

3. Gather Necessary Documents

Before you begin the filing process, ensure you have all necessary documents, including:

  • Identification (ARC - Alien Registration Card)

  • Proof of income (such as salary slips and bank statements)

  • Documents for any deductions (e.g., education expenses, medical bills)

  • Information on foreign bank accounts if applicable

4. Utilize the Foreigner Tax Deduction

As a foreigner, you may be eligible for specific deductions that can reduce your taxable income. For example, certain expenses related to relocation, travel, and education for your children might qualify. Check the latest guidelines from the National Tax Service or consult with a tax professional.

5. Consider Professional Help

If you find the process overwhelming, consider seeking help from a tax professional who specializes in expatriate tax services. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation, ensuring that your tax returns are accurately filed and optimized for any potential benefits.

6. Use Online Resources

The National Tax Service of Korea offers resources in English, including a comprehensive guide and an online filing system. These tools are designed to help foreigners understand their tax obligations and file their returns electronically.

7. Check Double Taxation Agreements

Korea has double taxation agreements with many countries, which means you might not have to pay tax on the same income in both Korea and your home country. Review the agreements applicable to your situation to avoid double taxation.

8. Stay Updated on Tax Laws

Tax laws can change, so it's important to stay updated on any new laws or changes that could affect your tax filings. Regularly check the National Tax Service website or subscribe to updates from a reliable expatriate tax advisory service.


While the process may seem complex, being proactive and well-prepared can make filing your comprehensive income tax returns in Korea a smoother and less stressful experience. Don't hesitate to reach out for professional advice to ensure that you are compliant and making the most of the tax benefits available to foreigners.

Our tax office has been providing filing services for foreigners residing in Korea for a long time. If you are experiencing difficulties with your comprehensive income tax return, please contact us at any time.

For more details, please feel free to reach out at or If you would like a consultation with an English-speaking Consultant/Accountant in Korea, please schedule a call at: Schedule a Call with Jz


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