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(Source : Government Information Centre)

IRD strives for quality service


The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has achieved or exceeded all but one of its performance targets in 2003-04, the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mrs Lau Mak Yee-ming, Alice, said today (June 29).

Announcing the IRD's performance in 2003-04, she thanked taxpayers for showing their support to the department and attributed the IRD's achievement to the devotion of all staff who strived to provide high quality customer-oriented services. Mrs Lau said the department pledged to continue serving the public better by providing more varied and better quality services.

Since April, 2003, the department has increased efficiency in return processing. The time required for processing the majority of Property Tax Returns and Composite Tax Returns has been shortened from nine months to six months resulting in most taxpayers receiving their notices of assessment earlier. Taxpayers do not, however, have to settle their tax bills earlier. In fact, the IRD sets the time limit for tax payment at approximately the same date as previous years so as to allow taxpayers ample time to make the necessary financial arrangements.

"We are steadily improving our services. This year, the IRD has redesigned the internet filing procedures, introduced three new functions - 'retrieval', 'save and resume' and 'viewing and printing' - and offered a two-week extension to entice taxpayers to file their returns through the internet or by telephone. Up to mid-June, the number of e-returns received had already exceeded that for the whole of last year. To further boost the take-up rate, the IRD is studying the feasibility of sending e-composite tax returns to previous e-filers and designing a more user-friendly e-profits tax return. These plans will be implemented in phases over the next two years," she said.

Mrs Lau also thanked members of the IRD Users' Committee, an independent body comprised of professionals and academics, for the contributions they have made in monitoring and enhancing the department's performance.

At today's presentation ceremony for the IRD's 2004 Best Customer Service Awards, the committee members presented prizes to 20 individual and group winners chosen by taxpayers. "A taxpayer's vote means support and encouragement which provides a strong impetus for IRD to advance further," Mrs Lau said. "Our efforts were also recognised in the recent 2003-04 Outstanding Customer Service Award Competition organised by the Civil Service Bureau. The department was honoured to be selected as third place-getter in the department award category and champion in the counter service team award category."

The IRD's 2004-05 performance pledge and 2003-04 performance pledge annual report are available on the IRD website ( Copies are also available for collection at IRD offices and the Public Enquiry Service Centres of District Offices.

Ends/Tuesday, June 29, 2004