Image Source: 『妹さえいればいい。』アニメ公式‏ on Twitter

Tax season is a ways away. But, A Sister is All You Need show’s us it’s never too early to think about what is and isn’t tax deductible.

It’s spring in A Sister is All Your Need, and that means it’s tax time for our protagonist Itsuki Hashima. In order to make sure all his paperwork in order and finalized, he hires a tax accountant. 

As essentially a free agent, the way Itsuki files his taxes is similar to how it’s done in the United States. This is different from most Japanese people as they generally use return-free filing for their taxes. This means Itsuki needs to save all of his receipts on the off chance what he purchases can be tax deductible—even mundane purchases like food. However, as a free agent, keeping all that paperwork in order can be a hassle, let alone determining what is and isn’t tax deductible.

Image source: 『妹さえいればいい。』アニメ公式 on Twitter

Yet, that’s exactly where things become murky in terms of filing a tax return as a free agent in Japan: deciding if something is tax deductible. For Itsuki, in comes the tax accountant named Ashley Ono to make sure he has everything in order. While at first she goes through simple questions about Itsuki’s place of residence (in Japan, your place a residence and the actual place you live can be different) and other work-related purchases he made. These questions are to cover the basic costs of Itsuki’s work, such as his apartment being a live-in office or the travel expense he had in the third episode.

For Itsuki, office space and travel make a lot of sense as work related expenses. Consider, he does all his work in his apartment, so it really functions as his office. And the trips he took to Okinawa and Hokkaido in the third episode were for inspiration. Granted, the trips didn’t lead to feasible ideas for his novels, but he took what he saw in both places and tried to work them into a pitch to his editor. These are things that, while he doesn’t necessarily need, they actually help Itsuki fulfill his obligations as an author. You can even take it one step further by making the argument the utilities, his cellphone, and even internet bills could be work expenditures because he needs them to communicate with his editors, power his work computer, and do research on any story idea he comes up with. Thus, they literally become expenses Itsuki needs to keep working.

Image Source: 『妹さえいればいい。』アニメ公式‏ on Twitter

But, Ashley then begins to go down a dark rabbit hole of finding out exactly what Itsuki purchased throughout the year. The simple reason is can he can write those off as “work related purchases” as well. It’s a fascinating questions because it calls into question what we construe as “work related expenses” and what can actually be “work related expenses,” provided we embellish just a bit. For instance, Ashley brings up the novels Itsuki buys. While we may not necessarily think of novels as “work related,” the argument is Itsuki needs them for reference; to see what other people are writing. Is this plausible? Yes. At the same time, though, it’s a bit farfetched. There’s definitely an argument to be made Itsuki needs reference books as an author. But, every single one he buys could, in the minds of many people, be pushing it. The logic, though, is just write it off as a work expense and if asked, tell a little white lie.

Image source: 『妹さえいればいい。』アニメ公式 on Twitter

However, where Ashley goes overboard is pointing out things like Itsuki’s figure collection, adult game collection, and his in game purchases for mobile games could be work expense as well. What’s fantastic about this is Itsuki takes the rational position of those purchases are a hobby of his. Yet, Ashley mentions each of the figures and games Itsuki buys has to do with little sisters. Hobby or not, because Itsuki’s novels all revolve around a main character and his little sister, Ashley makes the argument the figures and games can be considered “research material.” Therefore, the purchases are related to Itsuki’s work as an author. It’s certainly more of a stretch than the books he buys. But, when you get down to it, Ashley is correct in an odd sort of way. By buying those items Itsuki is “researching” what kind of little sister characters are popular. And with that knowledge, he can create a better little sister character for his novels. Thus, figures and games become tax deductible.

In reality, a lot of Itsuki’s expenses were for his private use and enjoyment. Yet, through the eyes of a tax accountant they’re legitimate tax write offs because of how they affect his work. Really makes you wonder what sort of things you can claim as tax deductible yourself.

A Sister’s All You Need is streaming on Crunchyroll (sub) and FUNimation(dub).

Comments (1)
  1. That latest episode was gold!

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