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Submission of Employer's Return in Computerized Format

Starting from 14 May 2021, employers can apply for preparation of IR56 Form(s) in accordance with the Department’s requirements specifications by using self-developed software through an online e-service.

e-Acknowledgement and e-Approval will be sent to the applicants via email. Applicants can check the status and result of their applications through this online e-service.

Starting from 1 April 2023 onwards, the Department will CEASE to accept the use of:

(1) IRD IR56B Software and
(2) Employer’s Self-developed Software of the data file in TXT format

for preparation and submission of the data file of Annual Form IR56Bs.

Employers are required to change to use the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool OR enhance their program in accordance with the new requirements specification and submit the testing file through the e-application of electronic services for the Department’s approval as soon as possible.



IR56 Forms Preparation Tool

The IR56 Forms Preparation Tool (“Preparation Tool”) is a web-based application developed by the Department to provide a convenient way for employers to prepare up to 800 sets of IR56B or IR56F record in one single data file.  The Preparation Tool can be used by employers without any installation process.

Employers can designate a person to use the Preparation Tool to prepare the IR56B or IR56F data file online anytime.  The data file so prepared can be submitted to the Department either via the “Online Mode” (Login of the eTAX / "iAM Smart+" Account by an Authorized Signer is required) or the “Mixed Mode” (Login of the eTAX / "iAM Smart+" Account is NOT required) of the ER e-Filing Services. Under the Mixed Mode, employers can designate a person to upload the data file to the Department.  After successful uploading of the data file, the Authorized Signer only needs to sign and submit the paper Control List (with Transaction Reference Number and QR code) generated by the system together with paper form BIR56A (if applicable) in order to complete the submission process.

To facilitate the distribution of the IR56 forms prepared by the Preparation Tool to employees, employers can either print the IR56 forms or export a soft copy of the forms.

For details on how to use the Preparation Tool, please read User Guide of IR56 Forms Preparation Tool.

Start Using the Tool


IRD IR56B Software

Starting from April 2019, the IRD IR56B Software is no longer available for employers to download.  Instead, a web-based IR56 Forms Preparation Tool (“Preparation Tool”), which does not require installation and is more user-friendly, has been provided to employers to prepare the electronic records of forms IR56B and IR56F.


Existing Users of IRD IR56B Software Version 4.1 and 4.2

The IRD IR56B Software is an application software, which requires installation, provided to employers to prepare IR56B data file for the submission of the annual Employer's Return. The version 4.2 runs on Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows 7 or above.

IR56B records prepared by IRD IR56B Software version 4.1 and 4.2 are still accepted by the Department.  However, employers are recommended to switch to use the Preparation Tool. Employers may refer to FAQ 57 for the detailed steps to import your employees’ personal particulars from the data file exported from the IRD IR56B Software into the Preparation Tool.

If you encounter problems when using the IRD IR56B Software, please refer to the Installation and Operation Guide for IRD IR56B Software and FAQ (Using the IRD IR56B Software).  Alternatively, you may consider to use the Preparation Tool.


Existing Users of IRD IR56B Software Version 3.5

IRD IR56B Software version 3.5 runs on Windows 2000 / Window XP of which Microsoft has already stopped providing security updates and technical support.  IR56B records prepared by IRD IR56B Software version 3.5 will not be accepted soon.

Employers are recommended to switch to use the Preparation Tool and prepare the data file afresh as soon as possible.


Existing Users of IRD IR56B Software Versions 3.41 or 4.0

IRD IR56B Software versions 3.41 and 4.0 failed to cater for the requirement of reporting the payment in lieu of notice accrued to an employee, which is assessable to Salaries Tax from 1 April 2012.  The Department does NOT accept IR56B records prepared by IRD IR56B Software versions 3.41 or 4.0 with effect from 1 April 2016.

Employers are recommended to switch to use the Preparation Tool and prepare the data file afresh as soon as possible.


Notes: We accept no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage which may be incurred by the use of the IRD IR56B Software. 

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Self-developed Software (Softcopy or printed in A4)

Employers can develop their own software in accordance with the Department's requirements specifications to facilitate the filing of the Employer's Return / Notification in computerized format (softcopy / printout).  However, employers must obtain written approval before they can file the respective IR56 forms in computerized format to the Department by using the Self-developed Software.


Requirements Specifications

Please select and click to browse the relevant requirements specifications of various forms: 

Data Table
Requirements Specification Submission in
IR56B Softcopy
IR56E Printout in A4
IR56F Softcopy
IR56G Printout in A4
IR56M Softcopy

The IR56B and IR56F data files in XML format prepared by approved Self-developed Software can be submitted via the ER e-Filing Services (Online Mode and Mixed Mode) with a limit of 800 sets of IR56 forms in one data file in each transaction.  Please click here for detail.

Please note that the Department does not accept an application for submission of the Forms IR56F and IR56M in computerized printout.  However, employers who have obtained approval under the old requirements specifications can continue to submit the IR56F or IR56M forms printed by the approved Self-developed Software until further notice.  However, employers are encouraged to make changes to their software so as to comply with the above requirements specifications.  A fresh approval is required.

For enquiries, please contact the Department at telephone number 183 5310 during office hours at 8:15 am to 12:15 pm and 1:15 pm to 5:30 pm from Monday to Friday.

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