The Financial Secretary for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), John Tsang, delivered the 2014/15 budget on 26 February 2014. This is the seventh budget prepared by John Tsang, and the second budget of the new government led by Chief Executive C.Y. Leung.
The forecast of Hong Kong’s economic growth in 2014 is between 3% and 4% (cf 2.9% in 2013). In addition, the budget surplus is estimated to be HK$9.1 billion in 2014. There are minimal tax changes to be proposed by the Financial Secretary. Towards the end of the Budget Speech, the Financial Secretary proposed one-off relief measures:
1. There will be a reduction in salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for Year of Assessment 2013/14 by 75% subject to a cap of HK$10,000.
2. There will be a reduction in profits tax for Year of Assessment 2013/14 by 75% subject to a cap of HK$10,000.
3. Rates will be waived for the first two quarters of 2014-15, subject to a ceiling of HK$1,500 per quarter for each rateable property.
4. The Government will pay one month’s base rent for tenants who are required to pay extra rent to the Housing Authority. For non-elderly tenants of the Hong Kong Housing Society’s Group B estates, the Government will pay two-thirds of their rent for one month.
5. The Government will provide Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients with an amount equal to one month of the standard rate CSSA payments; and an extra allowance to Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance and Disability Allowance recipients with an amount equal to one month of the allowances.
Other than the above one-off relief measures, the Financial Secretary also proposed to increase the allowances for maintaining dependent parents or grandparents to alleviate taxpayers’ burden.
The Financial Secretary devoted a portion of his Budget Speech to discuss the importance of preserving the revenue base and the need of saving for the future.
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