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(Source : Information Services Department)

2.6 million tax returns for individuals issued


      The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) is sending out about 2.6 million tax returns for individuals today (May 2). The Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mr Wong Kuen-fai, reminded taxpayers to file their tax returns on time by June 2. For sole proprietors of unincorporated businesses, a three-month period is allowed and the filing deadline is August 2. E-filers will have an automatic extension of one month.
      Mr Wong also reminded taxpayers to pay sufficient postage if they send in the returns by post.
      In the Budget for this year, the Financial Secretary has proposed to widen and increase the number of the tax bands and adjust the marginal tax rates for salaries tax; introduce a personal disability allowance; increase the basic and additional child allowances; increase the dependent parent/grandparent allowance and additional allowance; raise the deduction ceiling for elderly residential care expenses; and remove the current restriction and allow a husband and wife the option to decide whether to elect for personal assessment separately. He has also proposed a 75 per cent reduction of the profits tax, salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for the year of assessment 2017/18, subject to a ceiling of $30,000 per case. The Government has started the law amendment process. After enactment of the relevant legislation, the IRD will effect the tax measures in the 2017/18 tax bills.
      Mr Wong said taxpayers should complete this year's tax return as usual and no application is needed for the proposed tax measures.
      "Individuals with rental income, if eligible, may elect personal assessment in their tax returns to enjoy the tax reduction. The IRD will check, in each case, whether the election, taking into account the tax reduction, will reduce the amount of tax payable, and assess each taxpayer in a way to his best advantage," he added.
      "A two-tiered profits tax rates regime is to be implemented from the year of assessment 2018/19 onwards. The profits tax rate for the first $2 million of assessable profits of corporations and unincorporated businesses will be lowered to 8.25 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively. Profits above that amount will continue to be subject to the corporation rate of 16.5 per cent and the standard rate of 15 per cent. For connected entities, the two-tiered rates will only be applicable to one entity nominated among them."
      Taxpayers may visit the IRD's website ( to read the material under "e-Seminars" if they have questions on completing their tax returns. They may also raise their questions in the "Q&A Corner". From today to June 2, except on Sundays and public holidays, the IRD will deploy additional staff to answer the telephone enquiries hotline 187 8022 and extend the service hours up to 7pm on weekdays, and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.
      Mr Wong also briefed on the latest developments on tax treaty negotiations and automatic exchange of financial account information in tax matters (AEOI).
      "Up to March 31, 2018, Hong Kong has signed Comprehensive Double Taxation Agreements (CDTAs) with 39 jurisdictions and concluded CDTA negotiations with four countries," he said.
      "Hong Kong has signed bilateral Competent Authority Agreements with 15 countries for conducting AEOI. Given the continued expansion in the scope and network of tax information exchanges in the international community, Hong Kong needs to move from the established bilateral approach for implementing various new tax standards to riding on the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters to implement the relevant initiatives. The Inland Revenue (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 was gazetted on February 2, 2018, to provide the legal framework for Hong Kong to implement multilateral tax arrangements."
      On revenue collection, Mr Wong said that $328.6 billion was collected during 2017-18, an increase of $38.4 billion as compared with the previous year. The breakdown is as follows:
 2017-18 revenue collection (provisional figures)

Tax Type  


    -----------   -----------   ------
Profits Tax   139,091    139,238.1    -0.1% 
Salaries Tax   60,839    59,077.5    +3% 
Property Tax &
Personal Assessment
  8,792    8,591.7    +2% 
    -----------   -----------    
Total Earnings &
Profits Tax
  208,722    206,907.3    +1% 
Estate Duty   31    18.8    +65% 
Stamp Duty   95,173    61,899.0    +54% 
Betting Duty   21,959    21,119.0    +4% 
Business Registration Fees   2,727    227.7    +1098% 
    -----------   -----------    
Total Revenue Collected   328,612    290,171.8    +13% 

 Ends/Wednesday, May 2, 2018
 Issued at HKT 16:05