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"Business" Required to be Registered and Application for Business Registration


"Business" Required to be Registered 

Includes:

  • any form of trade, commerce, craftsmanship, profession, calling or other activity carried on for the purpose of gain;
  • any club which provides facilities, services and exclusive club premises to its members for social intercourse or recreation;
  • every company incorporated in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance or non-Hong Kong company that has established a place of business in Hong Kong, regardless of whether it is actually carrying on any business in Hong Kong;
  • every non-Hong Kong company that has a representative or liaison office in Hong Kong, or has let out its property situated in Hong Kong, regardless of whether it has established a place of business in Hong Kong; and
  • every limited partnership fund registered under the Limited Partnership Fund Ordinance, regardless of whether it is actually carrying on any business in Hong Kong.

However, a person who is only holding an office or employment is not regarded as carrying on any business and is not required to apply for business registration.

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When to Register 

  • Business carried on by Sole-proprietorship, Partnership (other than limited partnership fund) and Unincorporated body of persons, Non-Hong Kong company, and Branch business
    • Within one month from its date of commencement of business.
  • A company incorporated/registered under the Companies Ordinance
  • Limited partnership fund (Note)
    • Within one month from its date of registration
      Note: If, immediately before a fund is registered as a limited partnership fund, the partnership already holds a valid business registration certificate, the fund is required, within one month after the registration, to notify the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) the registration, the name in which the limited partnership fund is registered and the details of the general partner in the limited partnership fund, and submit a copy of the Certificate of Registration issued by the Companies Registry and a copy of the identity proof of the general partner.

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Applications for Registration of Business which has not commenced business will not be accepted 

Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310) provides that any person carrying on sole proprietorship or partnership business shall apply for business registration within one month of the commencement of such business. IRD will not accept any applications for registration of businesses which have never existed or have yet to commence operation.

Recently, IRD has received a large number of new applications for registration of businesses of which non-residents are sole proprietors or partners. However, many of them fail to prove that they did commence their businesses in Hong Kong. Such applications are not accepted.

Given that persons who land in Hong Kong as visitors are normally not allowed to establish or join in any business during their stay in Hong Kong, IRD will require businesses with non-resident sole proprietor or partners to provide further information (see Sample Questions) with a view to ensuring that the particulars, including the date of commencement, stated in the relevant application form are correct. Please note that any person who submits false information shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of $5,000 and to imprisonment for 1 year under the Business Registration Ordinance.

As a related measure, upon receipt of Notification of Change of Partners (Form IRBR64) for admission of non-resident(s) as partner(s), IRD will ask the business concerned to provide further information (see questions (1) and (2) of Sample Questions) in support of the admission.

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How to Register 

  • To register a business, you have to:
  • Levy is collected for the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund. For details, please visit the website of Labour Department.
  • Please refer to the following table for the application form to be completed and the proof of identity required:
How to Register
Business carried on by Proof of Identity Application Form
Individual

A copy of the owner's Hong Kong identity card. For non-Hong Kong resident, a copy of his/her passport or identity card issued by the relevant government authority. [Note 1]

 

Form 1(a)
Body corporate
[Note 2]

A copy of the Certificate of Incorporation or its equivalent issued by the relevant government authority in the place of incorporation. If the aforesaid document is not in Chinese or English, please also supply a certified copy of the English or Chinese translation thereof.

 

Form 1(b)
Partnership (other than limited partnership fund)

Copies of all partners' Hong Kong identity cards. For non-Hong Kong resident, a copy of  his/her passport or identity card issued by the relevant government authority. [Note 1]

 

Form 1(c)
Limited partnership fund

A copy of the Certificate of Registration issued by the Companies Registry and a copy of the Hong Kong identity card of the general partner. For non-Hong Kong resident, a copy of his/her passport or identity card issued by the relevant government authority. If the general partner is a company/limited partnership fund/limited partnership, a copy of its valid business registration certificate or certificate of incorporation/registration.

 

Form 1(ca)
Unincorporated body of persons

A copy of the principal officer's Hong Kong identity card. For non-Hong Kong resident, a copy of his/her passport or identity card issued by the relevant government authority. [Note 1]

 

Form 1(c)
Branch nil Form 1(d)
   
Note 1: If the owner/all partners/the principal officer is/are not residing in Hong Kong, he/she has/they have to appoint a resident individual as his/her/their agent for the purposes of business registration. In that case, please complete and submit the form IRBR177 or submit an appointment letter stating the full particulars of the agent including his/her name, Hong Kong identity card number and residential address. A copy of his/her Hong Kong identity card must also be attached to the application.
   
Note 2: This application form is applicable to all non-Hong Kong companies irrespective of whether they are required to be registered under Part 16 of the Companies Ordinance, and body corporates formed under other legislations in Hong Kong.
   
Note 3: Please refer to Purpose of Business Register and Privacy of Personal Data.
  • For specimen of the application forms, please click here.

