Consumption tax in Japan will increase from 5% to 8% by April, 2014, as announced previously by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Many Japanese product makers are encouraging consumers to shop for items before the tax hike is implemented. Major auto companies including Toyota and Suzuki Motor are planning to increase the number of car production through January to March in order to meet the last-minute increase in demand. (Read more at Nikkei) Customary annual New Year bargains at department stores (this is similar to Black Friday in USA) this year attracted more customers than usual due to people planning to buy expensive items before the tax increase, creating long lines at major department stores in Japan. Image source: Fashionsnap Tax increase in April will affect shopping fees at Rinkya Auction and Rinkya Stores as well.
Rinkya Auction (Yahoo Japan Auction via Rinkya)
If you are a regular customer at Rinkya, you may already know about it, but let’s go through how consumption tax applies to shopping at Yahoo Japan Auction again. There are two types of sellers on Yahoo Japan Auction: individual seller and YJ store seller. Individual sellers are people who list items on YJ Auction as individuals, unrelated from their business or trade. They probably aren’t making living off of things they sell at YJ Auction. These sellers do not charge consumption taxes because they are not selling as a business. YJ store sellers are licensed sellers who are registered as business entities. They sell items on YJ Auction as companies, therefore, they will be charging you consumption tax IN ADDITION TO the winning price of the auction. The advantage to buy from YJ store sellers is that they have gone through evaluation process with YJ Auction and are required to show physical addresses and contact numbers on their profiles. Thus, you can expect a certain degree of reliability from these sellers (although you should always use your own judgement using tips we give at Bidding with Confidence). These sellers have been charging 5% consumption tax for every item they listed so far, but this will increase to 8% after April this year. Rinkya is going to include it in our fees, so please be aware of that! It is not difficult to differentiate individual sellers from YJ store sellers. When there are additional fees (including consumption tax), it is always written in the item description. However, if you want to just quickly check if it’s a store or an individual, here is how. For example, here is an item listed on YJ Auction viewed from Rinkya site. Click on “Feedback” link on the right hand side of the page. This will bring you to the seller’s rating and feedback page. This page will be written in Japanese. Now click on the tab that’s on the far right where it says “自己紹介”. This will bring you to the seller’s introduction page. If the seller is an individual seller, it will say “プロフィール” (profile) next to the seller’s name. This means the seller will not charge consumption tax. On the other hand, if the seller is a YJ store seller, it will say “ストア情報を見る” (browse store information) next to the seller’s name instead. These sellers will charge you extra 5% consumption tax until April, and with 8% after April. A lot of the time you can tell it is a YJ store seller from the appearance of the profile page too. A YJ store can customize the feedback and intro pages with lots of elaborate images and banners, whereas individual sellers cannot.
Rinkya Store (on-demand shopping outside of YJ Auction)
Another popular service we provide is Rinkya Stores. This is an exclusive service for registered Rinkya users only. A registered Rinkya user can access “Request Store Order” page from your account. With this service, you can order any items from any Japanese online shops from us. We will buy them on behalf of you. Since all the vendors in Japan are required to include consumption tax on their items, we expect prices of goods in Japan will go up in general. In most online shops they show prices with tax already included, but when in doubt, look for the word “税込.” It means “including consumption tax.” For example, this is an item description page from Premium Bandai, the largest provider of Sailor Moon merchandises in Japan! So we encourage Rinkya users to go shopping for items before the increase in consumption tax takes place! Remember, the tax change will be implemented by April this year! ^_^