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(Source : Government Information Centre)

Tax returns : what's new for 1999-2000


The Board of Inland Revenue recently specified the tax return forms which will be issued from April 2000. The Secretary to the Board, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Inland Revenue (Technical), Mrs Alice Lau, said today (Monday, April 3) that a number of changes have been incorporated into the returns this year.

"The changes are intended to make it easier for taxpayers to complete the returns correctly and for the Department to process them." Mrs Lau said.

For individuals, the information required to be supplied is substantially the same as before. As to corporations, there is a new question concerning e-commerce. They are required to simply state "yes" or "no" as to whether or not they were involved in Internet trading during the year.

Mrs Lau said, "The Inland Revenue Ordinance applies equally to Internet and traditional transactions. Answers to the question will help the Department to become aware of the extent and nature of Internet trading activities and hence facilitate planning for future developments."

The profits tax returns also contain a new part which require financial data to be transcribed from the accounts of the taxpayers' businesses. Mrs Lau explained, "This is intended as a preparatory step towards modifying the return forms for electronic lodgement and to facilitate the collection of statistics for assessment purposes."

A benefit resulting from the financial data provided on the returns is that a small business with gross income not exceeding $500,000 is no longer required to submit accounts and other supporting documents with its tax return.

"However, as in previous years, the accounts and the tax computation of a business must be prepared in order to ascertain its assessable profits before its tax return can be completed. In the case of a company, accounts must be audited unless the law of its place of incorporation does not impose such a requirement. The Department may request the submission of such documents for examination in relation to its enquiries." Mrs Lau added.

Today, 140,000 profits tax returns, 90,000 property tax returns and 210,000 employer's returns have been issued. Mrs Lau reminded taxpayers to file their returns on time. As regards individual tax returns, about 1.9 million copies are scheduled to be issued on May 2, 2000.

Constituted under section 3 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance, the Board of Inland Revenue operates independently of the Inland Revenue Department. Besides return forms for tax and personal assessment, it is also tasked with prescribing rates of annual allowance for depreciation on machinery and plant; and procedures relating to applications for refunds and relief and appeals procedures.

It has the Financial Secretary as its Chairman and four other appointed members. They are Mr. Marvin CHEUNG Kin-tung, Mr. Herbert TSOI Hak-kong, Dr. Michael WU Po-ko and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue (who is the ex officio member).

End/Monday, April 3, 2000