Good news for those who need help with their tax returns! Why the Spartan Cafe “You can’t leave until your expenses are reimbursed” is so popular! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Good news for those who need help with their tax returns! Why the Spartan Cafe “You can’t leave until your expenses are reimbursed” is so popular!

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Easy to enter even for young women, marked by a pink and pop sign.

A five-minute walk from Koenji Station. The seemingly stylish café, where all seats are counters, is filled with a “deadly atmosphere. 7 to 8 customers are sitting by the wall, not exchanging a single word with each other. All of them were sitting against the wall, each of them typing on his or her computer with single-minded devotion. Piles of receipts and receipts are piled up beside them. This is an “expense-reimbursement café” where you cannot leave until you have completed your expense reimbursement.

Both sole proprietors and salaried workers have to worry about expense reimbursement. Many people are depressed by the piles of receipts that accumulate before they know it while they are busy with their daily work. This is especially true around the time of year when tax returns are due. For such people, Yateru Wakita, a certified tax accountant, opened this café in September last year.

This place was originally a studio for filming, but when it is not in use, it is open as a workspace, and on weekends and holidays, it also operates as a “manuscript writing café. I have used it twice myself, and the experience of being able to concentrate and get so much done was what got me started. In a regular café, it is hard to stay for 4 to 5 hours with just one drink,” says Wakita.

Currently, the café is open for two days at the end of each month. The hours of operation vary from day to day, but they last about 4 to 5 hours. When customers enter the store, they write down their goals for the day (i.e., their obligations to themselves) and post them on a board, and they are not allowed to leave the store until they achieve their goals. On this particular day, the board was filled with customers’ goals, such as “finish this month’s expense account,” “settle all expenses and start working on my tax return,” and so on.

One customer, a sole proprietor in her 30s, said.

I came here to ask about something I don’t understand about my tax return, but I think I’ll get more done here. The people around me are also very serious, so there is a sense of togetherness.

Another woman said, “I’m going to use a new camera for my work, a 300,000 yen one.

I bought a new camera for work for 300,000 yen.

I think you should write it off as depreciation. Then I’ll go to …….”

Mr. Wakita’s voice answering customers’ questions. Yes, the greatest feature of this café is that customers can get free advice from Mr. Wakita, who is a licensed tax accountant.

We have both individual and corporate customers, but at this time of year, 80% of our customers are freelancers. The questions vary from ‘What should I do about sales that have been credited after credit card fees have been deducted? I have even had people in charge of accounting at my company ask me questions that are too elementary to ask the company’s tax advisor.

We asked Mr. Wakita what points to pay attention to when reimbursing expenses.

As a sole proprietor, there is often a conflict between expenses for sales and expenses used for personal matters. It is important to allocate the portion used for household chores in a way that can be properly explained. For example, if you use your home as your work space, and you use one of the three rooms for work five days a week, then one-third times five-sevenths of the rent, or five twenty-one-tenths of the rent, is your expense. Unless you are taking cooking classes, you may not want to expense the water bill. The same goes for cars, etc. If it is too much trouble to calculate the telephone bill, you can just estimate the amount of the telephone bill as a rough estimate.

Another thing that is of concern is when eating and drinking outside the home. To what extent is it allowed as an expense?

For example, if a restaurant employee eats and drinks at a hotel or restaurant, the reason “as a reference for service” is valid. For example, if a manicurist gets his nails done, the reason is ‘as a reference to the service. It is important to be able to explain how it is connected to their work.

Incidentally, on March 4, a special “Tax Return Cafe” will be open. For those who are having trouble with piles of receipts and don’t know what to do with them, it might be a good idea to take the plunge and concentrate on clearing them away at a place like this.

The owner and tax accountant, Mr. Yateru Wakita, gives us detailed instructions.
On this day, all the customers were women.
Reimbursement of expenses at the bar counter lined with liquor bottles.
The store is open and airy with a glass wall. At first glance, it looks like an ordinary cafe.
  • Photo Yuri Adachi

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