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  Home > Tax Information - Others > Business Registration > "Business" Required to be Registered and Application for Business Registration

"Business" Required to be Registered and Application for Business Registration

"Business" Required to be Registered 


  • any form of trade, commerce, craftsmanship, profession, calling or other activity carried on for the purpose of gain;
  • any club which provides facilities, services and exclusive club premises to its members for social intercourse or recreation; and
  • every company incorporated in Hong Kong in accordance with the Companies Ordinance or non-Hong Kong company that has established a place of business in Hong Kong, regardless of whether it is actually carrying on any business in Hong Kong.
  • every non-Hong Kong company that has a representative or liaison office in Hong Kong, or has let out its property situated in Hong Kong, regardless of whether it has established a place of business in Hong Kong.

However, a person who is only holding an office or employment is not regarded as carrying on any business and is not required to apply for business registration.

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When to Register 

  • Business carried on by Sole-proprietorship, Partnership and Unincorporated body of persons, Non-Hong Kong company, and Branch business
    • Within one month from its date of commencement of business.
  • A company incorporated/registered under the Companies Ordinance

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Applications for Registration of Business which has not commenced business will not be accepted 

Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310) provides that any person carrying on sole proprietorship or partnership business shall apply for business registration within one month of the commencement of such business. The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will not accept any applications for registration of businesses which have never existed or have yet to commence operation.

Recently, IRD has received a large number of new applications for registration of businesses of which non-residents are sole proprietors or partners. However, many of them fail to prove that they did commence their businesses in Hong Kong. Such applications are not accepted.

Given that persons who land in Hong Kong as visitors are normally not allowed to establish or join in any business during their stay in Hong Kong, IRD will require businesses with non-resident sole proprietor or partners to provide further information (see Sample Questions) with a view to ensuring that the particulars, including the date of commencement, stated in the relevant application form are correct. Please note that any person who submits false information shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of $5,000 and to imprisonment for 1 year under the Business Registration Ordinance.

As a related measure, upon receipt of Notification of Change of Partners (Form IRBR64) for admission of non-resident(s) as partner(s), IRD will ask the business concerned to provide further information (see questions (1) and (2) of Sample Questions) in support of the admission.

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How to Register 

  • To register a business, you have to:
  • Levy is collected for the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund. For details, please visit the website of Labour Department.
  • Please refer to the following table for the application form to be completed and the proof of identity required:
Business carried on by Proof of Identity Application Form

A copy of the owner's Hong Kong identity card. For non-Hong Kong resident, a copy of passport or identity card issued by the Mainland [Note 1]


Form 1(a)
Body corporate
[Note 2]

A copy of the Certificate of Incorporation or its equivalent issued by the relevant government authority in the place of incorporation. If the aforesaid document is not in Chinese or English, please also supply a certified copy of the English or Chinese translation thereof.


Form 1(b)

Copies of all partners' Hong Kong identity cards. For non-Hong Kong residents, a copy of the passports or the identity cards issued by the Mainland [Note 1]


Form 1(c)
Unincorporated body of persons

A copy of the principal officer's Hong Kong identity card. For non-Hong Kong residents, a copy of the passports or the identity cards issued by the Mainland [Note 1]


Form 1(c)
Branch nil Form 1(d)
Note 1: If the owner/all partners/the principal officer is/are not residing in Hong Kong, he has/they have to appoint a resident individual as his/their agent for the purposes of business registration. In that case, please complete and submit the form IRBR177 or submit an appointment letter stating the full particulars of the agent including his name, Hong Kong identity card number and residential address. A copy of his Hong Kong identity card must also be attached to the application.
Note 2: This application form is applicable to all non-Hong Kong companies irrespective of whether they are required to register under Part XI of the Companies Ordinance, and body corporates formed under other legislations in Hong Kong.
  • For specimen of the application forms, please click here.

