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PRESS RELEASE

(Source : Government Information Centre)

Various administration fees to be revised

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The Government today (January 6) gazetted the Dutiable Commodities (Fee Revision) Regulation 2006, Inland Revenue Ordinance (Amendment of Schedules 5 and 11 - Fee Revision) Order 2006 and Business Registration (Fee Reduction) Regulation 2006 to revise certain fees for licences and services under the respective ordinances. The new fees will be introduced from March to May, 2006.

The fee items to be revised relate to

a. The issue of licences of traders of dutiable commodities and various certificates, storage for dutiable commodities and supervision of bonded warehouse under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance;

b. Applications requiring the Board of Review to state a case under Inland Revenue Ordinance (IRO);

c. The issue of notice of no-objection in respect of an application to deregister a private company under the Companies Ordinance in accordance with IRO; and

d. The issue of certified copies of Business Registration Certificate (BRC) and branch registration certificate, certified and uncertified extracts of information on the Business Register, duplicate BRC and duplicate branch registration certificate under the Business Registration Ordinance (BRO).

"Most of the fees covered were last revised in August, 2000. Most of them are not at full cost recovery level at 2005-06 prices, and their cost-recovery levels range from 3% to 94%. The fee revision would increase by 7% to 20% with a view to achieving full cost recovery within one to seven years," a government spokesman said.

"We also take this opportunity to reduce four fees for certain services provided by the Inland Revenue Department to the full cost level in one go.

"In line with the 'user pays' principle, it is the Government's policy that fees should in general be set at levels sufficient to recover the full cost of providing the services. However, the Government has frozen most fees and charges since 1998 as an exceptional measure to alleviate the financial burden on the public in times of economic difficulty. In both the 2000-01 and 2004-05 Budget Speeches, the Financial Secretary indicated the need to resume the revision of government fees and charges."

The spokesman said that the Legislative Council Panel on Financial Affairs was consulted on June 6, 2005. Members of the Panel did not object to the proposal.

"We have been taking measures to reduce or contain costs through implementing efficiency initiatives, reprioritising service provision and streamlining procedures. Substantial savings have been achieved for certain services including the issue of duplicate business registration certificates or duplicate branch registration certificates due to efforts to streamline work procedures and enhance the use of information technology. Over the years, these efforts have resulted in substantial lowering of the cost of providing such services and have created room for reduction of the related fees," the spokesman said.

"If the proposed fees and charges adjustments are implemented, it is estimated that there will be a net decrease of revenue of about $5.5 million in the first year," the spokesman said.

Ends/Friday, January 6, 2006
Issued at HKT 16:45

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