So this month almost 900,000 won was taken out of my paycheck in taxes. I should mention that this is in addition to the several hundred thousand I paid every month in 2013.
Apparently February is the year-end tax something something in Korea, and like in the States you can either end up owing or receiving a good chunk of cash.
But 873,000 won is ridiculous. My co-worker, who has been with our company for four years and also had roughly the same amount deducted, said this is the highest amount he’s ever paid in taxes for February, and last year a normal amount was taken out……so something isn’t right.
Of course, trying to get down to the bottom of it was ridiculous, and now my blood pressure is so high I feel like I’m gonna have a stroke at any minute.
First my boss just said, “Oh, every February this happens,” as if I should just accept that a huge amount of my paycheck was gone with no explanation. Then when I pressed for an explanation he said it was probably because of the Lasik eye surgery I had done. Sure, it was the Lasik surgery.
I explained to him that I paid for the surgery totally out of pocket and the insurance didn’t cover any of it because it’s considered a cosmetic procedure and that it had absolutely nothing to do with taxes or insurance. He just said, “Ah, you do not understand how Korean insurance works.”
I had to take three deep breaths and count to ten.
Then he said completely nonchalantly, ‘Why don’t you go down to accounting and talk to them about it.’
Me: ‘Uhh…I don’t think they’re going to understand me…’
Him: ‘Sure they will. They must speak some English.’
At this point the veins in my neck were starting to bulge. Sure, hop on down to accounting and discuss complex tax issues with someone who MAYBE speaks broken English at best. Great idea!
Another co-worker and I coerced an intern into translating our woes to a guy in the accounting department. We stood there for about 25 minutes. Pages and pages of forms were printed out. Lots of scribbling on forms. Intern didn’t seem to even understand in Korean. At the end of it all we were simply told that we didn’t qualify for any deductions, which is why we owed so much.
BUT WHY WAS IT NOT THE SAME LAST YEAR????
No one knows. It will forever be a mystery. Upon returning to our office my boss came up to me and asked me if I got it figured out. I said no, no I didn’t.
"Well why didn’t you ask them why it was different than last year, Jenna?"
By this time my face was beginning to turn a shade of bright red. “I DID ask them that,” I told him.
Then he actually laughed and said, “Oh, well maybe you should sue (company name) ha ha ha.”
I have no words left to express my rage. I guess I’m just supposed to accept that it’s totally normal for almost 900,000 won to just be taken out of my paycheck and given to the government.
Did anyone else have significantly smaller paychecks this month? Is there anything I can do about this? I feel like this is a losing battle, but I’m livid that no one is offering me a decent explanation.