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  • donuts81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1364

    • October 20, 2010, 10:23:37 am
    • Korea
I've been banging my head with my MOE on this one for a while, and despite evidence to the contrary, they refuse to include the housing allowance in the severance pay.

Their reasoning simply being that the housing allowance is not in fact an allowance at all, but is instead a housing subsidy, and therefore not part of my monthly income. (This conclusion so far appears to be as a result of magic! with no actual reason or evidence given for it)

Anyway, the upside of this 'non-income' is that I will now no longer have to pay 'real income tax' on it. I have informed my school's accounting office(to great shock and surprise) and am letting them now hash it out with the MOE, Tax Office, or who ever they like.

If you are paying monthly income tax on this 'non-income' housing subsidy I recommend you do the same.

Why pay tax when the MOE says you don't need to. ;D
"You can't hurt me now, Mr Lee. I've lost all feeling"


  • orangeman
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1768

    • September 01, 2011, 09:56:35 am
    • Seoul-East Side
Re: Great news! The Housing Allowance is not included in your severance
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2013, 09:33:12 am »
Why would you expect housing allowance to be part of severance?  Severance is your monthly BASE salary.  You also don't get afternoon classes as a severance.  It's pretty straightforward and even logical.  Housing is completely separate. 

Now, being taxed on the housing allowance is silly.  I used to get it, too, and couldn't get a straight answer about why it's taxed.  The good thing is you can claim your rent in your taxes to possibly get some money back. 


  • Morticae
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1400

    • August 31, 2010, 12:45:33 pm
Re: Great news! The Housing Allowance is not included in your severance
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2013, 09:51:18 am »
Why would you expect housing allowance to be part of severance?  Severance is your monthly BASE salary.  You also don't get afternoon classes as a severance.  It's pretty straightforward and even logical.  Housing is completely separate. 

Now, being taxed on the housing allowance is silly.  I used to get it, too, and couldn't get a straight answer about why it's taxed.  The good thing is you can claim your rent in your taxes to possibly get some money back.

I agree with this. Your housing allowance isn't part of your base pay. Severance is your base pay.

As far as paying taxes or not, it's not like you have much of a choice in the matter. Telling them, "I'm not going to pay taxes" doesn't work.


  • misskris
  • Expert Waygook

    • 558

    • October 08, 2010, 02:46:41 pm
    • seoul
Re: Great news! The Housing Allowance is not included in your severance
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2013, 10:57:51 am »
If this is up to date, you actually ARE entitled to housing allowance as part of your severance.
 I stumbled upon this a couple of months ago:

"Note that if you have a housing allowance mentioned in your contract and if that allowance is giving in KRW, that amount should be included in the calculate of your severance.  However, if your accomodations are provided by your employer, the value is not included in the severance calculation."

http://www.korea4expats.com/article-severance-pay-korea.html

Worth looking into some more


  • kimchi4me
  • Veteran

    • 108

    • December 23, 2012, 03:39:41 pm
    • bucheon
Re: Great news! The Housing Allowance is not included in your severance
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2013, 11:29:15 am »
Im so confused :huh: :huh: :huh: :huh: :huh:

Some people tell me that my housing allowance of 400,000W should be taxed

Some say it shouldnt

whats going on here?!???!!????!!

Do we not all work in the same country!!!

For the last 2 years in this school I have been taxed for it....should I get that money back?


  • misskris
  • Expert Waygook

    • 558

    • October 08, 2010, 02:46:41 pm
    • seoul
Re: Great news! The Housing Allowance is not included in your severance
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2013, 11:32:34 am »
as far as I know, housing allowance IS taxable. 
It is considered extra income, which is why it seems you are also entitled to it with your severance pay.


  • Grimne_Lothos
  • Expert Waygook

    • 845

    • December 28, 2011, 12:56:27 pm
    • Buyeo, south korea
Re: Great news! The Housing Allowance is not included in your severance
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2013, 12:34:01 pm »
Why would you expect housing allowance to be part of severance?  Severance is your monthly BASE salary.  You also don't get afternoon classes as a severance.  It's pretty straightforward and even logical.  Housing is completely separate. 

