A Snapshot of Life in China as a Foreigner

A few months ago I had a message from the Foreign Teacher’s department at the college where I work in Guangzhou. Apparently the government had passed some new legislation relating to taxation for foreign workers. There was a sense of urgency.

College: You need to install this app on your phone to file your taxes immediately. Tax rebate. Can get money.

M: How much?

C: Don’t know. Install the app on your phone.

Me: I tried. The app doesn’t work.

C: Try again.

M: The app still doesn’t work.

C: There must be a problem.

M: Yes.

C: So try again.

M: Still not working.

C: Okay. You need to file your taxes manually.

M: Can’t, I’m not in the country.

C: You need to send us your bank details and the information page from your passport so we can do it for you

m: Okay.

C: You need to check the information. It’s different from last time.

M: Yes. I know. My passport expired and I opened a new bank account at a different bank.

C: Why?

M: Because you told me to do it, for the third time in six months.

C: You need to send us your old bank details and the information page from your old passport.

M: That information is not valid any more. Different passport number, different bank account number.

C: This has never happened before.

M: Nobody in China ever had a new passport or a new bank account before?

C: New system. China is a developing country.

M: Oh. Ok….

Next day:

C: No tax rebate for you. Instead you have to pay 3458.75 RMB

M: Why?
C: You had two sources of employment

M: But both my sources of employment were the same place. You.

C: This is China.

For more everyday Chinese fuckery, check out my This is China series.

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