Support for SMEs

Support for SMEs

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Support for SMEs

Non-financial Assistance

Four-in-One Integrated Services of SME Centres

Support and Consultation Centre for Small and Medium Enterprises (SUCCESS) under the Trade and Industry Department in collaboration with various industrial and trade organisations, professional bodies and other Government departments to provide SMEs with business information and consultation services free of charge.  For relevant videos, please click here.

"Meet-the-Advisors" Business Advisory Services (BAS) provided by SUCCESS that makes arrangements for SMEs encountering problems relating to the starting and running of a business to consult experts for their professional advice on 25 advisory areas, including setting up business, marketing, legal and accounting matters.

SME One under the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) strives to facilitate local SMEs and startups to sustain their businesses' competitiveness by providing to startups and inventors various supports, timely assistance and comprehensive information on market insights, technology transformation and government funding schemes, through its Inno Space and InnoPreneur Network. Assistance provided includes Meet with New Faces, eClinics, Seminars/Workshops/Study Missions and O2O Platform to showcase Tech and Business Solutions.

The HKPC has also introduced a free one-stop digital transformation solutions platform Digital DIY Portal that brings together digital transformation solutions, digital and innovation information and successful cases of digital transformation in industries, in order to assist local SMEs to embark on digital transformation.

SME Centre under the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) offers a comprehensive business library, meeting areas, function rooms and business support services.

In association with various partner organisations, including industry organisations, chambers of commerce and Consulates in Hong Kong, the HKTDC provides a free business advisory service for SMEs to capitalise on trade-related business opportunities.  For relevant videos, please click here.

The HKTDC Transformation Sandbox (T-box) is a SME support programme that helps SMEs enhance business competitiveness and achieve transformation goals in the areas of branding, e-commerce, manufacturing and supply chain solutions and new markets. Dedicated T-box staff will work with SMEs to identify goals and provide support over a three-month period, with group and individualised services, including advisory services, workshops, government-funding information, market knowledge and networking opportunities. The programme is offered free of charge and is open to all companies registered in Hong Kong.

TecONE under the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) provides detailed information on various funding schemes and indepth advisory services (in particular technology-related programmes under the funding schemes of HKSTP or the HKSAR Government), including professional guidance on the application of the funding schemes.

TecONE also offers business matching and business support services to partner companies and startups in Science Park, InnoCentre, and INNOPARKs.

"SME ReachOut", a dedicated service team operated by Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), has commenced operation since 1 January 2020 to enhance SMEs' understanding of the Government's funding schemes, with a view to encouraging better utilisation of the support provided by the Government. The team would help SMEs identify funding schemes that suit their needs, and answer questions relating to applications.

The Government has allocated $100 million to HKPC to gradually enhance the services of "SME ReachOut" in the ensuing five years starting from 2023. HKPC has enhanced the services of "SME ReachOut" in October 2023, including arranging visits to more chambers of commerce, commercial and industrial buildings and co-working spaces, and increasing the publicity in social media so as to step up the promotion of government funding schemes. At the same time, more one-on-one consultation sessions will be provided to assist SMEs in applying for government funding and building their capacities, focusing on areas such as "environmental, social and governance" (ESG), technology transformation, digitalisation and cyber security, with a view to enhancing their competitiveness through leveraging new technologies.

Support and Consultation Centre for Small and Medium Enterprises (SUCCESS) under the Trade and Industry Department in collaboration with various industrial and trade organisations, professional bodies and other Government departments to provide SMEs with business information and consultation services free of charge.  For relevant videos, please click here.

"Meet-the-Advisors" Business Advisory Services (BAS) provided by SUCCESS that makes arrangements for SMEs encountering problems relating to the starting and running of a business to consult experts for their professional advice on 25 advisory areas, including setting up business, marketing, legal and accounting matters.


SME One under the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) strives to facilitate local SMEs and startups to sustain their businesses' competitiveness by providing to startups and inventors various supports, timely assistance and comprehensive information on market insights, technology transformation and government funding schemes, through its Inno Space and InnoPreneur Network. Assistance provided includes Meet with New Faces, eClinics, Seminars/Workshops/Study Missions and O2O Platform to showcase Tech and Business Solutions.

The HKPC has also introduced a free one-stop digital transformation solutions platform Digital DIY Portal that brings together digital transformation solutions, digital and innovation information and successful cases of digital transformation in industries, in order to assist local SMEs to embark on digital transformation.


SME Centre under the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) offers a comprehensive business library, meeting areas, function rooms and business support services.

In association with various partner organisations, including industry organisations, chambers of commerce and Consulates in Hong Kong, the HKTDC provides a free business advisory service for SMEs to capitalise on trade-related business opportunities.  For relevant videos, please click here.

The HKTDC Transformation Sandbox (T-box) is a SME support programme that helps SMEs enhance business competitiveness and achieve transformation goals in the areas of branding, e-commerce, manufacturing and supply chain solutions and new markets. Dedicated T-box staff will work with SMEs to identify goals and provide support over a three-month period, with group and individualised services, including advisory services, workshops, government-funding information, market knowledge and networking opportunities. The programme is offered free of charge and is open to all companies registered in Hong Kong.


TecONE under the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) provides detailed information on various funding schemes and indepth advisory services (in particular technology-related programmes under the funding schemes of HKSTP or the HKSAR Government), including professional guidance on the application of the funding schemes.

TecONE also offers business matching and business support services to partner companies and startups in Science Park, InnoCentre, and INNOPARKs.


