eTAX: A Step-by-Step Guide to Digital Filing
It’s tax season now and if you find yourself feeling haunted by the arrival of the green envelope in your mailbox, you’re not alone. If you’ve tackled the tax return and sent it off via post already, congratulations for staying on top of your duty. But if you’re like a lot of us who nudge the green document aside until the last minute, this might be a good year to switch to eTAX.
eTAX is a handy platform that lets you manage all of your Inland Revenue Department services online, anytime. Services include changing your residential address or contact number, Stamp Duties for any property rentals, registering for a new business, and more.
It’s not too late to elect for electronic tax filing this year, saving yourself a trip to the post office and from the dreaded arrival of the green envelope in the upcoming years. With eTAX, you can get your notifications through email, fill out your forms and submit them in a flash, all online. The system even saves your tax return information to automatically pre-fill next year’s return for you. Here’s how you can set-up your account:
Step 1: Apply for an eTAX password at https://www.gov.hk/en/residents/taxes/etax/etax_account.htm
Provide your Hong Kong identity card number and Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to receive an Access Code via post, which will allow you to set up your eTAX password. Your TIN can be found on past Tax Return documents or this year’s Notice of Assessment that you received in the mail.
Step 2: Set up your eTAX password and account particulars
Once you receive your Access Code letter, use your TIN and the Access Code for the first-time login to your account. After accepting the Terms and Conditions, you may choose to set a new TIN at this time, or continue using your current TIN. Then set and verify your new account password. This is a good time to note down your TIN since you might not revisit the system often throughout the year.
The system will then ask you to enter a password hint, your contact email, phone number and preferred communication language. In the following page, you can choose to elect whether you want future notices and documents sent to you electronically through the system instead of physical mail. You can eliminate paper waste by choosing to receive documents electronically but be sure to turn on email notifications in case you forget to check back to the eTAX system and miss important notices.
After you confirm the information you entered above, your account will be ready for use.
Your contact information, including residential address, can be changed and updated via the system.
Step 3: Check if you need to file a tax return
On the “Tax Position” tab of your account, you can check if there are any tax returns or bills that you owe the government. If it’s time for you to file a return, go to the “Online Services” tab of your account, and select the second item under the “Individuals” category, “Filing of Tax Return – Individuals”. This will take you to the e-version of the return.
Individuals may file electronically if they:
- Do not claim tax exemption in respect of part or all of their salaries income;
- Do not own any sole proprietorship business with gross annual income of more than $2,000,000 for that year of assessment;
- Do not have any deemed assessable profits pursuant to section 20AE, 20AF and / or 20AK of the Inland Revenue Ordinance for that year of assessment (applies to residents with offshore account funds);
- Have not obtained an advanced ruling on any of their tax matters in relation to that year of assessment; and
- Do not claim any double taxation relief pursuant to an arrangement specified under section 49(1) or 49(1A) of the Inland Revenue Ordinance for that year of assessment.
Step 4: File your return electronically
The return takes around 10-20 minutes to complete, but you can save your progress and return to it at your convenience. You can choose to file the following items through the system:
- Salaries Tax;
- Properties Tax;
- Profits Tax;
- Personal Assessment;
- Deduction for Interest Payments;
- Qualifying Premiums paid under the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme Policy; and
- Allowances and Elderly Residential Care Expenses.
After filling out the relevant forms, you will have a chance to review all of your information and any necessary changes or corrections before signing and submitting the electronic return. To sign the document, you enter your eTAX system password one more time before hitting “Sign & Submit”.
You may also check your estimated Salaries Tax payable based on the information you entered right before you sign and submit the document. The calculator helps give you a preview of any Salaries Tax you may owe after taking into account this year’s allowances. However the calculator only works for Salaries Tax and does not compute any Properties or Profits Tax.
Now that you have an idea of how much money you should set aside for your upcoming tax bill, you can use a finance tracking app like gini to make sure you have enough funds stowed away.
After submission, you can view the return through the “Tax Position” tab on the eTAX platform at any time.
Step 5: Payment
If you elected to receive notices electronically, your tax bill will also be available through the eTAX system. You can check on the “Tax Position” tab if you have any outstanding bills to pay. With your bill sent right to your email or eTAX platform, from there it’s easy to pay the Inland Revenue Department through bank transfer, streamlining the entire tax process through your web browser.
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