Japan braces for tax hike chaos under two-tier system as register shortage looms
Japan Times -- Sep 03
As the hike in the consumption tax approaches, consumers and businesses are worried about the confusion that might erupt from differing rates for similar goods.

To make things worse, businesses may not have enough new cash registers that can handle the two-tiered transactions.

While the tax rate will rise to 10 percent from 8 percent on Oct. 1, the rate levied on some goods, such as food and nonalcoholic beverages, will remain the same under the dual system.

The National Tax Agency has guidelines on its website listing examples of what qualifies for the lower rate, but the reality is expected to be less than clear-cut.

One example is posed by mirin, the sweet cooking wine that’s indispensable to Japanese cuisine. Mirin itself will be taxed at 10 percent because it is alcoholic, but mirin products sold as seasoning will be taxed at 8 percent due to their lower alcohol content.

Another complicated example is sushi.

Meals at conveyor-belt sushi restaurants, like other food and drink consumed while dining out, will be taxed at 10 percent. But if sushi is purchased as takeout, it will be taxed at 8 percent. Any leftover sushi taken home will be taxed at 10 percent.

News source: Japan Times
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