Hong Kong Tax Report. Overview. Basic Facts. Janus Corporate Solutions (+65) February 19, At a glance. Lowest tax rates in Asia

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1 Hong Kong Tax Report Janus Corporate Solutions (+65) February 19, 2010 At a glance Lowest tax rates in Asia No tax on foreign-sourced income No capital gains tax No sales tax or VAT No dividend tax No inheritance tax or estate duty No withholding tax on dividends and interest No foreign exchange controls Single-tier tax system Territorial basis of taxation Extensive DTA network Overview Hong Kong has the lowest tax rates in Asia and one of the lowest rates in the world. The territory s tradition of simple and low taxes is a major factor that contributes to its success as a preferred investment destination. The notable features of Hong Kong s tax system are its low personal and corporate tax rates; no capital gains tax; no Value Added Tax; absence of withholding tax on dividends and interest; and no estate duty. Hong Kong s territorial system of taxation provides it an advantage over most other jurisdictions, as it does not tax foreign sourced income or profits, even if they are remitted to Hong Kong. Hong Kong s enormous foreign reserves, which are currently over US$240 billion, have enabled the country to levy an exceptionally light tax burden on its residents. Hong Kong s low tax system has played a crucial role in increasing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows into the territory. Hong Kong continues to be Asia s second largest and the world s seventh largest FDI recipient, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development s World Investment Report, In addition to an efficient tax system, other enabling factors such as a free economy, proximity to China, political and economic stability, an efficient legal system, preferential access to the China market under the China Hong Kong free trade agreement, and a talented workforce, make Hong Kong an attractive destination for global entrepreneurs. Basic Facts Contents Overview 1 Corporate Taxes 2 Personal Taxes 4 Tax Treaties 5 Goods and Services Tax 5 Other Useful Facts 5 About Janus 6 Currency: Hong Kong Dollar, HKD or HK$. FX Controls: None. Taxable Income: Persons, corporations, partnerships, trustees and bodies of persons carrying on any trade, profession or business in Hong Kong are liable for tax on all profits (excluding profits from the sale of capital assets) arising in or derived from Hong Kong. Tax Jurisdiction: Territorial system of taxation. Taxes are only levied on income "derived from or arising in" Hong Kong. No tax is levied on income arising overseas, even if it is remitted to Hong Kong. Tax Rates: The corporate income tax rate is a flat 16.5% on assessable profits. Individuals are taxed at progressive rates on their net chargeable income starting at 2% and ending at 17%; or at a standard rate of 15% on net income, whichever is lower. Double Taxation: Singletier tax system. Profits earned by companies are only taxed once; and the shareholder dividends are not taxable. Goods and Services Tax: None. Tax Year: April 1 to March 31. Capital Gains Tax: None. Withholding Tax: Royalties and fees paid to nonresident entertainers or sportsmen for their performances in Hong Kong are subject to a withholding tax. There are no withholding taxes levied on dividends and interest. Tax Treaties: Hong Kong has concluded 34 double taxation agreements. Accounting Standards: Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards (HKFRS) are modeled on the International Accounting Standards (IAS) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