"SME ReachOut", a dedicated service team operated by Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), has commenced operation since 1 January 2020 to enhance SMEs' understanding of the Government's funding schemes, with a view to encouraging better utilisation of the support provided by the Government. The team would help SMEs identify funding schemes that suit their needs, and answer questions relating to applications.

The Government has allocated $100 million to HKPC to gradually enhance the services of "SME ReachOut" in the ensuing five years starting from 2023. HKPC has enhanced the services of "SME ReachOut" in October 2023, including arranging visits to more chambers of commerce, commercial and industrial buildings and co-working spaces, and increasing the publicity in social media so as to step up the promotion of government funding schemes. At the same time, more one-on-one consultation sessions will be provided to assist SMEs in applying for government funding and building their capacities, focusing on areas such as "environmental, social and governance" (ESG), technology transformation, digitalisation and cyber security, with a view to enhancing their competitiveness through leveraging new technologies.


Doing Business with the Government

The Government seeks to procure stores and services at the best value for money in a publicly accountable manner. Its procurement practices are underpinned by the principles of open and fair competition, transparency, pro-innovation and integrity. For details of Government procurement policy and procedures, please click here for the Government's procurement policy and procedures, services, application for inclusion in the Government's supplier lists and information on the published government tender.

The Government seeks to procure stores and services at the best value for money in a publicly accountable manner. Its procurement practices are underpinned by the principles of open and fair competition, transparency, pro-innovation and integrity. For details of Government procurement policy and procedures, please click here for the Government's procurement policy and procedures, services, application for inclusion in the Government's supplier lists and information on the published government tender.


Facilitation Services and Information provided by the Government and public bodies

Invest Hong Kong works with overseas and Mainland companies, including SMEs, entrepreneurs and startups that wish to set up an office or expand their existing business in Hong Kong. Invest Hong Kong offers free advice and services to support companies from the planning stage right through to the launch and expansion of their business.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) enforces the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO) to uphold a fair and corruption-free society and safeguard the legitimate interests of different stakeholders. The POBO governs corruption in both the private and public sector. Click here to view the gist of the POBO.

Cross-boundary business operations may encounter corruption risks due to the differences in law, social environment, staff culture as well as problems relating to "remote management" of the business. Click here to learn the life hacks for cross-boundary business management.

The ICAC produces a full range of business ethics resources for various business targets. For instance, corporate leaders can make use of the Corporate Ethics Health Checklist to conduct a quick organisational check-up in corporate ethics and diagnose the areas for follow-up and improvement. Business practitioners may visit the Busted! 12 Myths about Corruption webpage to learn about some common corruption myths and mitigate corruption risks at work.

The ICAC provides free anti-corruption and ethics training to help business organisations cultivate an ethical culture. The Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Centre of the ICAC also launches an online training platform BEDC Channel to offer free thematic webinars regularly for business practitioners and professionals of different trades and sectors.

Some decisions in workplace are tough calls when involving ethical dilemmas. The Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Centre of the ICAC developed an “ETHICS PLUS” Model, which is an ethical decision making tool for business practitioners to resolve ethical dilemmas at work. Check out the dedicated website for more details.

The SMEs and Start-ups Corner is a one-stop online ethics resources portal developed by the Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Centre (HKBEDC) of the ICAC. The Corner introduces common corruption and malpractice risks in business operation and provides useful tips and resources for SME and start-up proprietors.

A "Starting-Up Right!" Anti-Corruption Information Kit for Start-ups & SMEs is also produced to highlight key points of the anti-corruption laws.  Interested parties may contact the HKBEDC to obtain the Information Kit.

The Customs and Excise Department is responsible for the protection of the HKSAR against smuggling by enforcing licensing controls on prohibited articles through inspection of cargoes imported and exported by air, land and sea, and searching aircraft, vessels and vehicles entering and leaving the HKSAR. For details, please click here.

Under the Import and Export (Registration) Regulations, Chapter 60E, Laws of Hong Kong, every person who imports into or exports from Hong Kong any article other than an exempted article is required to lodge with the Commissioner of Customs and Excise an accurate and complete import or export/re-export declaration within 14 days after the importation or exportation of the article. For details, please click here.

There is an Air Cargo Clearance System (ACCS) which hooks up with the air cargo industry in the Hong Kong International Airport. ACCS has the following features:
  • specially designed to expedite the clearance of air cargo;
  • direct system interface between Customs and cargo operators for the exchange of cargo data and Customs clearance instructions;
  • service availability of 24 hours a day and 7 days a week; and
  • covering clearance of all types of air cargoes.

For air, ocean and river cargoes, there is an Electronic System for Cargo Manifests (EMAN) which enables carriers to submit cargo manifests electronically to the Customs and Excise Department, the Census and Statistics Department and the Trade and Industry Department in one go.

There is also a Sea Cargo Appointment Website to enable consignees or their representatives to make cargo examination appointment with Customs for detained sea cargoes.

The Road Cargo System (ROCARS) commenced its mandatory implementation on 17 November 2011. It enables registered shippers or their authorized agents to submit advanced cargo information of road cargo by electronic means. Under the system, truck drivers can enjoy seamless and speedy Customs clearance when they convey road cargoes across land boundary control points.

The Customs and Excise Department of Hong Kong and the Mainland Customs have signed the Co-operation Arrangement on Customs Facilitation Measures for Wine Entering the Mainland through Hong Kong (Facilitation Measures) to facilitate wine business between Hong Kong and the Mainland. Under the Facilitation Measures, Hong Kong Registered Wine Exporters could lodge advance wine consignment information online to enjoy instant Customs clearance upon their consignments' arrival at all ports of the 42 Mainland Customs districts.  

