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PRESS RELEASE

(Source : Information Services Department)

IRD launches Taxpayer's Charter

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The Acting Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mrs Agnes Sin, today (May 2) launched the new Taxpayer's Charter (the Charter) and announced the key customer service initiatives to assist taxpayers in the completion of their Individual Tax Returns for 1999/2000.

"The Charter is for everyone who has dealings with the IRD on tax matters. It applies to individuals, companies, partnerships and other organizations," Mrs Sin said.

"The Charter is designed to promote transparency and understanding for taxpayers and practitioners with the IRD. It lays the foundation for a new and more open tripartite relationship based on mutual respect and trust."

The Charter seeks to explain taxpayers' rights and the service standards expected from the IRD, and what taxpayers can do if they are dissatisfied with the IRD's service or if they wish to complain. Equally important, it also explains the obligations of taxpayers. It aims to assist taxpayers to understand their rights and obligations so as to comply voluntarily and enable the Department to meet acceptable service standards.

"The IRD is determined to deliver the best possible service that is timely, helpful, courteous and more customer-focused," said Mrs Sin. To assist IRD in rendering quality service as it pledged, she appealed for the public's co-operation. As far as taxpayers are concerned, they will meet their obligations by being honest, making timely lodgement of returns, prompt payment of tax, keeping sufficient records and keeping IRD posted of changes of address.

Particulars of the Taxpayer's Charter are now available from IRD offices and district offices. It is also accessible on the IRD website at "http://www.info.gov.hk/ird". The IRD has produced a two-minute animated video to introduce the Charter, which can now be instantly viewed or downloaded from the IRD Internet homepage.

Mrs Sin added that her staff were committed to follow the Charter. They would strive to transform service and engender a more customer-focused service culture.

Meanwhile, Mrs Sin said that 1.9 million Individual Tax Returns had been issued today. A number of improvements have been made to the returns this year.

"The changes are intended to make the return form easier to understand and fill in correctly for taxpayers and for the IRD to process them. The information required to be supplied is substantially the same as before," Mrs. Sin explained.

Mrs Sin reminded taxpayers to file their tax returns on time. To this end, IRD will as in the past continue to hold tax help service programmes in relation to answering enquiries on tax return matters this year.

Roadshows will be held on the weekends of 13th, 20th, 21st & 27th May at eight centres throughout the territory. Starting from today till 31st May, staff will be on duty to answer telephone enquiries until 7 pm, Monday to Friday and to 5 pm on Saturday. A new tax return enquiring helpline 187 8222 has been put to service in addition to the existing hotline 187 8022. Details have been given to taxpayers together with the tax return forms.

"These after-office-hours tax help service programmes are made possible because more than 500 staff of different ranks have volunteered to meet public demand beyond normal duty hours,"Mrs Sin added.

Moreover, three new items: 'Specimen of the Return Form', 'Demonstration on How to Complete the Individual Tax Returns' and 'Common Enquiries and Answers on Completion of Individual Tax Returns' are now put on the IRD homepage for public's access in the Internet.

"All the new programmes aim at making compliance easier for taxpayers," she said.

Meanwhile, Mrs Sin announced the tax revenue for 1999/2000. Revenue totalling $93.7 billion was collected during the year. This represented a decline of $7.2 billion, as compared with the previous year (Details attached as below).

"The decrease was mainly attributable to the full year effect of the tax concessions made in the 1998 Budget and the general decline in company profits," she added.

Annex

Revenue collected for 1999/2000 (Provisional figures)

Revenue collected for 1999/2000 (Provisional figures)
Type of Tax 1998/99 1999/2000 Change
  ($m) ($m)  
Profits Tax 45,252 37,699 -17%
Salaries Tax 25,062 24,831 -1%
Stamp Duty 10,189 12,116 +19%
Betting Duty 12,229 11,938 -2%
Others 8,163 7,111 -13%
Total: 100,895 93,695 -7%

End/Tuesday, May 2, 2000

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