(Source : news.gov.hk)
Quality of IRD services unaffected by five-day week
The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will maintain the overall level and efficiency of services following its implementation of the five-day week on July 1.
A spokesman for the department stressed today (June 21) that the implementation of the five-day week would not bring about any reduction in service hours and service standards would remain unaffected. "We will ensure that our performance pledges are met within the current timeframes," the spokesman said.
He explained that in taking forward the five-day week initiative, the IRD had reviewed all the services and gone through the various ordinances administered by the department, obtained legal advice and secured the blessing of the department's Users' Committee. He said every endeavour would be made to minimise the impact of the change on the public.
From July 1, the department will extend its daily opening hours by 45 minutes on weekdays. The new opening hours will be 8.15am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday. All back offices and enquiry counters, including the IRD Central Enquiry Counter, the Business Registration Office and the Stamp Office, will be closed on Saturdays.
"There is no need to visit IRD in person," the spokesman said. "IRD offers a wide range of e-services. Taxpayers can file their tax returns, enquire about their personal tax position and pay tax through the Internet or a touch-tone phone. Property documents can be stamped online. Sole proprietors or business partners can apply for their business registrations online too. Enquiries on business registration numbers can also be made on the web. Closure on Saturdays will have little impact on the public."
As well as the extension of office hours on weekdays and the provision of e-services, the public can make use of other existing channels to comply with the statutory provisions following IRD's switch to a five-day week. These include the dissemination of tax information on the IRD website or the 24-hour Interactive Telephone Enquiry Service, the provision of a drop-in box and a leave-and-call-back facility. The public can also make payments at the Post Office or submit various applications by post.
For details of the department's five-day week arrangements and e-services, please visit the department's website (www.ird.gov.hk) or call the enquiry hotline 187 8088.
Ends/Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Issued at HKT 11:31