To further enrich the facilitation services provided under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and to facilitate more transhipment cargoes in Hong Kong to be qualified for preferential tariff, the Customs and Excise Department has launched the Free Trade Agreement Transhipment Facilitation Scheme (FTA Scheme) since 20 December 2015. This voluntary scheme provides traders with Customs supervision service and issues Certificate of Non-manipulation to certify transhipment cargoes that have not been undergone any further processing during their stay in Hong Kong.  

The Hong Kong Authorized Economic Operator (HKAEO) Programme launched in April 2012, is administered by the Customs and Excise Department under an open, free and voluntary certification regime. In compliance with World Customs Organization's SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade, it aims to enhance international supply chain security by strengthening the Customs-to-Business partnership.

To assist SMEs to join the Programme, there are two tiers of HKAEO status, which help upgrade their supply chain security management.

All local stakeholders engaging in the international supply chain activities are eligible to apply for the Programme. They can enjoy relevant Customs facilitation and benefits after being accreditation.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (the KPCS) for rough diamonds has been developed by the Kimberley Process, an international negotiating forum that seeks to stop trading in "conflict diamonds" from fuelling armed conflicts, activities of rebel movements and illicit proliferation of armament. The KPCS implemented in HKSAR comprises a registration system for rough diamond traders and a certification system for import/export of rough diamonds. The KPCS is administered by the Trade and Industry Department and enforced by the Customs & Excise Department.  

No person shall manufacture pre-recorded or blank optical discs in except with a valid licence issued under section 3 of the Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance, Chapter 544, Laws of Hong Kong. It is also stipulated under section 4 of the Ordinance that no licensee shall manufacture optical discs in any place other than a licensed premises.

Under sections 6C and 6D of the Import and Export Ordinance, Chapter 60, Laws of Hong Kong, any persons, who import or export Optical Disc Mastering and Replication Equipment (ODMRE), are also required to apply for import or export licence.

The Customs & Excise Department is responsible for issuing and endorsing the Import and Export Licence, Licence for the Manufacture of Optical Discs/Stampers, and Transhipment Notification for ODMRE.

Prohibited articles are goods the import, export or transit of which are prohibited or controlled under the provisions of the Import and Export Ordinance, Chapter 60, Laws of Hong Kong, or any other laws of the HKSAR.

Any persons importing or exporting such prohibited articles must apply for licences, permits or certificates from the Government Departments concerned in advance and are subject to the conditions imposed thereof. For details, please click here.  

The Customs and Excise Department is responsible for protection and collection of revenue on four types of dutiable commodities which are liquors, tobacco, hydrocarbon oil and methyl alcohol irrespective of whether they are imported or locally manufactured under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, Chapter 109, Laws of Hong Kong.

The website of Dutiable Commodities System (DCS) receives and processes licence applications submitted by users through electronic means and introduces the permit application method to users.

In accordance with the Motor Vehicles (First Registration Tax) Ordinance, Chapter 330, Laws of Hong Kong, any persons who carry on business of importing motor vehicles for use in Hong Kong, and/or distributing or retailing motor vehicles by sale for use in Hong Kong should register as importers/distributors with the Customs and Excise Department within 30 days of the commencement of their business. For the details of registration as importers/distributors, please click here.  

The Import and Export Ordinance, Chapter 60, Laws of Hong Kong provides the legal basis for implementing strategic trade control in Hong Kong. The Ordinance stipulates that no person shall import or export any article specified in the Schedules to the Import and Export (Strategic Commodities) Regulations except under and in accordance with a licence issued by the Director-General of Trade and Industry. 

The e-Sea Customs Clearance Scheme (the e-SCC Scheme) aims to provide an e-channel for sea freight forwarders and logistics companies to lodge advance house bill of lading information to Customs, which simplifies customs clearance procedures and achieves resources saving and efficiency enhancement for customs, carriers and forwarders.  

Trade Single Window is a one-stop electronic platform for lodging Business-to-Government (B2G) trade documents to facilitate the trading community to meet the import and export regulatory requirements of Hong Kong. In this regard, the Office of Trade Single Window Operation has been setup within the Customs & Excise Department providing the trade and logistics industries with supporting services. The office is also responsible for the day-to-day maintenance, operation and promotion of the Trade Single Window.

Trade Single Window will be implemented in three phases. Phases 1 and 2 have been launched.  

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) was established in 1966 under the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation Ordinance, Chapter 1115, Laws of Hong Kong. Through the provision of export credit insurance services, the HKECIC protects Hong Kong exporters who trade on credit terms with overseas buyers against non-payment risks and helps them conduct export business in a prudent manner. HKECIC provides tailor-made facilities to cater for different needs of SME, micro-business and start-up exporters.

To assist exporters in exploring export trade markets with confidence amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) launched a series of enhanced measures to support exporters, in particular SMEs, in April 2020.  HKECIC announced on 20 June 2023 the extension of various enhanced measures to 30 June 2024 to continue providing support to Hong Kong exporters in exploring export trade markets, lower trading risk and operating cost amidst the normalisation of global trading environment.  Details of extended enhanced measures are as follows:  

  1. Offer 6 free buyer credit assessment for each Hong Kong exporter.
  2. Waive annual policy fee.
  3. Provide policyholders 10 additional free credit check facility.
  4. For holders of Small Business Policy, free pre-shipment cover is provided for buyers approved for such cover.

