Tax Procedure and Timetable in Hong Kong

Information about the tax year and filing your tax return in Hong Kong...

The Hong Kong tax year is 1 April to 31 March.

Tax reporting must be done on the specific tax return issued by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), as this has a unique bar code. Income tax returns are typically mailed to taxpayers in early May and must be returned within one month after the issue date, although a time extension may be requested.

The IRD then reviews the tax return and issues an assessment approximately two months later. The assessment will indicate the tax for the current tax year and will include provisional tax for the next year – with the provisional tax usually being 100 percent of the tax for the current year. All assessments should be reviewed immediately to ensure they are correct because assessments are considered "final" if the taxpayer does not object within one month. It can be very costly if a taxpayer does not object in time as there is no way to undo a final assessment.

Tax is payable according to the assessment and likely will be payable early in the following year in two instalments.

Saving for tax

Hong Kong does not require withholding on employment income, so taxpayers need to pay tax in lump sums. In addition, the first instalment of tax will usually include provisional tax for the next tax year, so the tax due is typically double what most taxpayers expect.

Another option is to buy Tax Reserve Certificates from the IRD. These pay a basic interest rate and they can be used to mirror tax withholding regimes of other countries.

  • For further information on Tax Reserve Certificates: Click here

Provisional tax return

For highly paid individuals who arrive in Hong Kong during a tax year, a provisional tax return may be issued by the IRD and tax paid in advance.

Further Information

  • Allowances, deductions and tax rate table from the Inland Revenue Department: Click here (PDF)
  • For an overview of basic allowances: Click here
  • For detailed information on allowances: Click here
  • For a guide to taxes in Hong Kong: Click here

Disclaimer: Tax law is complex and every effort has been made to offer information that is current, correct and clearly expressed. The information in this summary is intended to be no more than a general overview of the position and certain details have been deliberately omitted. The contents of this page should not be taken as an authoritative statement of Hong Kong tax law and practice. Neither the author nor the publisher are responsible for the results of actions taken on the basis of information contained in this summary, nor for any errors or omissions. This text is not intended to render legal, accounting or tax advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional advice concerning specific matters before making any decision.

Prepared by Rodney Ross, CPA (US), CA (Aust) Personal tax expert including Hong Kong and US tax return preparation, employment structuring (sign-on and termination issues) and incentive income matters. ITAX Limited Tel: 2815 9772 / e-mail / Website