Hong Kong Extends Online Filing of Tax Returns

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HONG KONG, May 19 – Hong Kong’s Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has extended the online filing of tax returns to June 4 to encourage more people to use the service.

“As a one-month period is allowed for filing individual tax returns, the deadline falls on June 4 this year,” the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Alice Lau, said in a press release adding that eTAX users filing their tax returns online could have the deadline extended to July 4.

She said: “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.” Following the budget proposed by the Financial Secretary, there will a tax reduction of 50 percent for 2008-09 with a ceiling of US$6,000 per case.

Ms. Lau said that those completing this year’s tax return will no longer need to fill put an application for the tax reduction.

The IRD will already apply the tax reduction for 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,” Lau said.

Taxpayers are also advised to state if they expect their earnings to go down by a significant amount in 2009-10 by indicating in a note on the tax return, or even a separate piece of paper.

The IRD will then consider the circumstances and charge a a smaller or zero amount of the 2009-10 provisional tax.