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68.     In preparing for this year's Budget, I have heard many calls for an increase in the allowances for dependent parents and children.  At present, salaries taxpayers caring for dependent parents or grandparents aged 60 or above enjoy tax allowances.  Because of economic restructuring and the fact that the unemployment rate for older workers is still relatively high, the younger generation will inevitably have to undertake a heavier responsibility in caring for their parents.  This responsibility will be less in respect of those parents who are under 60, as they have a better chance of finding a full-time or part-time job.  As a relief measure, I propose to introduce two new allowances for taxpayers taking care of dependent parents or grandparents aged between 55 and 59.  They will be granted a basic allowance of $ 15,000 a year, with an additional allowance of the same amount if their parents or grandparents are residing with them.

69.     I understand that Hong Kong people have high expectations of their children and attach great importance to their education.  Moreover, the cost of living is rising, so the burden of raising children is rather heavy.  I therefore propose to increase the child allowance from $30,000 per child to $40,000.  Some people have suggested that the Government should offer tax concessions for children's education.  I believe that increasing the child allowance as I have just mentioned is a simpler and more flexible way of easing parents' financial burden in this respect, and more people will be able to benefit from it.



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2004 | Important notices
Last revision date : 16 March, 2005