Products, experiences and donating to a good cause


Why and how to use MOGUFULL?
We can all agree that taxes, as a whole, aren’t fun. But at least with something called furusato nozei, you can take control of a part of that money, and even get something in return. If you don’t know about this system, that is exactly what MOGUFULL is here for.

What is furusato nozei?
Furusato means “hometown,” and nozei means “paying taxes.” So, does that mean furusato nozei is an extra tax that people pay to their hometown? Not quite.

Everyone living in Japan pays something called juminzei, or “residence tax.” This is paid to wherever you are currently living. However, with furusato nozei, you can opt to pay a part of your residence tax to a different town.

A misconception about furusato nozei is that you have to have a “hometown” in Japan in the first place. But in fact, with this system, you can choose to donate to any region in Japan.

Using the furusato nozei system not only means that you can choose where part of your tax is going, but it can also mean that you receive a product or service in return for that donation, known as a thank you gift. We’ll go into more detail about how in a moment.

Then what is MOGUFULL?
Whether you’re new to living in Japan or not, you might not have ever heard about furusato nozei. Or perhaps you’ve heard of it, but never had any idea how to do it. MOGUFULL aims to rectify that, and make furusato nozei accessible and welcoming to everyone and anyone living in Japan.

One of the biggest and most obvious issues that international residents face with furusato nozei is the language barrier. Filing taxes is like wading through a sea of financial jargon that even native speakers have difficulty with. Naturally, MOGUFULL’s first step to help with that issue is to provide a website in multiple languages: English, Simplified Chinese, and Japanese.

The site also makes the entire process very simple. As well as its extensive list of FAQs, you can easily search by product or by region.

If you’re curious about the name, MOGUFULL comes from “mogumogu” (chewing sound) and “full” (when you are full of food). But it also has the double meaning of “moguru” (to dive), meaning diving to search for items, and their character is a mole, or mogura in Japanese. The parent company is Wismettac, which is a well established import and export company, with a good network of suppliers in and outside of Japan.

How does it work?
MOGUFULL works in the same way as a regular shopping website–you simply sign up, choose your item or region to donate to, and pay using your credit card.

Once you’ve made your donation, you’ll receive a letter as proof about two weeks later.

When you receive your thank you gift depends on what you’ve selected. You can use MOGUFULL at any time throughout the year, but one of the great things is that you can choose to order specialties from the region you’re donating to. That means you can order things that are very seasonal. Even if you make your donation in November, if you have ordered special oysters, they might arrive in February or later, depending on the season. Of course, all of this is made clear when you make your donation, but just be sure to keep that in mind.

You can apply for your tax deduction with a one-stop special system. Or, If you do your kakutei shinkoku (tax return) yourself, you will need to outline where you donated to and how much you donated. (A service fee of ¥2,000 also needs to be stated when applying by hand, but will automatically be deducted when done online). Then, when you receive a notification about your residence tax of the following year of the donation, there should be a section that points out you have already paid a portion to the region you selected.

There is an upper limit as to how much you can claim as a tax deduction, but MOGUFULL also has a “deduction simulator” to make this part easy to understand. All you have to do on the MOGUFULL website itself is pay your donation.

More than just a gift

When you search through MOGUFULL, you’ll see that there’s a huge selection of products, from Shine Muscat grapes to a night on Rabbit Island with a meal included. Seeing this variety, you might think that it’s not much different from simply ordering the item elsewhere. But aside from the fact that you are essentially paying for it with your taxes, there is also the added bonus that you can contribute to a region that you care about.

The product you receive is a “thank you,” and it can only make up 30% or less of your total donation. 50% goes to the region itself, and the remaining 20% is service fees (including services like transportation and certifications).

Outside of the product gift, MOGUFULL makes it clear where your money is going. If you use the website’s function to search by region, you’ll find a section below the thank you gifts explaining how the money is used.

For example, Kagoshima is using some of its donations to make a zero-carbon city, support education, and to revitalize the local industries.

The providers across the site are carefully selected to be in line with this philosophy of supporting the different regions. For example, the himawari oil (sunflower oil) from Taki-Cho was created from sunflowers planted by the region’s elderly, and in choosing that product, you are also supporting them by donating to their next set of seeds. The sunflowers are also pesticide-free, and many of the other products take into account other aspects such as the environment and local culture.

In the end, you get an interesting product from a region you might not have a chance to visit, a part of your taxes is going to something tangible, and the region can use your donation to improve life there. It’s a win, win, win!