HK Magazine Archive

Explainer: Hong Kong's 2016-17 Budget and What it Means for You

What's in it for you in John Tsang's $38.8 billion relief package?

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 February, 2016, 6:31pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 4:57pm

Financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah delivered his ninth budget speech today to the Legislative Council. The government is offering a relief package of $38.8 billion: But what does that mean for the man on the Causeway Bay minibus?

Even less tax

One of the most eye-catching parts of the package is a 75 percent reduction in salary tax for 2015-16. Taxpayers will have up to $20,000 of their tax bill covered by it, and if there's extra then they'll get a check from the Inland Revenue Department. Nice.

More cash

There will be an increase in basic allowance from $120,000 to $132,000 and in married person’s allowance from $240,000 to $264,000, meaning you get to keep more of your cash before you're taxed on it. There are also increased allowances if you're maintaining a dependent parent or grandparent.

Flat-owners are still fine

Rates will be waived for four quarters of 2016-17, with a ceiling of $1,000 per quarter. Then again, if you own a flat in Hong Kong, $4,000 is probably chump change.

Business Owners Make Money

Just like personal income tax, profits tax for small and medium businesses in 2015-16 are coming down by 75 percent, again with a $20,000 cap. It's also a good time to start a business, as they're waiving registration fees. License fees are also being waived for travel agents, restaurateurs and hawkers for a six-month period.

Food Trucks

Despite initially announcing this last year, nothing really happened. But it's definitely happening this year, with 16 potential parking spots up for grabs. 

Old People Get a Break

Those who recieve Comprehensive Social Security Assistance welfare, disability allowance or old age allowances will get an extra month's worth free.

Of course, the critics are already out in force, bashing the package for a lack of relief measures for the poor, especially in terms of housing needs—including the cancellation of this year's one-month rent waiver for public housing residents.