Reducing profits tax, salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for the year of assessment 2015/16
The Financial Secretary proposed a one-off reduction of profits tax, salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for the year of assessment 2015/16 by 75%, subject to a ceiling of $20,000 per case. This measure will be effected by amending the Inland Revenue Ordinance.
For profits tax, the ceiling of the tax reduction is applied to each business. For salaries tax, the ceiling is applied to each individual taxpayer; but for couples jointly assessed, the ceiling is applied to each couple. For personal assessment, single taxpayers will each be subject to the ceiling. Married couples must make their personal assessment election together and the ceiling will therefore apply to each couple.
The proposed tax reduction is not applicable to property tax. Individuals with rental income, if eligible for personal assessment, may be able to enjoy such reduction under personal assessment.
A taxpayer who is separately chargeable to salaries tax and profits tax can enjoy tax reduction under each of the tax types. For a taxpayer having business profits or rental income and electing for personal assessment, the reduction will be based on the tax payable under personal assessment. It might be different from the amount of tax reduction he would get if he was not assessed under personal assessment. The exact position will need to be evaluated case by case. The Inland Revenue Department will check if the election will reduce the amount of tax payable in each case, and assess each taxpayer in the way most advantageous to him.
To apply for personal assessment, if eligible, the taxpayer should complete Part 6 of his tax return for individuals (BIR60) for the year of assessment 2015/16. Individuals having salaries income only, but no business profits and rental income, need not elect for personal assessment.
The proposed reduction will reduce taxpayers’ amount of tax payable for the year of assessment 2015/16. Taxpayers should file their profits tax returns and tax returns for individuals for the year of assessment 2015/16, to be issued in coming April and May respectively, as usual. Upon enactment of the relevant legislation, the Inland Revenue Department will effect the reduction in the final assessment. For any final assessment for 2015/16 issued before the enactment of the law, the Inland Revenue Department will make a reassessment after the enactment. It is expected that excess tax paid will be refunded starting from late July 2016. Taxpayers are not required to make any applications or enquiries to the Department.
The proposed tax reduction will only be applicable to the final tax for the year of assessment 2015/16, but not to the provisional tax of the same year. Therefore, taxpayers are still required to pay their provisional tax on time despite the proposed reduction. The provisional tax paid will be applied to pay the final tax for the year of assessment 2015/16 and the provisional tax for the year of assessment 2016/17. Excess balance, if any, will be refunded.