11th Fleet have fielded quite a number of questions about setting up a company in Taiwan. One thing that many people find surprising is the maintenance cost of keeping a company active in Taiwan can be higher than US, Europe, Singapore or Hong Kong, where professional costs are actually higher than in Taiwan. This is primarily due to the fact that unlike other countries where you can just form a company and leave it as is and file once a year tax returns, there are costs associated with a Taiwanese company on a monthly basis. The primary costs are the following:
- Registered office: This concept is likely foreign for someone who is new to Taiwan. The registered office is an official address where your company is “registered” at. This entails securing a document from the owner of the premise agreeing to your using the address as an official address. This is a different concept from a mailing address. In Taipei, the normal cost of renting an address is usually NTD 3,000 (USD $100).
- VAT filing: In Taiwan, VAT filing is done every two months, even if there have been no sales activity. The actual process involves someone going down to the local tax office to turn in the previous two months’ Fa Piao (發票) and also picking up the next two months’ receipts (發票). (E-receipts is an option but there is a question of whether you want to implement e-receipts if it is a largely dormant company or a company that does not have many transactions.) The minimum charge for a no-frills bookkeeper will be NTD 2,000/month.
- Expenses: Unlike say the U.S., where you can just collect your receipts in a shoe box and file your tax returns once a year, in Taiwan you have file your expenses every two months if you wish to claim them as expenses. (This gets into a more complicated discussion on how Taiwan’s VAT and VAT reimbursement system work). In addition, an expense is only a deductible expense if you have your own company tax ID imprinted on the receipt. Depending on the number of expense entries, the cost for a bookkeeper will also run another NTD2,000/month or more.
[This article may be updated as we get more information regarding this topic.]