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Waiver of Business Registration Fees for One Year

(from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020)

The Financial Secretary proposed to waive business registration fees for one year, starting from 1 April 2019. The Government will introduce the relevant legislative amendment into the Legislative Council as soon as possible to effect the measure.

Implementation Details of the Waiver of Business Registration Fees

1. In respect of local companies registered under the one-stop company incorporation and business registration regime (“One-stop Registration”), the fees payable under section 5A(1)(a) of the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310) will be reduced by a sum of $2,000 if the related incorporation submissions are made within the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 (“Waiver Period”). For other cases, the fees payable in respect of business registration certificates and branch registration certificates with commencement date falling within the Waiver Period will be reduced by a sum of $2,000 and $73 respectively.
2. Businesses are still required to pay the levy for the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund.
3. Please refer to the business registration fee & levy table for details of the total amount payable in respect of a certificate.

Concessionary Refund of Registration Fees Paid

4. Businesses that have paid the registration fees for the Waiver Period but are not required to renew their certificates in the Waiver Period can also benefit from the concessionary measure. They include:
(a) Businesses or branches, which hold a 3-year registration certificate with a commencement date before 1 April 2019 and an expiry date on or after 31 March 2020;
(b) Ceased businesses or branches, which last hold a 1-year registration certificate with an expiry date on or after 1 April 2019 but before 31 March 2020;
(c)
Ceased businesses or branches, which last hold a 3-year registration certificate with an expiry date between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020; and
(d)
Local companies registered under the One-stop Registration, which make incorporation submissions between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019 and hold a 1-year or 3-year registration certificate with a commencement date between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020.
Concessionary refunds of the relevant amount of business registration fees paid will be made.
5. No application is required. The IRD will announce the refund arrangement after the relevant legislative amendment is passed by the Legislative Council.

 

 

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FAQ

Q 1: Do I need to pay the levy for the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund for the Waiver Period?
A 1: Yes, you still need to pay the levy for the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund.
 
Q 2: Will a company incorporated or registered under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622) be eligible for the concessionary refund if it has ceased business within the Waiver Period?
A 2: Under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310), a company incorporated or registered under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622) is deemed to be a person carrying on business notwithstanding its cessation of business. Therefore, normally a company will not be eligible for refund of the business registration fee paid if it ceases business during the period covered by the business registration certificate.

However, under the concessionary refund arrangement, where the company is holding a 3-year certificate with a commencement date before 1 April 2019 and an expiry date on or after 31 March 2020, it will receive the concessionary refund in respect of the Waiver Period, i.e. 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, WHETHER OR NOT the company has ceased business during the Waiver Period.

Please refer to A6 below on how the refund will be calculated.
 
Q 3: My business received its renewal business registration certificate (1-year) in the middle of February 2019 (i.e. just before the Budget was announced) and the business registration fee and levy for the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund demanded will be due in April 2019. Is my business required to pay the fee and levy for the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund demanded on or before the due date? How can my business benefit from the waiver?
A 3: Yes, your business is still required to pay the fee and levy demanded on or before the due date. Your business can benefit from the waiver when the renewal certificate is issued in February 2020 since the business registration fee will be waived and only the levy will be payable.
 
Q 4: My business’s business registration certificate will be expired in April 2019. Is my business required to pay the business registration fee and levy for the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund upon renewal?
A 4: The renewal business registration certificate will be issued to your business in March 2019. Taking into account the proposal of waiver of business registration fee, this Office will NOT demand the business registration fee of the renewal certificate for the Waiver Period. For a 1-year certificate, only the levy of $250 is payable. For a 3-year certificate, the business registration fee and levy payable will be $3,950 ($3,200 + $750)(i.e. reduced by $2,000).
 
Q 5: I applied for company incorporation just before the proposal of waiver of business registration fee was announced in the Budget and paid the business registration fee and levy for the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund. How can I benefit from the waiver?
A 5: If you have elected for a 1-year certificate which will commence before 1 April 2019, your company can benefit from the waiver when its business registration certificate is due for renewal within the Waiver Period since the business registration fee will be waived and only the levy will be payable. If you have elected for a 3-year certificate which will commence before 1 April 2019, your company will receive a concessionary refund in respect of the Waiver Period under the concessionary refund scheme since the company will not be required to renew its business registration certificate within the Waiver Period.

Please refer to A6 below on how the refund will be calculated.
 
Q 6: How to calculate the amount of concessionary refund?
A 6: The refund will be calculated by reference to the validity period of the certificate held by the business, the number of days within the Waiver Period (i.e. 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020) for which the concession applies, and the actual amount of fees paid in respect of the Waiver Period. Detailed calculations with examples will be announced after the relevant legislative amendment is passed by the Legislative Council.
 
Q 7: Is application required for the concessionary refund in respect of the registration fees paid for the Waiver Period?
A 7: No application is required. The IRD will directly send to eligible businesses refund cheques for the business registration fees paid in respect of the Waiver Period. The refund arrangement will be announced after the relevant legislative amendment is passed by the Legislative Council.