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Business Name 

  • When you register your business, you may register a business name. You should take one of the following three choices:

    (a) register a Chinese name only;

    (b) register an English name only; or

    (c) register both a Chinese name and an English name.
  • For a Chinese name, you may include English alphabets, but not English words. If you wish to include symbols in either a Chinese name or an English name, only the following symbols can be used:
    1. For Chinese Name
      For Chinese Name
           
    2. For English Name
      For English Name
      ! # $ % & *
      ' ( ) + - =
      : ; , . < >
      ? @    
  • Please note that you may not use the following names as your business name:

    (a) a name which suggests that the business is incorporated with limited liability when it is not,

    (b) where the business is incorporated with limited liability, a name which suggests that the business is incorporated under a different name, e.g. a corporation "ABC Ltd." cannot use a business name "XYZ Ltd." or

    (c) a name which suggests a connection with the Government or any public body when no such connection exists or has existed.

    (d) a name that is not the name of the fund for the limited partnership fund.
  • Sometimes, for the same business, you may wish to register more than one business name. This is permissible. However, each registered additional business name will be treated as a branch of the business. The additional business name must also follow the rules mentioned above.
  • If you carry on more than one business, you should register each business separately. Each business may have its own business name.

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How to Submit Your Application 

  • Submit in person to the Business Registration Office at 4/F Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
  • By post to P.O. Box 29015, Gloucester Road Post Office, Hong Kong. Underpaid mail will be rejected. Please pay sufficient postage.
  • Submit online via eTAX (for sole-proprietorship, partnership  other than limited partnership fund and branch registration only). Please refer to How to Authenticate Electronic Application For Business Registration and the Frequently Asked Questions.
    If you wish to know more about the "Online Application for Business or Branch Registration" service, please click here to view Online Demo.

 

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How to Authenticate Electronic Application for Business Registration 

  • Applicant may use his digital certificate, eTAX Password, MyGovHK Password (already linked up with eTAX account) or iAM Smart+ to sign the prescribed application form (Form 1(a), 1(c) or 1(d)) in making an application for business registration. Please refer to Apply for eTAX Password and the Frequently Asked Questions.
  • A person who makes the application for business registration by using his/her password, digital signature or iAM Smart+ will be treated as having signed the application form and is accountable for the accuracy of the information submitted.

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How to Obtain Business Registration Application Forms 

  • e-mail to [email protected], complete the form IRBR194 or request in writing by post or by fax (2824 1482) to the Business Registration Office. The application forms will be sent to you by post.
    • Please state your name, correspondence address and the type of application form and quantity required.
  • Obtain in person at the Business Registration Office at 4/F of Revenue Tower, Wan Chai

 

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Specimen of Application Forms 

  • You may download a specimen of the following application forms for reference. The specimen forms are saved in pdf format. PDF file can be opened by Adobe Acrobat Reader which is available at the Adobe Systems Incorporated.
  • Download copy MUST NOT be used for submission of application. Only forms that are printed by and according to the specifications of the Department are acceptable for application purposes.

    (1)Form 1(a) - Application by an individual for registration of business carried on by him in Hong Kong.
    (2)Form 1(b) - Application by a body corporate for registration.
    (3)Form 1(c) - Application by partnership (other than limited partnership fund) or by other body unincorporate for registration of business carried on by such body in Hong Kong.
    (4)Form 1(ca) - Application by a limited partnership fund for registration.
    (5)Form 1(d) - Application for registration of branch business carried on in Hong Kong.

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When to Collect Business Registration Certificate 

何時領取商業登記證
Application Channel   Standard Response Time
In person to the New Application Counter at Business Registration Office at 4/F, Revenue Tower, Wan Chai   Issued within 30 minutes of receipt of properly completed application
By post or through the GovHK   Issued within 2 working days of receipt of properly completed application

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Failure to apply for Business Registration on time 

  • Any person who fails to apply for business registration shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine of $5,000 and to imprisonment for 1 year.
  • Any person who applies for business registration more than 12 months after the commencement of business has to pay:
    (a) business registration fee and levy for the current year; and
    (b) any business registration fee and levy for back years under section 7(3) of the Business Registration Ordinance.

    Example
    A business commenced on 5 October 2017 but applied for business registration only on 13 March 2020.

    Total business registration fee and levy payable for application in paper:

    Failure to apply for Business Registration on time
    Current Year-        
    Validity Period: 5.10.2019 to 4.10.2020 $ 250  
    Back Years-        
    Validity Period: 5.10.2018 to 4.10.2019 $ 2,250 *
    Validity Period: 5.10.2017 to 4.10.2018 $ 2,250 *
        ________
      Total amount payable $ 4,750  

    * Business registration fee of $2,000 was waived under Revenue (Reduction of Business Registration Fees) Order.

    Regarding the business registration applied through the e-TAX, please refer to Q9 of “FAQ on Application for Business Registration Through the Internet” for details.