Now, being taxed on the housing allowance is silly.  I used to get it, too, and couldn't get a straight answer about why it's taxed.  The good thing is you can claim your rent in your taxes to possibly get some money back.

Where are you getting that its based on your BASE salary?  The Korean law that  I have seen says based on your average income for the last 3 months.


  • donuts81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1364

    • October 20, 2010, 10:23:37 am
    • Korea
Re: Great news! The Housing Allowance is not included in your severance
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2013, 12:43:53 pm »
Why would you expect housing allowance to be part of severance?  Severance is your monthly BASE salary.  You also don't get afternoon classes as a severance.  It's pretty straightforward and even logical.  Housing is completely separate. 

Now, being taxed on the housing allowance is silly.  I used to get it, too, and couldn't get a straight answer about why it's taxed.  The good thing is you can claim your rent in your taxes to possibly get some money back.

I agree with this. Your housing allowance isn't part of your base pay. Severance is your base pay.

As far as paying taxes or not, it's not like you have much of a choice in the matter. Telling them, "I'm not going to pay taxes" doesn't work.

Um, I don't know. Maybe because of the Korean Labor Standards act where it says,

"The term “wages” in this Act means wages, salaries and any other money and valuable goods an employer pays to a worker for his/her work, regardless of how such payments are termed."

Or, it could be because of the criteria for determining whether individual items of pay may be identified as wages are,

  1. The items are paid regularly and periodically.
  2. They are mandated by the employer according to collective bargaining, rules of Employment, salary regulations, the labor contract or habitual practice
  3. Employees identified under general conditions are paid uniformly.


Or hell! it could be that the Tax Office classes it as part of my monthly taxable income (salary)

And why not tell them I'm not paying taxes?

The idea is for my school's accounting office to call my MOE and complain to them about it, or better yet, have them call the Tax Office, and then have them complain to the MOE.

Perhaps that was a little subtle for some. :wink:


"You can't hurt me now, Mr Lee. I've lost all feeling"


  • donuts81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1364

    • October 20, 2010, 10:23:37 am
    • Korea
Re: Great news! The Housing Allowance is not included in your severance
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2013, 01:20:11 pm »
As an addendum,

I called the Labor Board today and asked if the criteria for something to be included as monthly wages as I understood them were correct and they said that they were.

I then went on to explain my situation, after which the response was that the Korean teachers don't receive a housing allowance so it can't be included. (I guess that's point number 3 from above).

I questioned that by explaining how Korean and Native teachers have different contracts and so can not be compared; in the same way that a principal's contract cannot be compared to a Korean teachers contract. It was at this point that person helping me simply said I don't know why.

I then asked why it was taxed as an income, but not counted as an income when calculating severance. Again the person had no idea.

Take from it what you will, but it seems suspicious to me that the criteria for monthly wages are correct, until it becomes apparent that the allowance being talked about is only available to foreigners, at which point they suddenly get ignored. Not that I think it's a purely racial thing, more of a power (or lack of), money thing. 
"You can't hurt me now, Mr Lee. I've lost all feeling"


  • SMOE NSET
  • Adventurer

    • 56

    • September 09, 2010, 01:21:21 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Great news! The Housing Allowance is not included in your severance
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2013, 11:17:05 am »
Severance is based off of the average of your last three paychecks (including housing).


Re: Great news! The Housing Allowance is not included in your severance
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2013, 02:40:00 pm »
I pay tax on my housing allowance, but it is also added into my severance.


  • kgby143
  • Adventurer

    • 42

    • June 13, 2011, 10:42:52 am
    • Seoul Korea
Re: Great news! The Housing Allowance is not included in your severance
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2013, 03:37:43 pm »
I was always confused about this topic too~
I got answers from Waygook that housing should be taxed... So I didn't say anything...  but it makes sense to either pay tax and include it in your severance or no tax and exclude it from your severance.. It only makes sense...  :P


  • cruisemonkey
  • Expert Waygook

    • 853

    • March 25, 2011, 02:17:57 pm
    • China
    more
Re: Great news! The Housing Allowance is not included in your severance
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2013, 05:29:06 pm »
It only makes sense...  :P

Yes, anywhere else in the world... but you're in K-land.
The Ks once gave me five minutes notice. I didn't know what to do with the extra time.


