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Tax/Visa/Contract Question: please help!!
« on: November 24, 2021, 01:10:35 pm »
Hello everyone, first time poster here, and would be extremely grateful for any advice on this. Kinda hoping someone else may have been through a similar situation!!

My story is: I am working in Korea on an E2 visa, within the public school system. I have been here for a few years, and would dearly love to stay longer. Prior to coming to Korea, I had been working in the Arts (ultra unsuccessfully) and had self-employed status back home. I never made any money bar a few coins here and there. But this situation has, as of this year, changed. I now find myself in the position of having a small (globally earned) income due to royalties/digital etc. This of course ought to be most welcome news. But it is giving me a major headache, concerning what I do at the end of the tax year.

Concerning my contract: I know that should my employers find out I have income from outside my school, I risk being fired/losing my visa and so on. On the other hand, if I do not declare my additional income at the end of the tax year, I could get in trouble that way, too. I would love to be able to pay my additional tax, if I could have any confidence that my Office of Education would not find out/immediately be alerted. But of course, how can I know that?

I feel like any investigating I do will incriminate me, and thus I'm at a loss as to whom I might contact for advice. For instance, I would love to phone the immigration service and discuss the matter, but surely this is asking for trouble! It seems a shame that I am caught in an awkward position simply because I would like to declare my side income. I can see clearly that the obvious answer is simply "Keep quiet!", but the sum in question is not tiny, and I'm worried that should it be discovered, I could be legally in much more trouble. Perhaps worth mentioning what sort of sums I'm talking: I would estimate that this year I will make 10,000,000 won from self-employment. It is, as I said, royalties, nothing to do with teaching. And there is nothing I can do to stop it, even if I wished to. The money is at present not coming directly into Korea, so there is no obvious alert this side. But still I feel very uncomfortable in this position, because I would like my money to be legitimate.

If anyone could give me any advice, has been in a similar position, etc. I would truly be grateful. This is keeping me from sleeping at present!

Specifically, I suppose my questions are:

a) Do I have any best/sensible move in this position?

b) My contract with the Office of Education forbids any (external) paid work, I understand that. What I'm curious about is, does my E-2 visa itself also forbid it? In other words, were I to choose to leave EPIK and work instead for a hagwon in Korea, with an owner who was accepting of my situation, would I be able to hold onto my visa and declare my self-employed earnings each year? Or does the visa also forbid any such earned/declared income?

c) I had considered declaring and paying the self-employment earnings back home - in the UK. However, presumably were I to do this I could not declare it in isolation, and would have to declare my full income from Korea too, meaning I would be taxed both sides. That's not a situation I'd like to find myself in. Or am I wrong about this? (Further, strictly speaking this would be wrong as I am not domiciled in the UK.)

Appreciate this is a rather long message, so if you've made it this far: thank you!


  • Bakeacake
  • Expert Waygook

    • 531

    • July 12, 2010, 01:35:40 pm
    • Pohang South Korea
Re: Tax/Visa/Contract Question: please help!!
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2021, 04:09:00 pm »
its not money youre earning in korea. so, you dont pay korean tax on it.  its perfectly fine to have other earnings outside of Korea, as they would never, and should never have any vested interest in what you life outside of korea is like.

Re: Tax/Visa/Contract Question: please help!!
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2021, 08:01:52 pm »
1. It's unlikely that your overseas income will be discovered by the Korean authorities.
2. If you're a tax resident in Korea and not the UK, the UK authorities are unlikely to care much.
3. You are breaking Korean law by not declaring your income as taxable in Korea, because you are a tax resident in Korea.
4. When you renew your E-2 visa, you will have to give immigration a copy of your Korean tax return. It will show foreign income if you declare your royalties to the Korean tax authorities. I honestly do not know if that would be an issue.
5. 1345 are not public officials. It's more like a call centre. They PROBABLY won't report you to immigration.
6. Bakeacake is entirely wrong, legally, and should be ignored in this case.

I don't know what you should do, but there are 6 things that may help.

Re: Tax/Visa/Contract Question: please help!!
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2021, 02:59:15 pm »
You are supposed to report all income to korean tax authorities however very unlikely they chase you down for this type of income. I wouldn’t worry about it.