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PRESS RELEASE

(Source : Government Information Centre)

Individual Tax Returns for 2003/04 issued

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The Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mrs Alice Lau, today (May 3) spoke on matters relating to completion of Individual Tax Return for 2003/04 and the latest developments in e-filing and announced the revenue collection for 2003-04.

This year's return is largely the same as that of last year. Mrs Lau reminded taxpayers to follow the guidebook in completing their tax returns and drew the public's attention to three areas of concern.

"First, the deduction ceiling for charitable donations has been raised from 10% of net assessable income or profits to 25%. Second, taxpayers are now required to include the value of holiday journey or passage benefits received from employers as part of their assessable income. Third, it was proposed in the 2004-05 Budget that home loan interest may be deducted for seven years of assessment instead of five with effect from the year of assessment 2003-04. Taxpayers who wish to continue with home loan interest deduction claims are reminded to complete Part 7 of the return. Their claims will be dealt with upon enactment of this Budget proposal," Mrs Lau explained.

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) issued 1.78 million Individual Tax Returns today. To facilitate taxpayers' enquiries, the IRD will extend the service hours of its enquiry hotlines from today till May 31. Enquiries can be made at 187 8022 (8.30am to 7pm from Monday to Friday; 9am to 5pm on Saturday) or 187 8222 (5pm to 7pm from Monday to Friday; noon to 5pm on Saturday).

"E-seminars" are also provided on the IRD website for individual taxpayers. Enquiries can be raised electronically at the "Questions and Answers" column on the website and replies will be made on a regular basis.

On electronic filing, three new functions are added to Internet filing and special measures are taken by IRD this year to allow taxpayers to register for Teletax. Relevant details are given in a pamphlet enclosed with the tax return. All that is required is to call the 24-hour Automated Telephone Registration Hotline 183 2033 and enter the Hong Kong Identity Card Number and the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) as printed on the front page of the tax return.

"Register now and we undertake to send the taxpayer his/ her own Access Code within three working days. Individual taxpayers may then select a password of his/her own choice and file an electronic tax return by phone or via the Internet in lieu of a paper return this year," Mrs Lau said.

To encourage e-filing, the department will grant a two-week extension of time to taxpayers who file their individual tax returns electronically (that is, the return filing deadline for e-filers will be extended to June 17, 2004).

On revenue collections, Mrs Lau said that a total of $106.2 billion had been collected during 2003/04, representing an increase of some $13.1 billion when compared with last year. (detailed figures below).

Note:

2003/04 Revenue collection (provisional figures)

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Tax type 2002/03 2003/04 Difference
  ($million) ($million)  
Profits Tax 38,800 48,771 +26%
Salaries Tax 29,733 27,977 -6%
Property Tax and
Personal Assessment

4,496

3,727

-17%
  -------- --------  
Total Earnings
and Profits Tax

73,029

80,475

+10%
Estate Duty 1,403 1,455 +4%
Betting Duty 10,921 11,636 +7%
Stamp Duty 7,458 11,245 +51%
Others 328 1,389 +323%
  -------- --------  
Total revenue Collected 93,139 106,200 +14%

Ends/Monday, May 3, 2004

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