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Leaving Korea – Pension, Taxes, Official Tasks

Leaving Korea – Pension,...

Before you leave Korea, you will have a few official government-related tasks to complete, including:

Foreign nationals working in Korea must file a tax return prior to leaving Korean. The taxable period will be from 01 January to the day of departure. The due date for filing is the day prior to departure. The form is the same as for the annual tax return. This is normally done by the employer while sole proprietorship business owners must take care of it themselves or have their accountant do it. (An ethical accountant will remind you of this responsibility before you leave as will an ethical employer). The fine for failure to file can be  0.1-10% of the tax amount due. unpaid taxes can also result in being refused re-entry into the country. Employees leaving Korea before year-end are generally due for a refund since the monthly witholding tax assumes one year of salary.
Should you forget to take care of your taxes prior to your departure, you can still do so from outside the country. You can download the form from the National Tax Service website and either mail it in or electronically through the 'Hometax'. You can also have an accountant take care of the filing for you (these usually charge either a flat fee or a percentage of the refund, ie 20%). For a list of English-speaking accounts, see the K4E Directory.

PENSION REFUND – depending on your country of residence (passport) you may be eligible for a refund of your pension contributions (yours and your employers; total about 9% of your monthly salary).  You want to take care of this about a month before your departure although you can also apply for your refund from outside Korea. See the Pension refund page on K4E for details.
For a list of  NPS (National Pension Service) offices across the peninsula, countries eligible for a refund, and more, visit the NPS website.  

When you go to apply for your refund you will need the following: a copy of your one-way plane ticket out of Korea, your Alien Registration Card (ARC), your home bank account information (address, account number, routing number), a copy of a bank statement (this can be printed out from online banking), your home address, and your passport. 

If your employer registered you for the National Health Insurance Scheme, you don’t have to do anything. However, if you are one of the many foreign employees who have had to sing-up on your own, you will want to advise NHIS of your departure date. Contact NHIC: English helpline 033-811-2000 or NHIC website. List of some NHS offices.

If you had to turn in your home country driver’s license to get a Korean one and have not yet ‘redeemed’ it, you can get it back by bringing your flight reservation or reservation confirmation to your local Driver’s License Authority (DLA) office - see DLA website.. As you will have to turn in your Korean Driver’s License you will want to do this closer to your departure date if you’re still driving. 

If you have more than one bank account, you may want to close all but one. The latter could be used to pay your final bills, some of which may be issued following your departure. Your bank may have your credit cards scheduled to terminate prior to your visa expiry date. Regardless, as you close your account(s), the bank will ensure that it receives any outstanding amount due. 

NOTE: there is information on this website about all of the above. Just type the key word(s) - income taxes, pension, national health insurance, etc. - into the search box at the top of the page.

K4E Editor: We try to make the information on as complete and accurate as possible, so if you notice any errors or omissions in the content above, please let us know at


Last Updated on 2017-01-10

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