2 2 HONG KONG TAX REPORT Corporate Taxes Under the territorial system of taxation, foreign- Tax Rate: Flat rate of 16.5%. Capital Gains Tax: None. Dividend Tax: None. Tax Residence: A Hong Kong resident company is one whose management and control is exercised in Hong Kong. A non-resident company is one whose overall management of daily business operations and execution of management decisions by the board of directors are carried out from outside Hong Kong. Tax Basis: The basis of taxation is the same for resident and non-resident companies. Taxable Income: Includes profits or gains arising from carrying on a business, trade or profession in Hong Kong. Hong Kong follows a territorial system of taxation; tax is levied only on profits arising in or derived from carrying on a trade, business or profession in Hong Kong. Profits tax is not applicable to profits whose source is outside Hong Kong, irrespective of whether the profits have been remitted to Hong Kong. Hence, non-resident companies are taxed only on that portion of their profits that are sourced in Hong Kong. Conversely, resident companies who derive profits from outside Hong Kong are not liable for any tax in Hong Kong. Surtax: None. sourced income is exempt from taxation in Hong Kong. Corporate Tax Incentives and Deductions Tax Incentives: Following deductions are available: Writing off for capital expenditure relating to plant, machinery, computer hardware, and software. Writing off over five years of assessment for capital expenditure on refurbishment of business premises. Tax concessions for gains from qualified debt instruments. Concessionary tax rate for reinsurance companies offshore business operations. Tax exemption for interest gained from any deposit with an authorized institution in Hong Kong. Deductions for capital expenditure incurred on plant, machinery, and installations forming part of a building or structure. Tax exemption for bona fide offshore funds managed in Hong Kong. Trade Loss Treatment: Losses are deductible and can be offset against profits from other trade sources. The balance can be carried forward indefinitely. Losses cannot be carried back. Capital losses are not deductible. Group Relief for Losses: Not Allowed. Tax Deductions and Allowances: Business expenses incurred in the production of profits are tax deductible. Depreciation Allowance: Depreciation provided for accounting purposes is not deductible. However, tax relief in the form of capital allowances for qualifying capital expenditure incurred in the production of profits is available. Corporate Income Tax Administration and Compliance Tax Year: Corporate income tax is assessed in relation to a Year of Assessment (YA). The YA is April 1 to March 31. The assessable profits for YA are based on the accounting period ending within that YA. Income Tax Filing Due Date: Within 1 month from the date of issue of tax returns. Corporate tax returns are generally issued on April 1 every year. Filing Requirements: A company has to file the specific tax return form; a supplementary form for tax data, financial data, etc.; a certified copy of the company s Balance Sheet, Auditor's Report and Profit and Loss Account; and a tax computation showing how the amount of assessable profits (or adjusted loss) has been arrived at. Audit Requirements: Small corporations (i.e. total gross income is < HK$500,000); dormant companies (i.e. no accounting transactions during the year) and Hong Kong branches of foreign companies, subject to certain conditions, are exempted from the audit requirement.

3 HONG KONG TAX REPORT 3 Corporate Withholding Taxes Scope of Withholding Tax: Withholdings tax is the tax charged to a nonresident company or individual that derives income from a Hong Kong source for services provided or work done in Hong Kong. Only specific types of payments are subject to withholding tax. Payments subject to withholding tax: Royalties and fees paid to nonresident entertainers or sportsmen. Dividends: No withholding tax on dividends. Interest: No withholding tax on interest. Royalties: Royalty payments made to a nonresident company or individual for the use of Intellectual property both in and outside Hong Kong are subject to withholding tax. The withholding tax rates differ for affiliate and nonaffiliate non-residents. Withholding tax rate for royalties due to nonresident companies is 4.95%, provided the nonresident companies are not associates. A withholding tax rate of 4.5% applies to royalty payments made to unaffiliated non-resident individuals. If royalty payments are made to non-resident companies that are associates, a withholding tax rate of 16.5% will apply, subject to certain other criteria. A withholding tax of 15% applies on royalty payments made to affiliate non-resident individuals. Fees to non-resident entertainers or sportsmen: A withholding tax rate of 10% applies on fees paid to a non-resident entertainer or sportsman for: a) A performance at a commercial event or occasion in Hong Kong, or b) Any participation in sound recordings, films, videos, radio transmissions, and television broadcasts (whether live or recorded). There is no withholding tax on dividends and interest in Hong Kong. Other Corporate Taxes Capital Duty: 0.1% for share capital over HK$10,000, subject to a cap of HK$30,000. Payroll Tax: None. Transfer Tax: None. Stamp Duty: The rules are as follows: a) Stamp Duty is payable on the lease, sale, or transfer of immovable property and on the transfer of shares. Stamp duty on the sale of immovable property varies with the amount or value of the consideration. The maximum stamp duty payable is 3.75% of the value of property transferred. b) Stamp duty on the lease of property varies with the lease term. Stamp duty on an undefined lease term is 0.25% of the annual or average annual rent; 0.25% for a 1-year lease; 0.5% for a 1-3 year lease; and 1% for a 3+ year lease. c) Stamp duty for transfer of shares by way of purchase or sale of Hong Kong stock is 0.1% of the consideration or Net Asset Value, whichever is higher, on every sold note and every bought note. For share transfers by way of gift, the stamp duty is HK$ % of the value of the stock. For all other transfers the stamp duty is HK$5.00. Property Tax: Owners of rented land and/or buildings have to pay property tax at the rate of 15% on 80% of the annual rent of a property less government rates (an indirect tax of 5% of the estimated annual rental value of a property payable to the government every quarter). Owner occupied property is exempt from property tax. A company s rental income from property is subject to profits tax and the amount of Property Tax paid can be deducted from Profits Tax. Social security: Employers and employees must each contribute 5% of the employee s monthly income to a Mandatory Provident Fund scheme, if the employee earns more than HK$5,000 a month. The maximum monthly income for contribution purposes is HK$20,000. Mandatory contributions are capped at HK$1,000 for employees earning more than HK$ 20,000 a month.

