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PRESS RELEASE

(Source : Government Information Centre)

Arrangement for the partial salaries tax rebate for the year of assessment 2001/02

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The Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mrs Alice Lau Mak Yee-ming, today (May 2) announced the administrative arrangements and timetable for the partial salaries tax rebate.

She also released the Government's revenue collections in 2002-03 and drew public attention to the points worth noting in completing the individual tax returns of the current year.

Mrs Lau said that subject to the passage of the legislation at the Legislative Council and availability of the refund notices and cheques by the end of June, the refunds will be issued in batches from July 10.

"Except for the few cases under objection or litigation, all refunds will be issued before the end of July as allotted randomly by the computer," she said. She called on taxpayers to wait with patience. If taxpayers do not receive the refund cheques by the end of July, they can make enquiries after August 1 on 187 8011.

"Taxpayers are not required to apply for the refunds. The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will automatically work out their rebate amounts and send cheques by post to the correspondence addresses provided by them," she added.

Taxpayers who have paid the final tax will receive the refund notices together with the cheques. If, however, they have other outstanding charges, the refund will be used to set-off the outstanding tax payable. Only the balance after the set-off, if any, will be refunded. For taxpayers with outstanding tax liability, an appropriate amount of the outstanding tax will be discharged accordingly. Notices will be issued to inform them of the discharge.

As the refund notices will be issued by post, taxpayers are requested to notify the IRD of any change in their correspondence address to avoid unnecessary delay. As a means to step up security, the IRD will not entertain any requests for change of address over the phone from now until July 31. All such requests must be made in writing.

Mrs Lau said, "Coincidentally, now is the time for lodgement of the returns. Therefore, the simplest and fastest way to inform IRD of change of address is to put a "tick" in box 3 under item (1) of section (2) in this year's individual tax return and provide the new address in item 1 of Part 1 of the Appendix in the return. The completed return should be filed with IRD as soon as possible, and in any case before the deadline of June 2, 2003."

Holders of digital certificates and registered TeleTax Users could have one more way to change their address . They could update address on the Internet via the ESD Scheme by using their digital certificates or TeleTax passwords. From April 17 onwards, apart from using the password to amend address and file enquiries on personal tax matters, holders could also use the same password for filing of tax returns through the Internet or by telephone.

On filing of tax return, Mrs Lau reminded taxpayers to fill in the actual amount of donations made in their 2002/03 tax returns, irrespective of whether it has exceeded the 10% ceiling.

"One of the budgetary proposals this year is to raise the ceiling for tax deductible charitable donations from 10% to 25% of the assessable income. Taxpayers may apply for holdover of part of the 2003/04 provisional tax on the ground that the amount of approved charitable donation exceeds the limit of the preceding year. To avoid inconvenience caused to taxpayers while making an application, IRD will, upon enactment of the relevant legislation, compute the 2003/2004 provisional tax based on the amount of charitable donations declared in the 2002/03 return (including that part in excess of the 10% cap relevant to that year) to the extent of the 25% cap. Therefore, taxpayers should, as instructed in the guide to the completion of tax return, fill in the total amount of charitable donations made during the year 2002/03 and disregard whether the amount already exceeds the current ceiling of 10%. Taxpayers may then enjoy the benefits as soon as possible," she explained.

The IRD issued over 1.8 million Individual Tax Returns today. To facilitate taxpayers' enquiries, IRD will extend the service hours of its enquiries hotline from today till May 31. Enquiries can be made at 187 8022 ( 8.15 am to 7pm from Monday to Friday; 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday) or 187 8222 (5 pm to 7pm from Monday to Friday; 12 noon to 5pm on Saturday).

Moreover, IRD has, for the first time, provided "e-seminars" on the Internet for individual taxpayers. Taxpayers can also file their questions at the "question and answer" column on IRD website and the enquiries will be replied collectively on a regular basis.

On revenue collections, Mrs Lau said that a total of $93.1 billion had been collected during 2002/03,representing a decrease of $8.2 billion when compared with last year. (Detailed figures below).

Note:

2002/03 Revenue collection (provisional figures)

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Tax type   2001/02   2002/03   Difference
             
    ($million)   ($million)    
             
Profits Tax   44,376   38,799   -13%
             
Salaries Tax   28,634   29,734   +4%
             
Property Tax and Personal Assessment   4,739   4,496   -5%
             
    --------   --------    
             
Total Earnings and Profits Tax   77,749   73,029   -6%
             
Estate Duty   1,928   1,403   -27%
             
Betting Duty   11,571   10,921   -6%
             
Stamp Duty   8,637   7,458   -14%
             
Others   1,443   329   -77%
             
    --------   --------    
             
Total revenue collected   101,328   93,140   -8%
             
             

End/Friday, May 2, 2003

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