In addition, HKECIC will permanently grant cross the board payment term of 120 days and holders of Small Business Policy will continue to enjoy a 20% of premium discount.  For relevant press release, please click here.

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) launched the Export Credit Guarantee Programme in March 2022, aiming at helping Hong Kong exporters, especially the SMEs, secure trade finance by providing loan guarantee to their lending institutions.  The Programme is further extended to 31 March 2025.  Under the Programme, HKECIC will guarantee up to 70% of the export financing of the policyholders at a maximum guarantee limit of HK$50 million per exporter.  The lending institutions will, after credit assessment of the policyholders, apply for the guarantee from HKECIC.  For details, please click here.

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) launched the Flexible Indemnity Ratio Arrangement on 28 September 2022 to provide enhanced coverage under different risk situations, with a view to allowing greater flexibility for exporters to secure orders from overseas buyers. Under the Arrangement, HKECIC will take into account policyholders' needs and consider providing an automatic uplift for credit limits of or below HK$5 million that were not fully approved to a maximum of HK$12.5 million, if needed. The indemnity ratio will be correspondingly adjusted from 90% to 60% the lowest. No additional premium would be required.

The Intellectual Property Department has launched the Intellectual Property (IP) Manager Scheme PLUS, which provides more comprehensive and in-depth IP training courses to assist Hong Kong enterprises, especially SMEs to build up their IP manpower capacity and to grasp the opportunities brought by IP trading. Enterprises registered in Hong Kong can join the Scheme for free. Participating enterprises can get priority in registration and special offers for their staff to join the IP Training Programme.

The Intellectual Property Department organises the Intellectual Property (IP) Training Programme, providing training courses which are designed to cater for specific duties and career development needs of IP Managers and help establish their expertise and skills. The courses will enable them to enhance awareness of IP protection and fully exploit the creative potential of an enterprise, proactively protect an enterprise’s IP from infringement, and liberate the value of an enterprise’s IP assets for trading or seeking investment.  

The Intellectual Property Department, with support from the Law Society of Hong Kong, provides free one-on-one Intellectual Property (IP) Consultation Service for Hong Kong SMEs with a view to assisting them to raise their awareness of IP and to develop effective IP management and commercialisation strategies.

A 45-minute face-to-face Consultation Service will be delivered by practising solicitors of the Law Society of Hong Kong. Advisory areas cover IP registration, IP management, IP licensing and IP due diligence.

The Government protects employees’ rights and benefits as well as occupational safety and health through an extensive programme of labour legislation. The Employment Ordinance, Chapter 57, Laws of Hong Kong, provides the framework for a comprehensive code of employment. It governs the payment of wages, the termination of employment contracts, the operation of employment agencies, etc. The law provides eligible employees with various benefits and protection such as rest days, paid statutory holidays, paid annual leave, sickness allowance, paid paternity leave, maternity protection and employment protection.

The Labour Department provides free round-the-clock employment and recruitment services to job-seekers and employers through the Interactive Employment Service website and mobile application.

Under the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) System, employees and self-employed persons (SEPs) aged 18 to 64 are, unless exempted, required to join an MPF scheme. The MPF System is employment-based. An employer must provide 5% of an employee’s relevant income (RI) as mandatory contributions for the employee, subject to a maximum RI level. Employees have to make the same amount of contributions for themselves unless their RIs are below the minimum level. SEPs must also contribute 5% of their RIs, subject to the minimum and maximum levels.

The Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority, established under the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance, regulates the MPF System and ensures compliance with the law to protect the interests of scheme members.

The Government has announced that the abolition of using the accrued benefits of employers' mandatory contributions under the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) System to offset severance payment (SP) and long service payment (LSP) (offsetting arrangement) will be implemented on 1 May 2025. The Labour Department has set up a thematic website to provide information about the abolition of offsetting arrangement and Government Subsidy Scheme. The website also provides a calculating tool, "EasyCal", as well as examples, to help employers and employees calculate the amount of SP/LSP and the Government subsidy after the abolition of offsetting arrangement.

Hong Kong Accreditation Service (HKAS) provides a wide range of accreditation services to conformity assessment bodies through three accreditation schemes, namely, the Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (HOKLAS); the Hong Kong Certification Body Accreditation Scheme (HKCAS); and the Hong Kong Inspection Body Accreditation Scheme (HKIAS).  

HKAS has published a directory of accredited organsiations at its website facilitating users of testing, certification and inspection service to select the services provided by these accredited organisations to support their business.

The Quality Services Division of the Innovation and Technology Commission promotes general awareness towards the importance and benefits of standards in underpinning the development of technology and products, and dissemination of the latest standards related information so as to support cross-border trade. In addition to standards sales and provision of standards information, the Quality Services Division also encourages interested parties to take part in international standardization activities.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) has published the "From Principles to Practice – SME Personal Data Protection Toolkit" to enhance SMEs' knowledge in protecting and respecting personal data, and provide a structured tool for assisting SMEs in carrying out compliance and governance work, so as to create a workplace and an operating model that uphold the culture of respecting and protecting personal data privacy, under the overall direction of developing Hong Kong into a Smart City.

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) issued 2023/24 Profits Tax returns to corporations and partnership businesses on 2 April 2024. This is the second year in which the IRD has implemented the voluntary e-filing initiative. Taxpayers are encouraged to participate in the voluntary e-filing of their profits tax returns and the required forms together with the supporting documents (including financial statements and tax computations) in iXBRL format. 

