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Brief overview


Taxes are charged in Hong Kong on income or profits that are regarded as having a Hong Kong source (referred to as the "territorial source principle") rather than on the basis of residence. The main forms of direct taxation in Hong Kong are profits tax, salaries tax and property tax.


Indirect taxes in Hong Kong includes stamp duty, which is payable in respect of certain kinds of documents - primarily relating to the sale or lease of immovable property in Hong Kong and the transfer of Hong Kong stock. In addition there are various other, more minor forms of duty, including first registration tax on vehicles, betting duty, air passenger departure tax, hotel accommodation tax, and duties on certain commodities such as hydrocarbons, including vehicle fuel, tobacco and liquor.


Rates are also levied annually on property owners in Hong Kong on the basis of a percentage of the rateable value of the property.


The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) of the Hong Kong SAR government is responsible for matters relating to tax administration in Hong Kong, which includes the collection of profits tax, salaries tax, property tax, stamp duty, betting duty and hotel accommodation tax. More information on the IRD and its functions can be obtained on the IRD website.


The main pieces of legislation governing taxation in Hong Kong are the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap 112) (IRO) and Stamp Duty Ordinance (Cap 117). In addition, Departmental Interpretation and Practice Notes and Stamp Office Interpretation and Practice Notes, which explain the IRD's view on various specific matters of interpretation, are issued by the IRD for the information and guidance of taxpayers and their authorized representatives, although they do not have binding force.


Tax appeals against determinations of the Commisioner of Inland Revenue are generally heard by the Board of Review (Inland Revenue Ordinance) (but may be transferred direct to the court of first instance) which is an independent statutory body constituted under section 65 of the IRO. Subsequent levels of appeal are heard by the courts.


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