The period for filing income tax began Monday with 524 local tax offices accepting returns for 2002.

“I want (the government) to make clear what it is using tax money for,” actress Hitomi Kuroki said after filing her return at the Tamagawa office in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward. Kuroki appears in the agency’s poster ads for this year’s tax-filing season.

Self-employed and freelance professionals are among those required to file income tax returns. Shop owners, medical practitioners, lawyers and farmers fall into this category. Regular employees are not required to file income reports unless they received salaries from more than one source, their annual incomes exceeded 20 million yen or they had income from real estate sales.

Home buyers who took out mortgages and people who spent more than 100,000 yen on medical costs can get refunds by submitting tax returns.

The tax-filing season usually starts Feb. 16, but since that day fell on a Sunday this year, Monday became the first day of the season.

The deadline for filing returns is March 17.

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