4 4 HONG KONG TAX REPORT Personal Taxes Individuals are taxed only on the income earned in Hong Kong. Tax Rate: Individuals are taxed at progressive rates on their net chargeable income (i.e. assessable income after deductions and allowances) starting at 2% and ending at 17%; or at a standard rate of 15% on net income (i.e. income after deductions), whichever is lower. Tax Basis: The basis of taxation is the same for resident and non-residents. Tax Residence: Hong Kong citizens, Hong Kong Permanent Residents and foreigners who have stayed or worked in Hong Kong for 180 days or more in the tax year are considered to be residents. Non-residents are foreigners who have stayed or worked in Hong Kong for less than 180 days in the tax year. Taxable Income: Residents and non-residents are taxed only on employment income arising in or derived from Hong Kong. Income from services rendered in Hong Kong during visits not exceeding a total of 60 days in the year is exempt from tax. Income earned overseas is not taxed. Income includes employment gains such as salary, bonus, perquisites, pension, stock options, etc. Capital Gains Tax: None. Wealth Tax: None. Estate Duty: None. Capital Duty: None. Dividend Tax: None. Personal Tax Highlights Taxation of income earned in Hong Kong: Residents and non-residents are taxed only on income that has been "earned in Hong Kong". Individuals employed by a Hong Kong company to work in Hong Kong are liable for salaries tax on their full income, even if some of their duties are performed outside Hong Kong. However, individuals can claim full or partial exemption of income or tax relief, under certain circumstances. Individuals employed by an overseas company who are assigned to work in Hong Kong for a few years are only assessed on the income attributable to the services rendered in Hong Kong. Tax Deductions: Allowed for qualified employment related expenses, approved charitable donations, selfeducation expenses, home loan interest, elderly residential care expenses, capital allowances, MPF Scheme contributions and personal reliefs. Taxation of Employer Benefits: Employer benefits, including allowances, share awards, and benefits-in-kind are taxable. Stamp Duty, Property Tax, and Social Security: Please refer to Other Corporate Taxes section on page 3. Personal Income Tax Administration and Compliance Tax Year: Personal income tax is assessed in relation to a Year of Assessment (YA). The YA is April 1 to March 31. Tax Filing Date: Personal tax returns are generally issued on May 1 each year. Employees must file returns within 1 month from the date of issue; soleproprietors must file returns within 3 months from the date of issue. Filing requirements: Every taxpayer has to file annual tax returns with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). A married couple can elect to receive a joint assessment, if it results in a lesser tax liability. Payment of Tax Due: Upon filing the tax return, Assessments are issued by the IRD and sent to the taxpayer. The Assessment will indicate the amount of tax payable for the given YA and will also include the provisional tax payable for the succeeding YA. Tax must be paid on or before the due date specified in the notice of Assessment. Personal Assessment: Individuals who are liable to pay corporate income tax and/or property tax in addition to personal income tax can reduce their tax burden by electing for Personal Assessment. Under Personal Assessment, tax is calculated at progressive tax rates on the aggregated income from all sources.

