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Request for income details

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1.

Q:

Can a taxpayer authorize someone to call on his behalf to collect his income details?

 
 

A:

In order to preserve secrecy with regard to all matters relating to taxpayers, we are only allowed to disclose such information to taxpayers themselves or to their authorized representatives. "Authorized representative" is defined under the IRO as "a person authorized in writing by any other person to act on his behalf for the purposes of this Ordinance." In other words, if the caller is not acting for the purposes of the IRO, he cannot be regarded as an "authorized representative".

In the normal course, any request for information on taxpayer's income will be sent by post to his correspondence address. In case a taxpayer calls in person and the information is readily available, the requested details may be provided on spot.

In very exceptional circumstances, for example, where the information is urgently needed and taxpayer sends someone to collect the information on his behalf, such request may be processed as far as possible providing our normal service to the public is not interrupted. In order to verify the genuineness of the request, the caller will be asked to produce a written request and authorization letter from the taxpayer containing the following particulars:

(1) Name of taxpayer
(2) Hong Kong Identity Card number of the taxpayer
(3) Correspondence address of the taxpayer
(4) Day time contact telephone number of the taxpayer
(5) Name and identity card number of the representative


Where necessary, the caller may be asked to provide a copy of the taxpayer's identity card bearing taxpayer's signature before entertaining such request. We may also need to inspect the caller's identity card, if warranted. This is to ensure that there will be no unlawful disclosure of taxpayer's information to unauthorized parties. If we are unable to verify taxpayer's signature on the authorization letter, the required information will be sent to taxpayer's correspondence address by post.

Generally speaking, taxpayers or their representatives already have in their possession copies of tax returns, notice of assessments or employer's return of remuneration and pensions. These documents contain income details. There is no need for taxpayers and their representatives to approach IRD to obtain income details or further copies.