To facilitate taxpayers in preparing the required iXBRL data files, the IRD is providing the IRD Taxonomy Package (the Taxonomy) and the IRD iXBRL Data Preparation Tools (the Tools), which can be downloaded from the IRD website, free of charge. 

The Taxonomy and the Tools have been updated and enhanced this year. The major enhanced features include:

  • Adding a roll-over function 
  • Increasing the gross income threshold for the use of Template Tool from HK$2million to HK$5million 

Meanwhile, the first Traditional Chinese edition of the Taxonomy and the Traditional Chinese Tools, which enable taxpayers to convert their Traditional Chinese supporting documents into iXBRL data files, will also be launched.

More details on e-filing of profits tax returns and the use of the Tools can be found on the IRD webpages at www.ird.gov.hk/e_epf and www.ird.gov.hk/eng/tax/bus_ixbrl, respectively. For enquiries, taxpayers may contact the IRD at ixbrl_reporting@ird.gov.hk, or access e-Appointment to book a specific timeslot to make enquiries via phone.

Benefits of e-filing

  • Minimizing errors in tax filing 
  • Reducing the turnaround time for signature or authorization arrangement 
  • Enhancing the efficiency, reliability and accuracy
  • Providing round-the-clock service

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) issued employer's returns, i.e. Employer's Return of Remuneration and Pensions (Form BIR56A) for the year ended 31 March 2024 on 2 April 2024. Employers are required to complete and file the returns, together with the completed Form IR56B for reporting remuneration paid to employees and pension paid, to the IRD within one month.

Employers can file the employer's returns online by using "iAM Smart+" or eTAX account. To tie in with employers in preparing early, the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool can be used to prepare the data file of annual Form IR56B starting from 1 March each year. Upon receipt of the Form BIR56A, employers can upload the IR56B data file to the IRD via the Online Mode or the Mixed Mode submission. Employers adopting the Mixed Mode submission, after uploading of data file(s), are only required to submit the duly signed paper form BIR56A and the duly signed Cover Page (i.e. the first page) of paper Control List generated from the system to complete the submission process.

Please visit the IRD website: https://www.ird.gov.hk/eng/tax/err.htm for details.

Please take note of the following new filing requirements when you do profits tax filing starting from 1 April 2023:

  1. If you have any gross income during the basis period, you must submit your profits tax return together with all supporting documents (including financial statements and tax computation). Small corporations and businesses with gross income not exceeding HK$2 million will no longer be permitted to file their profits tax returns without supporting documents.
  2. Where appropriate, you are required to electronically file (e-file) all relevant supplementary forms and other forms to be furnished with the profits tax return under the eTAX services provided at GovHK.

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has already enhanced the eTAX services to enable more corporations and businesses (excluding sole proprietorship businesses) to voluntarily e-file their profits tax returns together with financial statements and tax computations in inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language (iXBRL) format. As an alternative to paper filing of your profits tax return, you are encouraged to participate in voluntary e-filing through the eTAX platform so as to enjoy a further one-month extension of filing deadline. 

For details on the new filing requirements, please visit the IRD website (www.ird.gov.hk/eng/tax/bus_cpt.htm). For enquiries on the eTAX services, you may contact the eTAX Helpdesk Hotline at 183 2011. For enquiries in relation to the use of the IRD iXBRL Data Preparation Tools, you may contact the IRD at ixbrl_reporting@ird.gov.hk or access e-Appointment to book-in-advance a specific timeslot. The IRD will contact you by phone at the booked timeslot.

Invest Hong Kong works with overseas and Mainland companies, including SMEs, entrepreneurs and startups that wish to set up an office or expand their existing business in Hong Kong. Invest Hong Kong offers free advice and services to support companies from the planning stage right through to the launch and expansion of their business.



The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) enforces the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO) to uphold a fair and corruption-free society and safeguard the legitimate interests of different stakeholders. The POBO governs corruption in both the private and public sector. Click here to view the gist of the POBO.

Cross-boundary business operations may encounter corruption risks due to the differences in law, social environment, staff culture as well as problems relating to "remote management" of the business. Click here to learn the life hacks for cross-boundary business management.

The ICAC produces a full range of business ethics resources for various business targets. For instance, corporate leaders can make use of the Corporate Ethics Health Checklist to conduct a quick organisational check-up in corporate ethics and diagnose the areas for follow-up and improvement. Business practitioners may visit the Busted! 12 Myths about Corruption webpage to learn about some common corruption myths and mitigate corruption risks at work.

The ICAC provides free anti-corruption and ethics training to help business organisations cultivate an ethical culture. The Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Centre of the ICAC also launches an online training platform BEDC Channel to offer free thematic webinars regularly for business practitioners and professionals of different trades and sectors.

Some decisions in workplace are tough calls when involving ethical dilemmas. The Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Centre of the ICAC developed an “ETHICS PLUS” Model, which is an ethical decision making tool for business practitioners to resolve ethical dilemmas at work. Check out the dedicated website for more details.

The SMEs and Start-ups Corner is a one-stop online ethics resources portal developed by the Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Centre (HKBEDC) of the ICAC. The Corner introduces common corruption and malpractice risks in business operation and provides useful tips and resources for SME and start-up proprietors.

A "Starting-Up Right!" Anti-Corruption Information Kit for Start-ups & SMEs is also produced to highlight key points of the anti-corruption laws.  Interested parties may contact the HKBEDC to obtain the Information Kit.