5 HONG KONG TAX REPORT 5 Tax Treaties Tax Treaty Network: Since Hong Kong follows a territorial system of taxation, where only income or profit sourced in Hong Kong is subject to tax, Hong Kong resident companies and individuals will not be subject to double taxation on any income they earn outside Hong Kong, in most cases. However, Hong Kong has concluded 34 DTAs with various countries. Scope of the DTAs: The DTAs are only applicable to Hong Kong residents (individuals and companies), and tax residents of the treaty country. DTAs are not applicable to non-residents of either country. Taxes Covered by the DTAS: The DTAs usually apply to taxes on income and property. Hong Kong's Double Tax Relief Measures: In most treaties concluded by Hong Kong, double taxation is eliminated by allowance of a tax credit. Types of DTAs: The DTAs concluded by Hong Kong include: Comprehensive DTAs that provide relief from double tax to all types of income; DTAs that cover airline and shipping income; DTAs that cover airline income only; and DTAs that cover only shipping income. There is no GST or VAT imposed in Hong Kong. Hong Kong China Free Trade Agreement The Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA is a bilateral free trade agreement between mainland China and Hong Kong, which came into effect in January Under CEPA, Hong Kong based companies and Hong Kong made products gain preferential access to the mainland China market. Key Benefits of CEPA: 1) Zero tariffs on the export of Hong Kong made products to mainland China, subject to certain criteria. 2) Easier and faster access to the mainland China market for qualifying Hong Kong based service providers. 3) Trade and investment facilitation in key areas such as customs clearance, e-commerce, Intellectual Property protection, transparency of law and regulations, etc. Scope of CEPA: Applicable to a) Hong Kong based companies, and b) overseas companies who collaborate with, invest in or buy into a CEPA qualified firm in Hong Kong. Other Useful Facts Tax Authority: Inland Revenue Department of Hong Kong. Sources of Tax Law: a) Inland Revenue Ordinance of Hong Kong. b) Stamp Duty Ordinance of Hong Kong. Membership in International Trade Organizations: Member of WTO and APEC. Hong Kong Rankings: Many international surveys rank Hong Kong highly on various business measures: Ranked #1 as World s Freest Economy ; The Heritage Foundation, Index of Economic Freedom, Ranked #3 on the World s Easiest Place to Do Business list; World Bank s Doing Business Report, Ranked #1 as having the Lowest Tax Misery in Asia Pacific ; Forbes Tax Misery Index Ranked #2 in the world for Openness to International Trade ; World Economic Forum s Global Enabling Trade Report, Ranked #2 for World s lowest costs of doing business and business risk ; Milken Institute s Opacity Index, Ranked #2 for Recipient of largest FDI in Asia ; United Nation s Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD s World Investment Report, Ranked #2 in the world for Ease of Access to Capital ; Milken Institute s Capital Access Index, 2008.

6 6 HONG KONG TAX REPORT Janus Corporate Solutions Pte Ltd 16 Raffles Quay #32-04 Hong Leong Building Singapore Phone (+65) Fax (+65) Website About Janus Janus provides a complete range of company incorporation, accounting, tax, immigration and related compliance services for entrepreneurs, startups and established companies who want to enter the Hong Kong market. Janus believes that Asia is one of the most dynamic economic regions in the world and Hong Kong - as Our Services the gateway to China - offers an ideal location for firms and individuals who wish to participate in the Asian economies. It is a country with world-class infrastructure, well-developed capital markets, highly educated work force, rich cultural traditions, stable political institutions, and a low tax regime. Given these attractive characteristics, there is increasing demand for world-class professional services to help organizations establish a presence in Hong Kong. Janus is at the forefront of offering such services through its experienced team and at affordable fees. Our core services include: Incorporation of local companies, subsidiaries of foreign corporations and registration of branches of foreign organizations; Ongoing statutory administration of Singapore companies; Accounting and tax advisory services; Tax preparation and filing for companies and individuals; Application for work passes for expatriates; Application for Singapore Permanent Residence under various schemes; Application for business licenses; and Other related corporate services. This report is designed to provide introductory information to clients and does not constitute professional advice. It is of a general nature only and is not intended to be comprehensive. Readers are therefore advised that before acting on any information obtained from this document, they should discuss their particular situation with a professional tax adviser. While care has been taken to prepare this report accurately, Janus accepts no liability for any errors or for any loss, however occasioned, to any person by reliance on this report. We re on the Web!

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