ACCA Hong Kong welcomes Government’s Budget initiatives in seeking progress while ensuring stability in the face of economic downturn

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po today unveiled the 2019/20 Budget. The Government has forecast a fiscal surplus of HK$58.7 billion for 2018/19. Hong Kong’s fiscal reserves will hit HK$1,161.6 billion by 31 March 2019.

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Hong Kong endorses the Government’s proactive and positive response to its recommendations by introducing an array of concrete tax relief measures, such as tax rebates, providing an extra one-month payment for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme and old age allowances. These relief measures will help lessen the economic burdens on and improve the lives of the general public amid increasing living costs. ACCA also welcomes the Government’s initiatives to invest more in nurturing innovation and technology industries, such as developing innovation and technology infrastructure, promoting research and development, and pooling relevant talents, which help promote sustainable economic development as well as improve livelihoods.

ACCA Hong Kong welcomes the Government’s plan to transfer the Tax Policy Unit to come directly under the Financial Secretary's Office. ACCA is glad to see the Government valuing the high importance of tax policy, and we wish to see better transparency of the work of Tax Policy Unit.

Business Environment

ACCA Hong Kong endorses the Government’s proactive and positive response to its recommendations by introducing concrete relief measures for the business sector, to help them face challenges such as increasing operating costs and shrinking profit margin. We are pleased to see the Government putting resources to drive sustainable and diversified economic development of Hong Kong.

Wilson Cheng, Co-chairman, Tax Sub-committee of ACCA Hong Kong said, ‘We welcome the series of tax measures introduced in the Budget supporting the businesses, such as waiving the business registration fees for 2019/20, regularising the Technology Voucher Programme and doubling the funding ceiling for each enterprise to HK$400,000. ACCA would like to reiterate our earlier recommendation that incentives should be offered to encourage the setting up of regional headquarters/ service centres in Hong Kong, in order to enhance Hong Kong’s competitive edge in attracting China and foreign investors.’

Dr Danny Po, Co-chairman, Tax Sub-committee, ACCA Hong Kong said, ‘In ACCA’s earlier recommendation, we also propose the Government to develop Hong Kong as a “total solution centre of goods”. With Hong Kong’s over 40 years of unique and solid cross-border processing / production management experience with the mainland China, the 50% profits tax exemption doctrine for ‘contract processing’ should be maintained as investors from the mainland China and Belt & Road countries would be able to establish production related hubs in Hong Kong for cross-border processing / production activities via Hong Kong in order to benefit from the production resources in the ASEAN, and the Free Trade Agreements concluded by the ASEAN and Hong Kong.’

Livelihood

Stanley Ho, Co-chairman, Tax Sub-committee of ACCA Hong Kong said, ‘ACCA welcomes the series of tax measures enhancing livelihoods mentioned in the Budget, such as reducing salaries / profits tax and tax under personal assessment for 2018/19 by 75%. After the introduction of the “two-tier profits tax” rates regime, we suggest a similar tax relief be given to individual taxpayers by incorporating two principles, two-tier standard rates at 7.5% and 15%, and the tax bands be widened under salaries tax to benefit those individual taxpayers who are currently not taxed at standard rate.’

Overall, ACCA Hong Kong supports the Budget’s measures, which are conducive to the fostering of economic growth as well as the betterment of livelihoods.

Danny concluded, ‘In principle, we agree with the measures introduced in the Budget. Facing a clear downward economy trend, as well as political and economic uncertainties, we agree with Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po that it is critical to support enterprises, preserve employment, stabilise economy, and alleviate the burden of citizens. Although Hong Kong’s fiscal health is still stable, given the slowing economy and the rising Government spending, we urge the Government to consider more sustainable and effective measures on improving the competitiveness of the local business environment, ensuring bright economic prospects and a better standard of living in the long run. Hong Kong’s rich financial reserve is a result of collective contributions from every member of the society, and the Government should make good use of our resources to further invest in the city’s future.’

Media Enquiries: If you wish to discuss the 2019/20 Budget with an ACCA spokesperson, please call (+852) 2973-1112.

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For more information, please contact

ACCA Hong Kong

Jacqueline Lam / Winnie Pang

Tel: +852 2973 1106 / 2973 1112

Email: jacqueline.lam@accaglobal.com / winnie.pang@accaglobal.com

 

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. It offers business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 208,000 members and 503,000 students in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 104 offices and centres and more than 7,300 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

As the first global accountancy body entering into China, ACCA now has 25,000 members and 108,000 students, with 11 offices in Beijing, Changsha, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shenyang, Qingdao, Wuhan, Hong Kong SAR, and Macau SAR.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. It believes that accounting professionals bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. ACCA’s core values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and it ensures that through its range of qualifications, it prepares accountants for business. ACCA seeks to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating its qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.

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