The Customs and Excise Department is responsible for the protection of the HKSAR against smuggling by enforcing licensing controls on prohibited articles through inspection of cargoes imported and exported by air, land and sea, and searching aircraft, vessels and vehicles entering and leaving the HKSAR. For details, please click here.

Under the Import and Export (Registration) Regulations, Chapter 60E, Laws of Hong Kong, every person who imports into or exports from Hong Kong any article other than an exempted article is required to lodge with the Commissioner of Customs and Excise an accurate and complete import or export/re-export declaration within 14 days after the importation or exportation of the article. For details, please click here.

There is an Air Cargo Clearance System (ACCS) which hooks up with the air cargo industry in the Hong Kong International Airport. ACCS has the following features:
  • specially designed to expedite the clearance of air cargo;
  • direct system interface between Customs and cargo operators for the exchange of cargo data and Customs clearance instructions;
  • service availability of 24 hours a day and 7 days a week; and
  • covering clearance of all types of air cargoes.

For air, ocean and river cargoes, there is an Electronic System for Cargo Manifests (EMAN) which enables carriers to submit cargo manifests electronically to the Customs and Excise Department, the Census and Statistics Department and the Trade and Industry Department in one go.

There is also a Sea Cargo Appointment Website to enable consignees or their representatives to make cargo examination appointment with Customs for detained sea cargoes.

The Road Cargo System (ROCARS) commenced its mandatory implementation on 17 November 2011. It enables registered shippers or their authorized agents to submit advanced cargo information of road cargo by electronic means. Under the system, truck drivers can enjoy seamless and speedy Customs clearance when they convey road cargoes across land boundary control points.

The Customs and Excise Department of Hong Kong and the Mainland Customs have signed the Co-operation Arrangement on Customs Facilitation Measures for Wine Entering the Mainland through Hong Kong (Facilitation Measures) to facilitate wine business between Hong Kong and the Mainland. Under the Facilitation Measures, Hong Kong Registered Wine Exporters could lodge advance wine consignment information online to enjoy instant Customs clearance upon their consignments' arrival at all ports of the 42 Mainland Customs districts.  

To further enrich the facilitation services provided under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and to facilitate more transhipment cargoes in Hong Kong to be qualified for preferential tariff, the Customs and Excise Department has launched the Free Trade Agreement Transhipment Facilitation Scheme (FTA Scheme) since 20 December 2015. This voluntary scheme provides traders with Customs supervision service and issues Certificate of Non-manipulation to certify transhipment cargoes that have not been undergone any further processing during their stay in Hong Kong.  

The Hong Kong Authorized Economic Operator (HKAEO) Programme launched in April 2012, is administered by the Customs and Excise Department under an open, free and voluntary certification regime. In compliance with World Customs Organization's SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade, it aims to enhance international supply chain security by strengthening the Customs-to-Business partnership.

To assist SMEs to join the Programme, there are two tiers of HKAEO status, which help upgrade their supply chain security management.

All local stakeholders engaging in the international supply chain activities are eligible to apply for the Programme. They can enjoy relevant Customs facilitation and benefits after being accreditation.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (the KPCS) for rough diamonds has been developed by the Kimberley Process, an international negotiating forum that seeks to stop trading in "conflict diamonds" from fuelling armed conflicts, activities of rebel movements and illicit proliferation of armament. The KPCS implemented in HKSAR comprises a registration system for rough diamond traders and a certification system for import/export of rough diamonds. The KPCS is administered by the Trade and Industry Department and enforced by the Customs & Excise Department.  

No person shall manufacture pre-recorded or blank optical discs in except with a valid licence issued under section 3 of the Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance, Chapter 544, Laws of Hong Kong. It is also stipulated under section 4 of the Ordinance that no licensee shall manufacture optical discs in any place other than a licensed premises.

Under sections 6C and 6D of the Import and Export Ordinance, Chapter 60, Laws of Hong Kong, any persons, who import or export Optical Disc Mastering and Replication Equipment (ODMRE), are also required to apply for import or export licence.

The Customs & Excise Department is responsible for issuing and endorsing the Import and Export Licence, Licence for the Manufacture of Optical Discs/Stampers, and Transhipment Notification for ODMRE.

Prohibited articles are goods the import, export or transit of which are prohibited or controlled under the provisions of the Import and Export Ordinance, Chapter 60, Laws of Hong Kong, or any other laws of the HKSAR.

Any persons importing or exporting such prohibited articles must apply for licences, permits or certificates from the Government Departments concerned in advance and are subject to the conditions imposed thereof. For details, please click here.  

The Customs and Excise Department is responsible for protection and collection of revenue on four types of dutiable commodities which are liquors, tobacco, hydrocarbon oil and methyl alcohol irrespective of whether they are imported or locally manufactured under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, Chapter 109, Laws of Hong Kong.

The website of Dutiable Commodities System (DCS) receives and processes licence applications submitted by users through electronic means and introduces the permit application method to users.

In accordance with the Motor Vehicles (First Registration Tax) Ordinance, Chapter 330, Laws of Hong Kong, any persons who carry on business of importing motor vehicles for use in Hong Kong, and/or distributing or retailing motor vehicles by sale for use in Hong Kong should register as importers/distributors with the Customs and Excise Department within 30 days of the commencement of their business. For the details of registration as importers/distributors, please click here.  

