2002-03 Annual Report, Inland Revenue Department
(Text Only)

Taxpayer Services


IRD Homepage | IRD Info Touch | Electronic Enquiry Services | Telephone and Counter Enquiry Services | Extended Counter and Telephone Enquiry Services | Complaints | Performance Pledges

The Department aims to provide service of a high standard to the public. Particular emphasis is placed on making relevant information readily available to taxpayers. Various means are used, such as the Internet, "Info Touch" information kiosks, electronic enquiry services and an interactive telephone answering system. Steps are taken to review and enhance these services in a better service environment for the public. During the year, the Department completed refurbishing its Enquiry Service Centre on the 1/F of the Revenue Tower. With the addition of chairs, an electronic queuing system and IRD Internet Booths, the newly–refurbished Enquiry Service Centre provides a more convenient, comfortable and information rich environment to the public.

IRD Homepage

Through its homepage, the Department continues to expand the scope of tax information and provide a wider range of electronic service, so that any person interested to know more about taxes in Hong Kong may do so any time, anywhere.

More and more taxpayers rely on the homepage to

get information on how to complete tax returns, fulfil tax obligations and find solutions to common tax issues;
• download IRD software and tax forms; and
• use the interactive application software to compute their salaries tax liability.

New programmes introduced to the homepage include a Tax Representatives' Corner, as well as e-Seminars for employers, property owners and individuals taxpayers.

In 2002-03, a simplified Chinese version was added to facilitate viewers from China. More than 9,000,000 "visits" were made to the homepage during the year, representing an increase of almost 100% over the previous year.

IRD Info Touch

The Department had 5 multi-media information kiosks, set up in Revenue Tower, Mongkok Government Office and Tsuen Wan Sub-office, to provide members of the public with tax information through screen touching.

The number of users in 2002-03 was 15,870 and the most frequently accessed enquiry category was "Salaries Tax Computation"?

In the light of the popularity in using the Internet and for the provision of a wider range of in-depth tax information, the Department has installed 4 IRD Internet Booths since 1 April 2003 to replace the information kiosks which had been used for years.

Electronic Enquiry Services

With effect from 1 April 2002, electronic enquiry services are not only available on the Internet to holders of digital certificates, they are also available on the telephone to the registered users of TeleTax. By using his Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and password, a registered TeleTax user can use a touch-tone phone to check his personal tax information, including tax return lodgement status, assessment status, charge payment status and tax reserve certificate account balances. He can also request duplicate returns or assessment notices, payment confirmations or tax reserve certificate account statements anytime, anywhere via the telephone.

With the same TIN and password, a taxpayer can enquire about his personal tax information on the Internet through the Interactive Tax Enquiry service under the Electronic Service Delivery Scheme too. Such a service was formerly available to those with digital certificates.

Telephone and Counter Enquiry Services

The Department's Enquiry Service Centre handles telephone and counter enquiries. The Centre, equipped with computer network, aims at providing an immediate "one-stop" service as far as possible.

The Centre makes use of an Interactive Telephone Enquiry System with 120 telephone lines. Callers can, on a 24-hour basis, gain access to a wide range of tax information by listening to recorded messages or obtaining facsimile copies of the information and forms. A leave-and-call-back facility is available. Callers are able to speak to enquiry officers during office hours.

Over 1.37 million telephone calls were answered by the Centre during the year (Figure 35). The number of calls answered by staff was some 0.69 million. This represented a slight increase of 0.8%, as compared with the previous year (Figure 36). The increase was attributable to the redeployment of staff to strengthen operator services when required.

Figure 35 Number of telephone calls answered
Telephone calls 2001-02 2002-03
Answered by staff 683,719 689,095
Answered by system 908,876 686,062
Total 1,592,595 1,375,157

Figure 36 Telephone Enquiries
Telephone Enquiries 2001-02 2002-03 Increase / Decrease
Number of calls answered by staff 683,719 689,095 +0.8%
Number of enquiries answered by staff 811,322 789,163 -2.7%
Numner of calls answered by system 908,876 686,062 -24.5%
Number of leave-and-call back messages 84,533 70,631 -16.4%
Number of fax supplied by the system 20,564 12,757 -38.0%

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. A taxpayer service team with professionally qualified staff is also stationed in the Centre. The members of this team handle more complex cases. As other enquiry channels, notably electronic ones, become increasingly popular, the number of counter enquiries decreased by 7.9%, as compared with the previous year (Figure 37).


