Inland Revenue Department 2008-09 Annual Report
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Vision, Mission and Values
Commissioner's Overview
Assessing Functions
Field Audit and Investigation
Taxpayer Services
Information Technology
Human Resources
Legislative Amendments
Environmental Report
Taxpayer Services
The Inland Revenue Department aims to provide high quality customer-oriented services. Particular emphasis is placed on making relevant information readily available to taxpayers. Various means are used, such as the Internet, electronic enquiry services and an interactive telephone answering system.

IRD Homepage

The IRD Homepage remains an important platform for disseminating tax information to the public. With contents expanded and updated regularly, the Homepage provides a ready means for taxpayers to obtain the most current information about taxes in Hong Kong anytime, anywhere.

Through the Homepage, members of the public can:

obtain information on how to complete tax returns, fulfil tax obligations and find answers to frequently asked questions;
  download IRD software and tax forms;
  use the interactive program to calculate their liability under salaries tax and personal assessment; and
  access to the personalised on-line tax services provided by the Department under eTAX.

Other programmes available in the Homepage include a Tax Representatives' Corner, as well as e-Seminars for employers, property owners and individual taxpayers.

Besides the Homepage, information on a wide range of topics is also disseminated to the public through GovHK.

Electronic Enquiry Services

The Department offers a wide range of electronic enquiry services which serve as convenient alternatives to enquiries in person or by post. Electronic enquiry services are available through eTAX.

Telephone and Counter Enquiry Services

The Department's Enquiry Service Centre handles telephone and counter enquiries. The Centre is equipped with a computer network linked to the Department's Knowledge Database and aims to provide, as far as possible, an immediate "one-stop" service.

The Centre makes use of an Interactive Telephone Enquiry System, with 144 telephone lines to provide service. Callers can gain access on a 24-hour basis to a wide range of tax information by listening to recorded messages and obtaining facsimile copies of the information and forms. Callers can choose to speak to operators during office hours. A "Leave-and-call-back" facility, for recording information requests, and a "Fax-in enquiry" service are also available. The Centre also provides an eTAX help desk hotline to support users of eTAX services at <>.

About 1.23 million telephone calls were answered by the Centre during the year. The number of calls answered by staff was 0.67 million (Figures 35 and 36).

Figure 35   Number of telephone calls answered

This is a bar-chart showing number of telephone calls answered by staff and system for 2007-08 and 2008-09.
The figures are as follows:
In 2007-08, the number of telephone calls answered is 1,099,385, including 644,818 answered by staff and 454,567 answered by system,
In 2008-09, the number of telephone calls answered is 1,226,166, including 669,238 answered by staff and 556,928 answered by system.

Figure 36   Telephone enquiries

Increase / Decrease
  No. of calls answered by staff
  No. of enquiries answered by staff
  No. of calls answered by system
  No. of leave-and-call-back messages
  No. of fax supplied by the system

Counter staff of the Centre are generally able to handle enquiries, collect mail and issue forms without the need to refer to other officers in the Department.

Counter enquiries are attended within the shortest possible time. The Centre's electronic queuing system ensures that taxpayers are served in the order of their tag number. The number of counter enquiries handled during the year was 0.56 million (Figure 37).

Information leaflets on topics of general interest are available at the two form stands located on the ground and first floors of Revenue Tower. The public may also obtain tax information and download forms from the Department's web site<>.

Figure 37   Counter enquiries

This is a bar-chart showing number of callers and number of counter enquiries for 2007-08 and 2008-09.
The figures are as follows:
In 2007-08, the number of callers is 222,425 and the number of counter enquiries is 543,962,
In 2008-09, the number of callers is 226,476 and the number of counter enquiries is 562,842.

Tax-help Services for Completion of Tax Returns

On the IRD Homepage we provide e-Seminars for tax representatives, employers, property owners and individual taxpayers. Information on how to complete tax returns, fulfil tax obligations and overcome difficulties in compliance are uploaded. After reading the information, taxpayers can raise enquiries electronically at the "Q&A Column". IRD will reply the questions on a regular basis.

IRD issued tax returns to all individual taxpayers on 2 May 2008. To answer taxpayers' enquiries on tax filing, the Department extended service hours of telephone operators from that date for one month, up to 7 p.m. from Mondays to Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Complaints and Compliments

If a taxpayer is dissatisfied with the services provided by the Department or cannot solve his or her problem satisfactorily through normal channels, the Complaints Officer may be approached for assistance. The complaint channel provides taxpayers with the means of having individual grievances dealt with independently at a senior level. This ensures that such cases are properly handled in a fair and unbiased manner. During 2008-09, 343 complaints cases were received (Figure 38). This represents a decrease of 3%, as compared with the previous year.

If a taxpayer is dissatisfied with any administrative action taken by the Department, the person concerned may refer the matter to the Ombudsman. During the year, the Ombudsman sought written comments from the Department in respect of 12 cases. In the light of these cases, the Department has reviewed relevant operations with a view to improving them.

Figure 38   Complaint cases

This is a bar-chart showing analysis of complaint cases for 2007-08 and 2008-09.
The figures are as follows:
In 2007-08, 355 complaint cases, including 212 not substantiated, 104 partially substantiated and 39 substantiated cases,
In 2008-09, 343 complaint cases, including 220 not substantiated, 100 partially substantiated and 23 substantiated cases.

Taxpayers may compliment the service of Inland Revenue Department. During the year, 104 Letters of Compliments were received.

Performance Pledges

The service standards a taxpayer can expect from IRD are set out in the Performance Pledges. Through the performance pledge programme, a customer-oriented culture has taken a strong hold within the Department.