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Thursday, Mar 23, 2023

(Budget 2023-24) Key takeaways from HK Budget

(Budget 2023-24) Key takeaways from HK Budget

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po delivered his budget to the Legislative Council on Wednesday and added that the government will take a “moderately liberal” fiscal stance this year.
The government will give cash handouts and ease stamp duties for first-time homebuyers though the city is set for back-to-back deficits, in order to support an economy buffeted by prolonged Covid-19 restrictions.

Following are the key statements:

Consumption Vouchers
- issue e-vouchers with a total value of HK$5,000 to each eligible Hong Kong permanent resident and new arrival aged 18 or above in two instalments
- the first batch of consumption vouchers valued at HK$3,000 will be disbursed in April this year
- eligible persons who have come to live in Hong Kong through different admission schemes or to study in Hong Kong will receive vouchers in half value

- reducing salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for the year of assessment 2022/23 by 100 per cent, subject to a ceiling of HK$6,000
- propose to increase the basic child allowance and the additional child allowance from the current HK$120,000 to HK$130,000 starting from the year of assessment 2023/24
- reducing profits tax for the year of assessment 2022/23 by 100 per cent, subject to a ceiling of HK$6,000
- providing rates concession for domestic properties for the first two quarters of 2023 24, subject to a ceiling of HK$1,000 per quarter for each rateable property
- providing rates concession for non domestic properties for the first two quarters of 2023 24, subject to a ceiling of HK$1,000 per quarter for each rateable property

- current demand-side management measures for residential properties ("harsh measures") remain unchanged
- ad valorem stamp duty payable for the sale and purchase of residential and non residential properties (Rates at Scale 2) will be adjusted, measure will benefit 37,000 buyers
- completion of private residential units will average over 19,000 units annually in the five years from this year onwards
- identified eight sites for Light Public Housing construction
- about 14,000 transitional housing units will be coming on stream in the next two years

Tobacco Control
- propose to increase the duty on cigarettes by 60 cents per stick with immediate effect
- duties on other tobacco products will also be increased by the same proportion under the proposal
- target is to bring the smoking prevalence rate down from the current 9.5 per cent to 7.8 per cent

Allowances and subsidies
- providing one half of a month of the standard rate Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payments, Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance or Disability Allowance to eligible social security recipients
- extending the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme for six months till October 2023 to provide commuters with a subsidy amounting to one third of their actual monthly public transport expenses in excess of HK$200
- granting a HK$1,000 subsidy for each eligible residential electricity account
- current arrangement of distributing electricity charges relief of HK$50 a month will be extended to the end of 2025
- paying the examination fees for school candidates sitting for the 2024 HKDSE Examination

Betting Duty
- propose to impose an annual special football betting duty of HK$2.4 billion on the Jockey Club for five years starting from 2023 - 24
- current betting duty rates remain unchanged

Land Sale
- 2023-24 Land Sale Programme will cover a total of 12 residential sites
- potential land supply for the whole year is expected to have a capacity of providing about 20,550 units
- make the land available to the market for the production of no less than 72,000 private housing units in the coming five years
- Land Sale Programme also includes 3 commercial sites and 3 industrial sites, capable of providing about 200,000 square metres of commercial floor area and 170,000 square metres of industrial floor area

- introduce a new round of Capital Investment Entrant Scheme, which allow applicants to reside and pursue development in Hong Kong after investing a certain amount in the local asset market, excluding property
- HK$10 billion in funding to step up investment in innovation and technology
- to issue up to HK$50 billion of silver bonds
- to issue HK$15 billion of green retail bonds
- increase tax deduction to 200 percent for the MPF voluntary contributions made by employers for their employees aged 65 or above
- HK$174 million to enhance support for pre-school children with special needs
- HK$100 million to strengthen support for women's development, including helping them take up different roles in the job market and providing training on child and elderly care

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