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(Source : Government Information Centre)

Government commences to accept electronic submission under law


The Government will accept electronic submission under the bulk of the statutory provisions in the laws of Hong Kong starting from today (April 7) as the relevant provisions in the Electronic Transactions Ordinance (Chapter 553) come into operation. Examples of submission which will benefit from this new arrangement are -

* the submission of tax return, notification of change of correspondence and correspondence on application for hold-over of provisional tax, objection, etc. to the Inland Revenue Department under the Inland Revenue Ordinance;

* notification of change in business registration particulars and cessation of business to the Inland Revenue Department under the Business Registration Ordinance;

* notification of change of personal particulars submitted in an application for a Hong Kong identity card to the Immigration Department under the Registration of Persons Regulations;

* the making of proposals and objections against rates and Government rent assessment by ratepayers and rentpayers to the Rating and Valuation Department under the Rating Ordinance and the Government Rent (Assessment and Collection) Ordinance respectively;

* notification to the Commissioner for Labour in respect of industrial process and operation and construction work under the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance;

* notification to the Commissioner of Labour of any work accidents for the purpose of claiming employees' compensation under the Employees' Compensation Ordinance;

* serving of various types of notices by authorized institutions to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority under the Banking Ordinance;

* applications for the issue of licence/certificate of exemption in respect of a residential care home for the elderly to the Social Welfare Department under the Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) Ordinance;

* application for licence for manufacture or storage of dangerous goods to the Fire Services Department under the Dangerous Goods Ordinance;

* notification of claim for goods seized by the Customs and Excise Department under the Import and Export Ordinance, the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance or the Copyright Ordinance;

* application for permit/licence for the importation, exportation or transshipment of chemicals used for the manufacturing of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances to the Customs and Excise Department under the Control of Chemicals Ordinance; or

* submission of an account of receipts and payments by a liquidator of a company which is being wound up by the court to the Official Receiver under the Companies Ordinance.

The Electronic Transactions Ordinance was passed by the Legislative Council on January 5 this year. Sections 5-8 concern the submission and retention of information in the form of electronic records and the use of digital signatures. These provisions came into effect today.

The Government also published in the Gazette today a notice specifying the format, manner and procedure which apply when making electronic submission to the Government under law. These include the coding schemes for the languages used in the electronic records, the manner of delivery of the electronic records, the file format adopted, the file format used for graphics, and the requirement of digital signature, etc.

A central register of the specified format, manner and procedure for different kinds of electronic submission is kept at the web site of the Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau ( as well as the Interactive Government Services Directory web site ( for public information. Those departments which will accept electronic submissions under law have also made arrangements to handle public enquiries on the specified administrative measures.

"It is the Government's policy objective to promote the wider adoption of electronic transactions in Hong Kong so as to foster the development of electronic commerce," a spokesman for the Information Technology and Broadcasting Bureau said.

"Government systems, however, cannot accept electronic information prepared using different types of software or technology. There is thus a need to specify the manner, format and procedure for making electronic submission to the Government under law.

"By accepting electronic submission under the bulk of our legislation, the Government sets a good example for the private sector to follow in adopting electronic commerce," the spokesman added.

End/Friday, April 7, 2000