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COVID-19 CPA Information Centre

COVID-19 – CPA Information Centre

Disruption to all of our personal and business lives continues due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Mainland China, Hong Kong and around the world. We at the Institute are acutely aware of the additional pressure this has put on our members to try and maintain their working routines and continue to provide quality service to employers and clients.

This information centre collates together information and messages from the Institute and other bodies that members may find helpful.

 

Member services

The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants announced resumption of the normal service hours of counter on the 27th floor with effect from 21 Apil 2022. We are also pleased to re-open our library facilities with effect from 21 April 2022. The library opening hours are 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Saturday.

 

Free e-Learning CPD courses

There are a selection of free e-learning CPD courses available for members and QP students. There are both verifiable and non-verifiable CPD programmes. The verifiable CPD course is: 

 

Non-verifiable CPD courses:


Practice review
Reviews are still being undertaken at the Institute’s office. Tentative plans to undertake on site practice review visits are being made and notifications will be sent to the relevant practice units once the schedule is finalized.

 

Complaint handling
We take great pride in the efficiency and fairness of our complaint handling process and discharge our duty to protect the public interest while respecting the interests of our members. To allow members involved in complaints to properly deal with enquiries and other related matters, our compliance team will consider requests for extension of deadlines on a case-by-case basis.

 

Institute’s messages

The Institute has sent members messages on the COVID-19 epidemic and the impact on its activities. The latest of which is below.

 

Date Latest message
22 March 2022 Update on tax filing due date from IRD
  Full archive

 

 

 

 

New webpage on government relief measures 

The government has announced over 70 measures to support Hong Kong through the COVID-19 pandemic. To help members, the Institute has created a webpage containing important information about schemes most relevant to the community.

 

Free access to International Standards

Members can access ICAEW’s International Standards for free. Containing world-class technical resources, practical guidance, and live and recorded webinars, International Standards offers relevant and detailed information on accounting, auditing and ethics standards. For access, members need to complete a short registration process.


Support Programme for attending CPD

The Institute’s Support Programme has long been offering 5% of the seats at face-to-face CPD events free of charge to members who are unemployed or who are not working and planning to rejoin the workforce.


In light of the continuing restrictions and the replacement of face-to-face events with webinars, the Support Programme has been extended to include webinars. Eligible events are indicated in the event list.

 

Combatting Fraud

A new simple guide from the Institute to help avoid fraud and deception during a pandemic.

 

HKICPA Trust Fund

The HKICPA Trust Fund, provides assistance to members and their families experiencing financial hardship. Details can be found here.

 

We recognize the need for flexibility in the current situation and so have lifted the requirement to complete a full application form. Applications can be sent to the Secretary (hkicpa_trust@hkicpa.org.hk) with a brief outline of the circumstances. Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the fund’s trustees, who may seek further information or a full application.

 

 

 

 

 

Advice for auditors

 

Financial reporting

 

Listed companies reporting 

 

Professional accountants in business

 

Small and medium sized entities

 

Restructuring and insolvency

 

Taxation

 

 

 

Exemption from compulsory quarantine arrangement

Practising members required to travel to the Mainland

The government announced on 18 May 2020 that certified public accountants (practising), partners, directors or employees of registered practice units who are required to travel to the Mainland to conduct audit work for companies listed in Hong Kong with Mainland operations may apply for exemption from the compulsory quarantine arrangement. The Institute is providing administrative support for the scheme, and has sent public interest entity auditors an email, information paper and forms (1, 2) for their completion. 

 

Latest update

On 1 November 2021, the Government announced the cancellation of the majority of the exemption categories under Cap. 599C, including the category for PIE auditors, with effect from 12 November 2021. All authorisation letters previously issued will be revoked and the exemption status will be removed by the time of the cancellation of the exemption category. The persons concerned may return to Hong Kong either by the Return2HK / Come2HK Scheme or subject to the prevailing quarantine arrangements in accordance with their respective travel history. Please click here for further details regarding the cancellation.  

For any enquiry in relation to the Return2HK / Come2HK Scheme and the relevant quarantine mechanism, please contact the designated helpdesk at 3142 2330 or refer to the website at <www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/return2hk-scheme.html> for details. 

 

For the previous announcements, please click here for details.

 

Return2hk quarantine exemptions

On 7 September 2021, the government announced to resume qarantine exemption for persons returning from both Mainland areas other than Guangdong Province and Macao under the Return2hk Scheme. Visit the scheme’s webpage for more information. 

In the government’s original announcement of the scheme on 11 November 2020, additional condition were introduced to the exempted persons, both approved or will be approved, under Cap. 599C "Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation" arriving Hong Kong via land boundary control points. The additional conditions, with effect from 23 November 2020, are also applicable to authorizations issued previously by Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau to exempted persons, whether or not they have or are yet to travel to the Mainland. Please click here for details

 

Guidelines for vehicles providing point-to-point transportation to Cap 599C exempted persons

The Food and Health Bureau issued guidelines for exempted persons and the practice units’ reference of the best practices when arranging point-to-point transportation in March 2021. In the case where the exempted persons arrange the point-to-point transportation by themselves (e.g. pick-up by family or friends), they are also encouraged to follow the guidelines as far as applicable. Click here for details.

 

Two tutorial videos on the disinfection procedure for vehicles providing point-to-point transportation and preparation of portable 1:49 bleach wipes gear for vehicles are provided by the Bureau for exempted persons' reference and implementation as far as practicable.  

 

Other professions that can apply for exemption

 

For all exemptions, click here.