The Import and Export Ordinance, Chapter 60, Laws of Hong Kong provides the legal basis for implementing strategic trade control in Hong Kong. The Ordinance stipulates that no person shall import or export any article specified in the Schedules to the Import and Export (Strategic Commodities) Regulations except under and in accordance with a licence issued by the Director-General of Trade and Industry. 

The e-Sea Customs Clearance Scheme (the e-SCC Scheme) aims to provide an e-channel for sea freight forwarders and logistics companies to lodge advance house bill of lading information to Customs, which simplifies customs clearance procedures and achieves resources saving and efficiency enhancement for customs, carriers and forwarders.  

Trade Single Window is a one-stop electronic platform for lodging Business-to-Government (B2G) trade documents to facilitate the trading community to meet the import and export regulatory requirements of Hong Kong. In this regard, the Office of Trade Single Window Operation has been setup within the Customs & Excise Department providing the trade and logistics industries with supporting services. The office is also responsible for the day-to-day maintenance, operation and promotion of the Trade Single Window.

Trade Single Window will be implemented in three phases. Phases 1 and 2 have been launched.  


The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) was established in 1966 under the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation Ordinance, Chapter 1115, Laws of Hong Kong. Through the provision of export credit insurance services, the HKECIC protects Hong Kong exporters who trade on credit terms with overseas buyers against non-payment risks and helps them conduct export business in a prudent manner. HKECIC provides tailor-made facilities to cater for different needs of SME, micro-business and start-up exporters.

To assist exporters in exploring export trade markets with confidence amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) launched a series of enhanced measures to support exporters, in particular SMEs, in April 2020.  HKECIC announced on 20 June 2023 the extension of various enhanced measures to 30 June 2024 to continue providing support to Hong Kong exporters in exploring export trade markets, lower trading risk and operating cost amidst the normalisation of global trading environment.  Details of extended enhanced measures are as follows:  

  1. Offer 6 free buyer credit assessment for each Hong Kong exporter.
  2. Waive annual policy fee.
  3. Provide policyholders 10 additional free credit check facility.
  4. For holders of Small Business Policy, free pre-shipment cover is provided for buyers approved for such cover.

In addition, HKECIC will permanently grant cross the board payment term of 120 days and holders of Small Business Policy will continue to enjoy a 20% of premium discount.  For relevant press release, please click here.

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) launched the Export Credit Guarantee Programme in March 2022, aiming at helping Hong Kong exporters, especially the SMEs, secure trade finance by providing loan guarantee to their lending institutions.  The Programme is further extended to 31 March 2025.  Under the Programme, HKECIC will guarantee up to 70% of the export financing of the policyholders at a maximum guarantee limit of HK$50 million per exporter.  The lending institutions will, after credit assessment of the policyholders, apply for the guarantee from HKECIC.  For details, please click here.

The Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation (HKECIC) launched the Flexible Indemnity Ratio Arrangement on 28 September 2022 to provide enhanced coverage under different risk situations, with a view to allowing greater flexibility for exporters to secure orders from overseas buyers. Under the Arrangement, HKECIC will take into account policyholders' needs and consider providing an automatic uplift for credit limits of or below HK$5 million that were not fully approved to a maximum of HK$12.5 million, if needed. The indemnity ratio will be correspondingly adjusted from 90% to 60% the lowest. No additional premium would be required.


The Intellectual Property Department has launched the Intellectual Property (IP) Manager Scheme PLUS, which provides more comprehensive and in-depth IP training courses to assist Hong Kong enterprises, especially SMEs to build up their IP manpower capacity and to grasp the opportunities brought by IP trading. Enterprises registered in Hong Kong can join the Scheme for free. Participating enterprises can get priority in registration and special offers for their staff to join the IP Training Programme.

The Intellectual Property Department organises the Intellectual Property (IP) Training Programme, providing training courses which are designed to cater for specific duties and career development needs of IP Managers and help establish their expertise and skills. The courses will enable them to enhance awareness of IP protection and fully exploit the creative potential of an enterprise, proactively protect an enterprise’s IP from infringement, and liberate the value of an enterprise’s IP assets for trading or seeking investment.  

The Intellectual Property Department, with support from the Law Society of Hong Kong, provides free one-on-one Intellectual Property (IP) Consultation Service for Hong Kong SMEs with a view to assisting them to raise their awareness of IP and to develop effective IP management and commercialisation strategies.

A 45-minute face-to-face Consultation Service will be delivered by practising solicitors of the Law Society of Hong Kong. Advisory areas cover IP registration, IP management, IP licensing and IP due diligence.


The Government protects employees’ rights and benefits as well as occupational safety and health through an extensive programme of labour legislation. The Employment Ordinance, Chapter 57, Laws of Hong Kong, provides the framework for a comprehensive code of employment. It governs the payment of wages, the termination of employment contracts, the operation of employment agencies, etc. The law provides eligible employees with various benefits and protection such as rest days, paid statutory holidays, paid annual leave, sickness allowance, paid paternity leave, maternity protection and employment protection.

The Labour Department provides free round-the-clock employment and recruitment services to job-seekers and employers through the Interactive Employment Service website and mobile application.

Under the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) System, employees and self-employed persons (SEPs) aged 18 to 64 are, unless exempted, required to join an MPF scheme. The MPF System is employment-based. An employer must provide 5% of an employee’s relevant income (RI) as mandatory contributions for the employee, subject to a maximum RI level. Employees have to make the same amount of contributions for themselves unless their RIs are below the minimum level. SEPs must also contribute 5% of their RIs, subject to the minimum and maximum levels.

The Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority, established under the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance, regulates the MPF System and ensures compliance with the law to protect the interests of scheme members.

The Government has announced that the abolition of using the accrued benefits of employers' mandatory contributions under the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) System to offset severance payment (SP) and long service payment (LSP) (offsetting arrangement) will be implemented on 1 May 2025. The Labour Department has set up a thematic website to provide information about the abolition of offsetting arrangement and Government Subsidy Scheme. The website also provides a calculating tool, "EasyCal", as well as examples, to help employers and employees calculate the amount of SP/LSP and the Government subsidy after the abolition of offsetting arrangement.


Hong Kong Accreditation Service (HKAS) provides a wide range of accreditation services to conformity assessment bodies through three accreditation schemes, namely, the Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (HOKLAS); the Hong Kong Certification Body Accreditation Scheme (HKCAS); and the Hong Kong Inspection Body Accreditation Scheme (HKIAS).  

HKAS has published a directory of accredited organsiations at its website facilitating users of testing, certification and inspection service to select the services provided by these accredited organisations to support their business.

The Quality Services Division of the Innovation and Technology Commission promotes general awareness towards the importance and benefits of standards in underpinning the development of technology and products, and dissemination of the latest standards related information so as to support cross-border trade. In addition to standards sales and provision of standards information, the Quality Services Division also encourages interested parties to take part in international standardization activities.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) has published the "From Principles to Practice – SME Personal Data Protection Toolkit" to enhance SMEs' knowledge in protecting and respecting personal data, and provide a structured tool for assisting SMEs in carrying out compliance and governance work, so as to create a workplace and an operating model that uphold the culture of respecting and protecting personal data privacy, under the overall direction of developing Hong Kong into a Smart City.



The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) issued 2023/24 Profits Tax returns to corporations and partnership businesses on 2 April 2024. This is the second year in which the IRD has implemented the voluntary e-filing initiative. Taxpayers are encouraged to participate in the voluntary e-filing of their profits tax returns and the required forms together with the supporting documents (including financial statements and tax computations) in iXBRL format. 

To facilitate taxpayers in preparing the required iXBRL data files, the IRD is providing the IRD Taxonomy Package (the Taxonomy) and the IRD iXBRL Data Preparation Tools (the Tools), which can be downloaded from the IRD website, free of charge. 

The Taxonomy and the Tools have been updated and enhanced this year. The major enhanced features include:

  • Adding a roll-over function 
  • Increasing the gross income threshold for the use of Template Tool from HK$2million to HK$5million 

Meanwhile, the first Traditional Chinese edition of the Taxonomy and the Traditional Chinese Tools, which enable taxpayers to convert their Traditional Chinese supporting documents into iXBRL data files, will also be launched.

More details on e-filing of profits tax returns and the use of the Tools can be found on the IRD webpages at www.ird.gov.hk/e_epf and www.ird.gov.hk/eng/tax/bus_ixbrl, respectively. For enquiries, taxpayers may contact the IRD at ixbrl_reporting@ird.gov.hk, or access e-Appointment to book a specific timeslot to make enquiries via phone.

Benefits of e-filing

  • Minimizing errors in tax filing 
  • Reducing the turnaround time for signature or authorization arrangement 
  • Enhancing the efficiency, reliability and accuracy
  • Providing round-the-clock service

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) issued employer's returns, i.e. Employer's Return of Remuneration and Pensions (Form BIR56A) for the year ended 31 March 2024 on 2 April 2024. Employers are required to complete and file the returns, together with the completed Form IR56B for reporting remuneration paid to employees and pension paid, to the IRD within one month.

Employers can file the employer's returns online by using "iAM Smart+" or eTAX account. To tie in with employers in preparing early, the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool can be used to prepare the data file of annual Form IR56B starting from 1 March each year. Upon receipt of the Form BIR56A, employers can upload the IR56B data file to the IRD via the Online Mode or the Mixed Mode submission. Employers adopting the Mixed Mode submission, after uploading of data file(s), are only required to submit the duly signed paper form BIR56A and the duly signed Cover Page (i.e. the first page) of paper Control List generated from the system to complete the submission process.

Please visit the IRD website: https://www.ird.gov.hk/eng/tax/err.htm for details.

Please take note of the following new filing requirements when you do profits tax filing starting from 1 April 2023:

  1. If you have any gross income during the basis period, you must submit your profits tax return together with all supporting documents (including financial statements and tax computation). Small corporations and businesses with gross income not exceeding HK$2 million will no longer be permitted to file their profits tax returns without supporting documents.
  2. Where appropriate, you are required to electronically file (e-file) all relevant supplementary forms and other forms to be furnished with the profits tax return under the eTAX services provided at GovHK.

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has already enhanced the eTAX services to enable more corporations and businesses (excluding sole proprietorship businesses) to voluntarily e-file their profits tax returns together with financial statements and tax computations in inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language (iXBRL) format. As an alternative to paper filing of your profits tax return, you are encouraged to participate in voluntary e-filing through the eTAX platform so as to enjoy a further one-month extension of filing deadline. 

For details on the new filing requirements, please visit the IRD website (www.ird.gov.hk/eng/tax/bus_cpt.htm). For enquiries on the eTAX services, you may contact the eTAX Helpdesk Hotline at 183 2011. For enquiries in relation to the use of the IRD iXBRL Data Preparation Tools, you may contact the IRD at ixbrl_reporting@ird.gov.hk or access e-Appointment to book-in-advance a specific timeslot. The IRD will contact you by phone at the booked timeslot.

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