  • kimchi4me
  • Veteran

    • 108

    • December 23, 2012, 03:39:41 pm
    • bucheon
Housing allowance included with severance pay?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2013, 07:14:52 pm »
I'd like to know how many people in EPIK/GEPIK/SMOE who get housing allowance got that included with their severance pay at the end of their contract. My first time I re-signed with my school did not include it. I just received 2.3 million. I think my school screwed up. Should I call the labour board?


  • confusedsafferinkorea
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5610

    • October 08, 2010, 01:02:32 pm
    • Zhubei, Hsinchu Province, Taiwan
    more
Re: Housing allowance included with severance pay?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2013, 07:28:06 pm »
Let's just get the terminology right. When you re-signed (re-contracted) you don't get severance, you get a renewal bonus. Most of us get 2 million but if you got 2.3 then rejoice and stop complaining.

When you resign (leave forever, scat, vamoose) you get severance pay which is equal to one month's salary at your last pay level, excluding housing. So if you pay level is 2.2 million and you have worked for 1 year, you will get 2.2 million severance plus usually 1.3 million to get home. If you have worked for 5 years and your current salary is 2.2 million you will get 5 x 2.2 million = 11 million plus your fee to go home, typically 1.3 million.

So, stay away from the labour board and I hope this has clarified it for you.
There is no known medical cure for stupidity!


  • confusedsafferinkorea
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5610

    • October 08, 2010, 01:02:32 pm
    • Zhubei, Hsinchu Province, Taiwan
    more
Re: Housing allowance included with severance pay?
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2013, 07:34:46 pm »
You do not get a housing allowance as part of your severance pay. Why would they do that? Your housing allowance is paid to your landlord or you if you take it separately so that your landlord will get their rent. It is not for you.
There is no known medical cure for stupidity!


  • confusedsafferinkorea
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5610

    • October 08, 2010, 01:02:32 pm
    • Zhubei, Hsinchu Province, Taiwan
    more
Re: Housing allowance included with severance pay?
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2013, 05:25:44 am »
You do not get a housing allowance as part of your severance pay. Why would they do that? Your housing allowance is paid to your landlord or you if you take it separately so that your landlord will get their rent. It is not for you.

Because it's the law. That's why.

You don't get your housing allowance as part of your severance pay. You only get your final salary x the number of years you completed contracts.
There is no known medical cure for stupidity!


Re: Housing allowance included with severance pay?
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2013, 07:21:18 am »
I've been told (not officially though so if someone knows the law they can correct me) that severance is calculated on your base pay, not including bonuses like housing allowance (the money we get if we own our own house, not the money paid to the landlord).


  • confusedsafferinkorea
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5610

    • October 08, 2010, 01:02:32 pm
    • Zhubei, Hsinchu Province, Taiwan
    more
Re: Housing allowance included with severance pay?
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2013, 07:44:49 am »
I've been told (not officially though so if someone knows the law they can correct me) that severance is calculated on your base pay, not including bonuses like housing allowance (the money we get if we own our own house, not the money paid to the landlord).


Quite correct, it is your last base pay x number of completed contracts. Housing allowance is NOT included.
There is no known medical cure for stupidity!


  • misskris
  • Expert Waygook

    • 558

    • October 08, 2010, 02:46:41 pm
    • seoul
Re: Housing allowance included with severance pay?
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2013, 09:13:14 am »
I've looked into it, and as far as I know, if you receive housing allowance you ARE entitled to it as part of your severance pay.

If you have an apartment provided by the school, you do NOT receive the value of the rent towards your severance.

When you receive rent money,
it is counted as part of your salary, reported as part of your salary, and taxed as part of your salary. 
I am almost positive that you are entitled to it with your severance.  I've researched about it before and posted elsewhere before.  Do some research so you have something to bring to your school.

The labor law does say that if your housing stipend is included with your salary, it is to be included with your severance.