 

Quarantine measures for inbound travellers

On 27 March 2022, the government announced adjustments to boarding, quarantine and testing arrangements for inbound travellers under the risk-based principle. Visit the dedicated webpage for details.

 

Financial Industry Recruitment Scheme for Tomorrow (FIRST)

On 25 September 2020, the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau announced that the Financial Industry Recruitment Scheme for Tomorrow (FIRST) under the second round of the Anti-epidemic Fund will be launched and open for application on 30 September 2020. FIRST is a cross-sectoral job creation scheme dedicated to the financial services industry to help create 1,500 new jobs in the financial services industry. Refer to the dedicated webpage for details.

 

The Financial Industry Recruitment Scheme for young graduates (YOUTH), as an extension of FIRST is open for applications starting from 28 July 2021. YOUTH allows eligible employers to apply for a subsidy to employ up to two university graduates of 2019 to 2021. CPA firms and corporate practices registered with the Institute are eligible to apply for a HK$10,000 salary subsidy per month for 12 months for each eligible new hire. Visit the scheme's webpage for details.

 

Latest social distancing measures 
On 20 September, the government announced to maintain existing social distancing measures.

 

Advice on general meetings

For companies with annual general meetings, there are specific exemptions to the regulations to allow them to hold their AGMs, subject to no food or drink being served, the number of persons allowed in a room or partitioned area is 20. More details can be found in the press release from the government. Other bodies have also released guidance:

  • The SFC and the HKEX released a joint statement on 1 April 2020.
  • The Companies Registry has a webpage containing answers to questions about holding a general meeting.
  • The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries has also published guidance and messages on the topic on 31 March 2020 , 9 April 2020, and 21 April 2020

 

Government services

  • Companies Registry – Normal opening hours of counter services have resumed (i.e. 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday) starting from 19 April 2022. Refer to the announcement for detailed arrangements and the annex for details of normal service hours. 
  • Inland Revenue Department – Normal public services have largely resumed from 21 April 2022 onwards, save for the public search counter services of the Business Registration Office (BRO). Refer to the department’s website for detailed arrangements and details of the opening hours of its various offices.
  • The Judiciary – Operating hours of the registries and accounts offices have returned to normal from 20 April 2022 onwards, i.e. from 8.45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. (Monday to Friday, except public holidays) and the special ticketing arrangements at the High Court Registry has also been ceased. Ticketing arrangements for a few remaining courts are also be ceased as soon as practicable. Refer to the announcement for detailed arrangements.
  • Official Receiver's Office – All offices have resumed normal services between 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. from Monday to Friday, starting from 21 April 2022. Refer to the announcement for detailed arrangements.

Inland Revenue Department announcements

Filing deadlines for 2021/22

The IRD has announced arrangements for certain longer extended tax due dates, in particular, under the Block Extension Scheme for taxpayers who are represented. Below is a quick summary of the extension arrangements.

 

  • 2021/22 profits tax returns:
    According to the circular letter issued to tax representatives, the following are the extended due dates for lodging profits tax returns for the year of assessment 2021/22:

    Accounting date code Extended due date Further extended due date if opting for e-filing
    "N" code 30 June 2022 14 July 2022
    "D" code 31 August 2022 14 September 2022
    "M" code 15 November 2022 29 November 2022
    "M" code 
    - currently year loss cases
    31 January 2023 No further extension

     

  • 2021/22 salaries tax returns:
    This year, the bulk issue of 2021/22 salaries tax returns will take place on 1 June. For represented cases not involving sole proprietorship business accounts, a block extension for submission of tax returns will be granted to 2 August. For those involving sole proprietorship business accounts (irrespective of accounting date), an extension will be granted to 1 November.

    The due date for unrepresented cases not involving sole-proprietorship business will be 2 July, while, for those involving sole-proprietorship business, it will be 1 September. An automatic extension of 1 month will be granted to unrepresented taxpayers who file their tax returns through the Internet.

  • Employer's returns:
    Although the Block Extension Scheme does not apply to employer’s returns, taking into account that the bulk issue of 2021/22 Tax Return - Individuals will take place on 1 June, the IRD announced that the deadline for filing of employer's returns is extended to 1 June.
 
  • Country-by-country reporting notification deadline
    The IRD will allow Hong Kong entities and their service providers to file country-by-county (CbCR) notifications, via the CbCR portal, on or before 1 June for the relevant accounting periods ending between 31 December 2021 and 28 February 2022. More information on country-by-country reporting can be found on the IRD website.

Tax Exemptions in respect of Relief Measures under the Anti-epidemic Fund

The Exemption from Salaries Tax and Profits Tax (Anti-epidemic Fund) Order ("the Exemption Order") came into operation on 29 May 2020. The order implements tax exemptions from the year of assessment commencing on 1 April 2019 and for all subsequent years of assessment to most of the financial assistance or relief under the Anti-epidemic Fund provided to businesses or individuals. Read the press release and annex for more about the order, and refer to the announcement for detailed arrangements.

 

 

 

 

The HKSAR government

  • The HKSAR government’s COVID-19 Thematic Website, a one-stop platform for the local situation of the COVID-19 epidemic, including figures and dashboards relating to the epidemic, infection situation updates, government’s measures, health advice and guidance, as well as public services special arrangement updates.
  • Information Services Department, latest news on the COVID-19 from news.gov.hk.

 

International bodies

 

Global Accounting Alliance members

 

Accounting firms

 

Law firms

 

Others

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