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PRESS RELEASE

(Source : Government Information Centre)

2004-05 tax returns issued from today

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The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will from today (April 1) issue about 145,000 profits tax returns, 100,000 property tax returns and 255,000 employer's returns for the year 2004-05. About 1.77 million tax returns for individuals will be issued on May 3. The return forms and forms for furnishing tax returns have been approved by the Board of Inland Revenue.

To make e-filing a convenient and customer-centric service, the IRD conducted a survey and received feedback from users, including those who could not complete their transactions online for various reasons. An IRD spokesman said that more than 20,000 users of the service had provided feedback.

"Many of the users have given suggestions for improving the service. Taking into account their valuable comments, we have streamlined the filing process through the Internet," the spokesman said. As well as improving the system's performance and redesigning the screen flow, the IRD has introduced more than 40 new functions/improvements. The Internet filing service has the following main features:

Pre-filling of data

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The IRD has pre-filled some details of taxpayers' tax returns with data retrieved from its system, thereby reducing the time required for tax return completion. Similarly, this year's electronic return data will be saved for pre-filling of taxpayers' convenience next year.

Estimation of salaries tax payable

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Immediately after submission of their tax returns, taxpayers can have a computation of their estimated salaries tax payable. This will help them to plan early for tax payment.

Saving of data

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Taxpayers can save their partially completed returns and retrieve them later for completion within one month.

Viewing and printing

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Details of the electronic return will be stored for two years for taxpayers' reference. They may view and print their electronic tax returns as well as the estimated salaries tax computation any time during the two-year retention period.

Individual taxpayers who file their tax returns through the Internet or via the telephone are allowed a two-week automatic extension of time to file their returns.

To use this convenient service, taxpayers must either possess a digital certificate or register as an e-Tax Password user (previously known as Multi-purpose Password). The spokesman appealed to registered users of e-Tax Passwords to file their returns electronically this year. "If you have not yet registered, I invite you to do so early. The registration procedures are very simple. Just follow the steps given in the leaflet enclosed with your Tax Return and lodge your application any time by using our 'Online Application of e-Tax Password Service' provided under the ESD Scheme (www.esd.gov.hk), or by calling our Automated Telephone Registration Hotline at 183 2033," the spokesman said.

Profits tax return has been rearranged into simplified Profits Tax Return and Supplementary Form. The latter, mainly consists of tax data and financial data, is one of the required supporting documents to be furnished together with a tax return, that is, it has the same status as the tax computation and audited accounts, etc. Simplified Profits Tax Return and Supplementary Form are printed on A3 size paper and folded into four pages as previously. Taxpayers who wish to complete and submit both forms on paper can continue to do so. For those who use the electronic version of the Supplementary Form, the paper Supplementary Form should be left blank and need not be torn off from the set of documents before submission. An e-Supplementary Form and the software needed for its completion are provided on the IRD's website for downloading. All a taxpayer needs to do is to have a completed e-Supplementary Form, saved on a CD-ROM or disk, with a label showing the file number, business name and year of assessment. Together with a hard copy of the completed e-Supplementary Form, they will be used as supporting documents for filing. It is hoped that the modification will make it easier for taxpayers' e-filing of returns.

Taxpayers can visit the IRD website at www.ird.gov.hk for common questions and answers on how to complete the returns.

The spokesman also reminded taxpayers to file their correct tax returns on time.

Ends/Friday, April 1, 2005

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