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Budget Speech

Preserving Revenue Base

149.    Hong Kong maintains a simple and low tax regime with a narrow tax base.  Among the working population, only 40 per cent pays salaries tax, and 60 per cent of the revenue comes from the top five per cent of the payers of salaries tax.  As for profits tax, only ten per cent of the registered corporations pay the tax, and over 80 per cent of the revenue comes from the top five per cent of payers of profits tax.  Therefore, it is of utmost importance for Government to stabilise and broaden the revenue base.

150.    Two years ago, I asked government departments to comprehensively review over a thousand fees and charges in accordance with the "cost-recovery" and "user pays" principles.  The review is supported by LegCo and our efforts have begun to bear fruits.  We shall next review livelihood-related fees and charges.

151.    Government launched an extensive consultation on the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax in 2006.  The community then did not support the new tax.  We may explore again the feasibility of broadening the tax base in due course with the aim of stabilising government revenue and creating room for direct tax concessions.



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