If you downloaded and looked at the spreadsheet I attached to the previous message, you'll see a box there for "Tax Reimbursable Deduction." Previously, I just ignored the box and left it blank, not knowing what it was for. I was sure it didn't apply to me.
For the last few years, the tax withheld from my salary didn't match what I thought the tax should be based upon (1) doing the calculation by hand, (2) using the online calculator, or (3) using the spreadsheet. All 3 agreed on the amount, but my school deducted about 35 RMB LESS than it should have. Or so I thought. I never said anything because I didn't want them to suddenly say, oh yes, you're right, we're going to take out 35x36 months to make up for it from your next pay. So I let sleeping dogs lie.
Just last month, I stumbled across an interesting article about how to legally pay less income tax if you are a foreigner.
he Chinese government has a tax-benefit program for foreigners in China. You can only benefit from this program via your employer (that means: you employer needs to arrange it). The "Expatriate IIT relief" allows you to declare certain costs (such as food, steam drying clothes, one time moving fees, children's tuition etc). Because you already paid tax over those items, they allow you to pay less tax over your income.
The full article is here:http://www.startinchina.com/shenzhen/life/individual_income_tax_china.html
It's pretty heavy reading and it still didn't click as applicable to my situation, and in any event, as the article states, it needs to be done through your employer and probably most schools will have no idea what this is about.
Then, when I was revising the spreadsheet yesterday, it suddenly clicked. We are given an ID card here and it's used for opening the door to the apartments. In addition the school gives us a 200 RMB monthly allowance on our "teacher's card" which we can use by swiping it in the cafeteria. It also works in the on-campus grocery stores. I used to think, "well this should be taxable", but that would have meant the school should have withheld even more taxes. I looked at that box again "Tax Reimburseable Deduction" and then remembered the article I had read. I plugged in that 200 payment in the box and, what do you know, the tax matched exactly what the school had been doing all along. For once, they had done something right. What's really bizarre here is that they give me 200/month and not only is it NOT taxable, but it creates an additional 35 RMB deduction from my regular tax.
Go read the article (slowly) and you'll understand why. And it might apply to you, too, if your situation is similar to mine. But the big IF is trying to get your school's accountant's head around the concept since, again, it requires your employer to handle it.