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PRESS RELEASE

(Source : Information Services Department)

Over 2.5 million tax returns for individuals issued

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     The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) is sending out about 2.54 million tax returns for individuals today (May 3). The Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mr Wong Kuen-fai, reminded taxpayers to file their tax returns on time by June 3. For sole proprietors of unincorporated businesses, a three-month period is allowed and the filing deadline is August 3. E-filers will have an automatic extension of one month.

     Mr Wong also reminded taxpayers to pay sufficient postage if they send the returns by post.

     In the Budget for this year, the Financial Secretary has proposed to increase the basic allowance, married person's allowance, single parent allowance and dependent parent/grandparent allowance, and to raise the deduction ceiling for elderly residential care expenses. He has also proposed a 75 per cent reduction of the profits tax, salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for the year of assessment 2015/16, subject to a ceiling of $20,000 per case. The Government has started the law amendment process. After enactment of the relevant legislation, the IRD will effect the tax measures in the 2015/16 tax bills.

     Mr Wong said taxpayers should complete this year's tax return as usual and no application was needed for the proposed tax measures.

     "Individuals with rental income, if eligible, may elect personal assessment in their tax returns to enjoy the tax reduction. The IRD will check, in each case, whether the election, taking into account the tax reduction, will reduce the amount of tax payable, and assess each taxpayer in a way to his best advantage," he added.

     Taxpayers may visit the IRD's website (www.ird.gov.hk) to read the material under "e-Seminars" if they have questions on completing their tax returns. They may also raise their questions in the "Q&A Corner". From today to June 3, except on Sundays and public holidays, the IRD will deploy additional staff to answer the telephone enquiries hotline 187 8022 and extend the service hours (up to 7pm on weekdays, and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays).

     Mr Wong also briefed on the latest developments on tax treaty negotiations and exchange of information.

     "Up to now, Hong Kong has signed Comprehensive Double Taxation Agreements (CDTAs) with 35 jurisdictions," he said.

     "Apart from avoiding double taxation, a CDTA is an important tool to prevent tax evasion. This is achieved through exchange of tax information. All of Hong Kong's CDTAs therefore contain an exchange of information article. The IRD exchanges tax information with contracting parties under the CDTAs and Tax Information Exchange Agreements that it has concluded. In order to provide a legislative framework for the implementation of automatic exchange of tax information in Hong Kong, the Government introduced the Inland Revenue (Amendment) Bill 2016 in the Legislative Council on January 20, 2016. We hope to have an early passage of the bill."

     On revenue collection, Mr Wong said that $291.3 billion was collected during 2015-16, a decrease of some $10.6 billion as compared with the previous year. The breakdown is as follows:

2015-16 revenue collection (provisional figures)
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Tax Type  

2015-16
Provisional
Revenue
($million)

  2014-15
Actual
Figures
($million)
  Change
    -----------   -----------   ------
Profits Tax   140,228   137,846.9   +2%
Salaries Tax   57,868   59,346.8   -2%
Property Tax &
Personal Assessment
  7,788    7,755.8   +0.4%
    -----------   -----------    
Total Earnings &
Profits Tax
  205,884   204,949.5   +0.5%
             
Estate Duty   30   178.2   -83%
Stamp Duty   62,681   74,844.9   -16%
Betting Duty   20,127   19,479.3   +3%
Business Registration Fees   2,607   2,480.6   +5%
    -----------   -----------    
Total Revenue Collected   291,329   301,932.5   -4%

Ends/Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:45

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