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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 have an automatic extension of one month.

     Mr Wong also reminded taxpayers to pay sufficient postage if they send the returns by post.

     In the Budget for this year, the Financial Secretary proposed to increase the marginal tax bands for salaries tax; to increase the disabled dependant allowance and dependent brother or dependent sister allowance; to raise the deduction ceiling for self-education expenses and to extend the entitlement period for home loan interest deduction. He also proposed a 75 per cent reduction of the profits tax, salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for the year of assessment 2016/17, subject to a ceiling of $20,000 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 2016/17 tax bills.

     Mr Wong said taxpayers should complete this year’s tax return as usual and no application was 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 of personal assessment, taking into account the tax reduction, will reduce the amount of tax payable, and assess each taxpayer in a way to their best advantage," he added.

     Taxpayers may visit the IRD’s website (www.ird.gov.hk) 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 1878022 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 the automatic exchange of financial account information in tax matters (AEOI).

     "Up to March 31, 2017, Hong Kong has signed Comprehensive Double Taxation Agreements (CDTAs) with 37 jurisdictions and concluded CDTA negotiations with four countries," he said.

     "Since establishing the legal framework for implementing AEOI through the amendment of the Inland Revenue Ordinance in June 2016, Hong Kong has signed bilateral Competent Authority Agreements with 11 countries for conducting AEOI. To implement the arrangement for AEOI more effectively and to respond to latest international developments, the Government introduced the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No.3) Bill 2017 into the Legislative Council in March 2017 with a proposed effective date on July 1, 2017."

     On revenue collection, Mr Wong said that $290.2 billion was collected during 2016-17, a decrease of some $1.1 billion as compared with the previous year. The breakdown is as follows:
2016-17 revenue collection (provisional figures)
Tax Type 2016-17
   ------------- ------------- -------------
Profits Tax 139,250 140,226.6 -1%
Salaries Tax 59,114 57,867.8 +2%
Property Tax &
Personal Assessment
8,596 7,788.0 +10%
  ------------- -------------  
Total Earnings &
Profits Tax
206,960 205,882.4 +0.5%
Estate Duty 19 30.0 -37%
Stamp Duty 61,899 62,680.3 -1%
Betting Duty 21,119 20,127.2 +5%
Business Registration Fees 228 2,607.1 -91%
  ------------- -------------  
Total Revenue Collected 290,225 291,327.0 -0.4%
Ends/Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:40
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