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Record Keeping

  1. Section 51C of the Inland Revenue Ordinance requires every person carrying on a trade, profession or business in Hong Kong to keep sufficient records in the English or Chinese language of his income and expenditure to enable the assessable profits to be readily ascertained.
  2. Such records shall be retained for a period of not less than 7 years.
  3. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Ordinance without reasonable excuse may be liable to a maximum fine of $100,000.
  4. The records prescribed in the Ordinance include :-
    a. books of accounts recording receipts and payments, or income and expenditure; 
    b. vouchers, bank statements, invoices, receipts; 
    c. records of the assets and liabilities of the person in relation to that trade, profession or business;
    d. records of all entries from day to day of all sums of money received and expended in relation to that trade, profession or business;
    e. where that trade, profession or business involves dealing in goods - 
      i. a record of all goods purchased, and all goods sold in the carrying on of that trade, profession or business showing the goods, and the sellers and buyers in sufficient detail to enable the Commissioner to readily verify the quantities and values of the goods and the identities of the sellers and buyers, and all invoices relating thereto; 
      ii. statements of trading stock held by the person at the end of the accounting period and all records of stocktakings from which any such statement of trading stock has been prepared;
    f. where that trade, profession or business involves the provision of services, records of the services provided in sufficient detail to enable the Commissioner to readily verify the entries.
  5. You may download a copy of the Information Pamphlet "A GUIDE TO KEEPING BUSINESS RECORDS" for reference.
  6. For requirements of business records kept in electronic form, you may also download a copy of the Information Pamphlet "ADMISSIBILITY OF BUSINESS RECORDS KEPT IN ELECTRONIC FORM FOR TAX PURPOSES" for reference.
  7. PDF file can be opened by Adobe Acrobat Reader which is available at the Adobe Systems Incorporated.