Japanese authorities found fraud linked to tourist tax rebate program

The Japanese authorities have found a surge in tax evasion involving the consumption tax rebate program for foreign visitors and tourists on short term visa category.

Fraudulent claims by Japanese businesses linked to tourist rebates totaled more than 1.9 billion yen, or about 18 million dollars. That’s four times more than the previous year.

The National Tax Agency said total tax evasion last fiscal year totaled more than 11 billion yen, or about 103 million dollars. The agency said criminal charges were filed in 121 cases of tax evasion across the country.

It said the rise in tourist visitors was behind the jump in related fraud. However, the total amount of tax evasion was the second smallest since 1989.

In one case, the Osaka Regional Tax Bureau found 890 million yen in cash hidden under stairs and in a safe in a dressing room.

The Japanese National Tax Agency Investigation department found violators are also using more elaborate fraud schemes. Authorities will deal strictly with people breaking tax law in Japan.