China Consulting Consortium International Business Advisers, International Accountants and Certified Auditors Online Company Incorporation
Latest News
Hong Kong Government Relief Package – to support individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19 2020-04-17

On 8 April, the Hong Kong government unveiled a HKD137.5 billion financial relief package to support individuals and business affected by COVID-19. The total relief provided by the Government to date has reached HKD290 billion.

The key measures announced by the Government have four key components:

  1. Job retention, job creation and job advancement;
  2. Sector-specific relief;
  3. Government rental concessions, fee waivers, provision of loans and loan repayment deferrals; and
  4. Other relief through Government facilitation.

Employment Support Scheme

The Government will provide a wage subsidy to eligible employers who undertake not to make workers redundant during the subsidy period, and to spend 100% of the subsidy on paying wages for their employees. The subsidy is calculated at 50% of the employee’s monthly wage, capped at an eligible salary of HKD18,000, for six months – a maximum monthly subsidy of HKD9,000 per employee.  It is expected that 1.5 million employees will benefit from this scheme. All private sector employers making MPF contributions will be eligible, not just those in particularity hard hit industries.

Employers may choose any one month from January to March 2020 taking into account their own circumstances. The subsidy will be made to eligible employers in two tranches, with the first payment being no later than June 2020. Further details on how the subsidy will apply is expected to be released soon.

Other measures include creating 30,000 time-limited jobs in both public and private sectors in the coming two years, supporting job advancement projects for staff to upskill and helping enterprises to adopt and apply technology.

Ease cash flow of businesses

To further assist small and medium sized enterprises, the Government is also looking to enhancing the SME Financing Guarantee Schemes by increasing the maximum loan amount per enterprise depending on the guarantee amount. Concessionary in interest rate of up to 3% will be provided for one year for loans under 80% and 90% guarantees.

Other measures include:

·         Reduce profits tax for 2019-20 assessment year by 100%, subject to ceiling of $20,000.

·         Waive the rates for non-domestic properties for 2020-21, subject to a ceiling of $5,000 per

quarter in first two quarters and $1,500 per quarter for the remaining two quarters.

·         Waive the business registration fees for 2020/21.

·         Waive registration fees for company annual returns for 2 years

·         Providing tenants of government properties a 75% rent concession for six months.

·         Provide 75% electricity charges subsidy to non-residential accounts for 8 months, subject to

a ceiling of $5,000 per month.

·         Waive 75% water and sewage charges for non-domestic accounts for 12 months until

November 2020.

The IRD has also announced various administrative measures to assist taxpayers experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak including:

·         Delaying the issuance of Profits Tax returns and Salaries Tax returns for the year of

assessment for 2019/20 by one month to 4 May and 1 June respectively;

·         Extending the deadlines for lodgement of objections and holdover applications as well as

filing due date of tax returns that fall between 23 March and 2 May to 4 May;

·         Extending the filing due date of Country-by-Country Reporting notification for entities with

accounting periods ended between 31 December 2019 and 29 February 2020 to 1 June 2020; and

·         Deferring the deadline for payment of Profits Tax, Salaries Tax and Tax under Personal

Assessment for the year of assessment 2018/19 due for payment in April, May and June 2020 by three months.