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IRD grants one-month extension to all eTAX filers


The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will grant an automatic extension of one month to all e-filers in an effort to encourage online filing of tax returns.

Addressing a press conference, the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mrs Alice Lau, said the department was sending out 2.08 million individual tax returns today (May 4). She reminded taxpayers to file their tax returns on time.

"As a one-month period is allowed for filing individual tax returns, the deadline falls on June 4 this year," Mrs Lau said, adding that eTAX users filing their tax returns online could have the deadline extended to July 4.

"For sole proprietor of un-incorporated businesses, a three-month period is allowed. The filing deadline is therefore August 4, which is extended to September 4 for eTAX filers," she said.

In this year's Budget, the Financial Secretary proposed a tax reduction of 50% for 2008-09, subject to a ceiling of $6,000 per case.

Mrs Lau said that salary earners should complete this year's tax return as usual and no application was needed for the tax reduction.

The Government has initiated the law amendment process. After enactment of the relevant legislation, IRD will effect the 2008-09 tax reduction in this year's tax bills.

"Individuals with rental and/or business income, if eligible, may elect personal assessment to enjoy such reduction. The personal assessment election can be made in their 2008-09 tax returns. IRD will check, in each case, whether the election will reduce the amount of tax payable, and assess each taxpayer in the way to his advantage," she said.

Mrs Lau also pointed out that when completing this year's tax return, if a taxpayer was certain that they would be earning significantly less in 2009-10 as a result of a cessation or change of employment, they could give details either by making a note on the tax return, or on a separate piece of paper.

She said the IRD would take into account the information and demand a smaller or zero amount of the 2009-10 provisional tax, but taxpayers were reminded to provide correct information or a penalty might be applicable.

The deduction ceiling for approved charitable donations has been raised to 35% of the taxpayer's income starting from the year of assessment 2008-09.

"Our department will step up audits on donation claims to guard against abuse," Mrs Lau said.

Taxpayers must put down the correct amount of donations made, and pay attention that only donations made to tax-exempt charities are tax deductible. A list of these tax-exempt charities can be found on the IRD website ( Donation receipts should be kept for seven years and submitted for IRD's examination when being called for.

Taxpayers having a problem when completing their tax returns may visit the IRD website for the e-Seminars. They may also seek help in the Q&A corner or call the enquiry hotline 187 8022. The service hours of the operators of this hotline will be extended, from May 4 to June 4, from 8.15am to 7pm on weekdays, and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. There is no operator service on public holidays.

On revenue collection, Mrs Lau said that $191.5 billion had been collected during 2008-09, a mild decrease of $9.2 billion from the last financial year. Following are the detailed figures:

2008-09 revenue collection (provisional figures)


Tax Type 2007-08
Actual Revenue
Provisional Figures
  ------------ ------------ ------------
Profits Tax 91,422.7 104,158 +14%
Salaries Tax 37,479.5 39,008 +4%
Property Tax & Personal
4,827.2 2,984 -38%
  ------------ ------------  
Total Earnings & Profits Tax 133,729.4 146,150 +9%
Estate Duty 353.4 176 -50%
Betting Duty 13,048.4 12,620 -3%
Stamp Duty 51,549.1 32,162 -38%
Business Registration Fee and Hotel Accommodation Tax 2,016.2 378 -81%
  ------------ ------------  
Total Revenue Collected 200,696.5 191,486 -5%


Ends/Monday, May 4, 2009
Issued at HKT 19:08