Figure 37 Counter Enquiries
Counter Enquiries 2001-02 2002-03
Number of callers 297,617 272,452
Number of enquiries 608,389 560,128

To make it easier for taxpayers to obtain tax information pamphlets and forms, two form stands were installed; one on the ground floor and the other on the first floor of the Revenue Tower.

Extended Counter and Telephone Enquiry Services

To assist taxpayers in completing tax returns, the Department's Enquiry Service Centre at the Revenue Tower as well as the Kowloon and Tsuen Wan sub-offices were open in the afternoons of 25 and 26 May 2002(Saturday & Sunday) to provide enquiry services after office hours. To further strengthen the enquiry service, the Department extended hours during which the telephone enquiry service was manned in May, until 7 p.m. from Mondays to Fridays and 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Provision of these services was made possible through enlisting the support of the Efficiency Unit and some 700 IRD staff to serve the public beyond normal duty hours.


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 2002-03, 469 complaints cases were received (Figure 38). This represents a decrease of 15%, as compared with the previous year.

Figure 38 Complaint cases
Complaint cases 2001-02 2002-03
Not Substantiated 267 309
Partially Substantiated 196 105
Substantiated 87 55
Total 550 469

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 18 cases. In the light of these cases, the Department has reviewed relevant operations with a view to improving them.

There were 104 Letters of Compliments received during the year. Three officers of the Department also won individual awards from the Ombudsman.

Performance Pledges

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

From April 2002 onwards, the Department has introduced 2 enhanced pledges in processing new business registration certificates and updating changes of business registration particulars.

Results of Performance Pledge
Service Target Achievement
Counter enquiries
attended to within 10 minutes (in peak times)
95% 99.2%
Telephone enquiries
answered within 3 minutes (in peak period)
80% 82.2%
Written enquiries - simple matters
replied within 10 working days
99% 100%
Written enquiries - technical matters
replied within 25 working days
98% 99.7%
Returns processing - Profits tax returns
assessed within 9 months
80% 87.1%
Returns processing - Property tax returns
assessed within 9 months
96% 99.1%
Returns processing - Composite tax returns
assessed within 9 months
96% 99%
Tax returns for first-time - Profits tax taxpayers
issued within 3 months
98% 100%
Tax returns for first-time - Salaries taxpayers
issued within 5 months
98% 99.9%
Request for issuance of Notice of No Objection for Company Deregistration
processed within 25 working days
98% 100%
Tax reserve certificate transactions
processed within 14 working days (in peak period)
98% 100%
Acknowledgements of objection
processed within 21 working days (in peak period)
98% 99.8%
Processing of objections
processed within 4 months
98% 100%
Applications for holdover of provisional tax
processed within 14 working days
98% 99.6%
Issue receipts for tax payments made by electronic means
issued within 7 working days
98% 100%
Refunds arising from overpayment of tax
made within 25 working days
98% 99.1%
Refunds arising from revision of assessment
made within 25 working days
98% 100%
Tax audit and investigation
processed within 2 years
80% 89.2%
Assignments and sale and purchase agreements
stamped within 6 working days
98% 100%
Application for deferred payment of Stamp Duty on agreements for sale of residential property
processed within 6 working days
98% 100%
Contract notes and lease agreements
stamped on the same day
98% 99.9%
Claims for exemption (for transfers between group companies)
processed within 3 months
80% 93%
New business registration certificates -
Application over the counter
issued within 30 minutes
99% 99.1%
New business registration certificates -
Application by post
issued within 2 working days
99% 100%
Extracts information of business registration
issued within 2 working days
99% 100%
Change of business registration particulars
updated within 6 working days
99% 100%
Estate duty affidavits / statements in lieu of affidavit
dutiable or complicated cases finalized within 3 years
90% 92.1%

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(Last updated/reviewed : February 4, 2004)