2014-15 Budget – Tax Measures
In his 2014-15 Budget, the Financial Secretary has proposed a number of tax measures. The relevant legislation of the following measures was passed on 25 June 2014 and gazetted on 4 July 2014:
- Reducing profits tax, salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for the year of assessment 2013/14
- Increasing dependent parent/grandparent allowance and raising the deduction ceiling for elderly residential care expenses
while the legislative amendment for the following measure is still in progress:
Highlights of the measures and implementation details are set out in the following paragraphs. Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) and illustrative examples showing how the measures would reduce taxpayers’ salaries tax and tax under personal assessment are also provided.
Profits tax, salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for the year of assessment 2013/14 are reduced by 75%, subject to a ceiling of $10,000 per case.
For profits tax, the ceiling of the tax reduction is applied to each business. For salaries tax, the ceiling is applied to each individual taxpayer; but for couples jointly assessed, the ceiling is applied to each couple. For personal assessment, single taxpayers will each be subject to the ceiling. Married couples must make their personal assessment election together and the ceiling will therefore apply to each couple.
A taxpayer who is separately chargeable to salaries tax and profits tax can enjoy tax reduction under each of the tax types. For a taxpayer having business profits or rental income and electing for personal assessment, the reduction will be based on the tax payable under personal assessment. It might be different from the amount of tax reduction he would get if he was not assessed under personal assessment. The exact position will need to be evaluated case by case. The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will check if the election will reduce the amount of tax payable in each case, and assess each taxpayer in the way most advantageous to him.
To apply for personal assessment, if eligible, the taxpayer should complete Part 6 of his tax return for individuals for the year of assessment 2013/14. Individuals having salaries income only, but no business profits and rental income, need not elect for personal assessment.
The reduction will reduce taxpayers’ amount of tax payable for the year of assessment 2013/14. Taxpayers should file their profits tax returns and tax returns for individuals for the year of assessment 2013/14 as usual. IRD will effect the reduction in the final assessment. For any final assessment for 2013/14 issued before the enactment of the law, IRD will make a reassessment after the enactment. It is expected that excess tax paid will be refunded starting from mid August 2014. Taxpayers are not required to make any applications or enquiries to IRD.
The tax reduction is only applicable to the final tax for the year of assessment 2013/14, but not to the provisional tax of the same year. The provisional tax paid will be applied to pay the final tax for the year of assessment 2013/14 and the provisional tax for the year of assessment 2014/15. Excess balance, if any, will be refunded.
The dependent parent/grandparent allowance for maintaining parents/grandparents is increased effective from the year of assessment 2014/15. The allowance for maintaining a dependent parent or grandparent aged 60 or above is increased from the present $38,000 to $40,000. The additional allowance for taxpayers residing with these parents or grandparents continuously throughout the year is also increased from $38,000 to $40,000 in respect of each dependant. The allowance for maintaining a dependent parent or grandparent aged between 55 and 59 is increased from the current $19,000 to $20,000. The same increase applies to the additional allowance for taxpayers residing with these parents/grandparents throughout the year, i.e. from $19,000 to $20,000 in respect of each dependant.
Taxpayers having parents or grandparents aged 60 or above admitted to residential care homes could claim deduction for elderly residential care expenses. The deduction ceiling for elderly residential care expenses is increased from the current $76,000 to $80,000 effective from the year of assessment 2014/15.
IRD will automatically apply the new level of allowances for maintaining dependent parents/grandparents in calculating the provisional salaries tax for the year of assessment 2014/15. Taxpayers who claim dependent parent/grandparent allowance in their returns for the year of assessment 2013/14 are not required to make separate applications for the increased allowances.
The Financial Secretary proposed to waive the stamp duty for the trading of all exchange traded funds. IRD will propose amendments to the Stamp Duty Ordinance.