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PRESS RELEASE

(Source : Government Information Centre)

SFST briefed on the progress of tax rebate exercise

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The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Frederick Ma, today (July 8) visited the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to update himself on its work, in particular the progress of the salaries tax rebate exercise.

Accompanied by the Permanent Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury (Tsy), Mr Alan Lai, Mr Ma was briefed by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mrs Alice Lau, on the latest developments in IRD, as well as the operation of its individual units.

Mr Ma was pleased to note that since the announcement of the relief measure on April 23, IRD had been making all the necessary preparations for effecting a timely tax rebate, including the ordering of the refund cheques and the development of relevant computer enhancements.

He thanked IRD staff for their effort and dedication in the past two months in bringing about early relief to 1.3 million taxpayers three weeks ahead of the original schedule.

The refund cheques will be issued in random batches from July 10 (Thursday) by post.

Some $2.3 billion is involved in the present rebate exercise. More than 570,000 taxpayers will receive a tax refund equivalent to the cap of $3,000 and the remaining ones will receive a tax refund equal to half of the final tax in 2001/02.

"We hope that the taxpayers will cash the rebate cheques upon receipt and spend the money to help stimulate the local economy," Mr Ma said.

"This year, the deduction ceiling for charitable donations is raised to 25% of the net income/profits. If taxpayers choose to have the rebate donated to recognized charitable institutions, they will be entitled to more generous tax deductions," he added.

More than 95% of the taxpayers liable to salaries tax and tax under personal assessment will receive their tax rebates in two weeks' time. Eligible taxpayers not receiving the rebate by the end of July can make enquiries after August 1 on 187 8011. They may also visit the IRD website at www.info.gov.hk/ird for detailed rebate arrangements, common questions and answers.

End/Tuesday, July 8, 2003

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