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Business Name 

  • When you register your business, you may register a business name. You should take one of the following three choices:

    (a) register a Chinese name only;

    (b) register an English name only; or

    (c) register both a Chinese name and an English name.
  • For a Chinese name, you may include English alphabets, but not English words. If you wish to include symbols in either a Chinese name or an English name, only the following symbols can be used:
    1. For Chinese Name
    2. For English Name
      ! # $ % & *
      ' ( ) + - =
      : ; , . < >
      ? / @ \    
  • Please note that you may not use the following names as your business name:

    (a) a name which suggests that the business is incorporated with limited liability when it is not,

    (b) where the business is incorporated with limited liability, a name which suggests that the business is incorporated under a different name, e.g. a corporation "ABC Ltd." cannot use a business name "XYZ Ltd." or

    (c) a name which suggests a connection with the Government or any public body when no such connection exists or has existed.
  • Sometimes, for the same business, you may wish to register more than one business name. This is permissible. However, each registered additional business name will be treated as a branch of the business. The additional business name must also follow the rules mentioned above.
  • If you carry on more than one business, you should register each business separately. Each business may have its own business name.

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How to Submit Your Application 

  • Submit in person to the Business Registration Office at 4/F Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
  • By post to P.O. Box 29015, Gloucester Road Post Office, Hong Kong.
  • Submit online via eTAX (for sole-proprietorship, partnership and branch registration only). Please refer to How to Authenticate Electronic Application For Business Registration and the Freqently Asked Questions.
    If you wish to know more about the "Online Application for Business or Branch Registration" service, please click here to view Online Demo.


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How to Authenticate Electronic Application for Business Registration 

  • With effect from 21 February 2011, apart from digital certificate, an applicant may use his eTAX Password or MyGovHK Password (already linked up with eTAX account) to sign the prescribed application form (Form 1(a), 1(c) or 1(d)) in making an application for business registration. Please refer to Apply for eTAX Password and the Frequently Asked Questions.
  • A person who makes the application for business registration by using his/her password or digital signature will be treated as having signed the application form and is accountable for the accuracy of the information submitted.

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How to Obtain Business Registration Application Forms 

  • Send e-mail to or fax your request to 2824 1482.
    • Please state your name, correspondence address and the form number and quantity required.
  • Obtain in person at the Business Registration Office at 4/F of Revenue Tower, Wan Chai


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Specimen of Application Forms 

  • You may download a specimen of the following application forms for reference. The specimen forms are saved in pdf format which can be viewed and printed by using the Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or above and Adobe Asian Fonts Packs which are available free at the Adobe Systems Incorporated website.
  • Download copy MUST NOT be used for submission of application. Only forms that are printed by and according to the specifications of the Department are acceptable for application purposes.
  • Application forms are available for collection at the Business Registration Office. You may also complete the form IRBR194 or write to us to obtain the application forms. Please state your name, your correspondence address and the type of application form you required in the letter , and return it either by post or fax (2824 1482). The application forms will be sent to you afterwards.

    (1)Form 1(a) (PDF:1,069KB) - Application by an individual for registration of business carried on by him in Hong Kong.
    (2)Form 1(b) (PDF:1,268KB) - Application by a body corporate for registration.
    (3)Form 1(c) (PDF:1,290KB) - Application by partnership or by other body unincorporate for registration of business carried on by such body in Hong Kong.
    (4)Form 1(d) (PDF:890KB) - Application for registration of branch business carried on in Hong Kong.

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When to Collect Business Registration Certificate 

Application Channel   Standard Response Time
In person to the New Application Counter at Business Registration Office at 4/F, Revenue Tower, Wan Chai   Issued within 30 minutes of receipt of properly completed application
By post or through the GovHK   Issued within 2 working days of receipt of properly completed application

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Failure to apply for Business Registration on time 

  • Any person who fails to apply for business registration shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine of $5,000 and to imprisonment for 1 year.
  • Any person who applies for business registration more than 12 months after the commencement of business has to pay:
    (a) business registration fee and levy for the current year; and
    (b) any business registration fee and levy for back years under section 7(3) of the Business Registration Ordinance.

    A business commenced on 5 October 2009 but applied for business registration only on 13 March 2012.

    Total business registration fee and levy payable for application in paper:

    Current Year-        
    Validity Period: 5.10.2011 to 4.10.2012 $ 2,450  
    Back Years-        
    Validity Period: 5.10.2010 to 4.10.2011 $ 450 *
    Validity Period: 5.10.2009 to 4.10.2010 $ 450 *
      Total amount payable $ 3,350  

    * Business registration fee of $2,000 was waived under Revenue (Reduction of Business Registration Fees) Order.

    Regarding the business registration applied through the e-TAX, please refer to Q9 of “FAQ on Application for Business Registration Through the Internet” for details.


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