Financial Secretary Paul Chan says he looked into providing tax deductions for residents who are renting their properties for the annual budget, but it was not feasible this year.
“If we do that, the computer system at the Inland Revenue Department has to be adjusted. We have to consider operational details, and consider whether there will be room for problems,” he said during a joint radio programme on Thursday.
During a joint TV programme on Wednesday night, he said that the tax forms “had already been printed” and thus it was not feasible.
On the radio show, he also said the government considered conducting an electricity fee waiver: “But from an environmental viewpoint, we do not agree very much with an electricity fee waiver for all,” he said, adding that the government will provide additional subsidies for low-income families.
Chan said around 40 per cent of the record high HK$138 billion surplus would be given back to the public in different ways. For instance, citizens who benefit from the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance will receive two months worth of subsidies.
The budget did not provide significant measures for solving issues related to the property market.
“Housing prices are currently rising. If we help fresh graduates – who have limited financial capability – to enter this rising property market, we will be causing them to receive ticking bombs,” he said.
“We do not feel this is appropriate. If the property market changes, it will have a huge impact on them.”
2018 budget in full:
- Pro-democracy lawmakers say budget ‘perpetuates wealth gap’
- Level of gov’t expenditure may have violated Basic Law, says ex-LegCo head
- Hong Kong announces 10,000 free Ocean Park tickets for students
- School diploma fee waiver to have minimal effect on grades, says finance chief
- Theme park to receive HK$310m of taxpayer cash, says finance chief
- Hong Kong gov’t to hand out HK$2,000 to each student in need
- Hong Kong gov’t aims for one social worker per school
- 1.88m Hongkongers to benefit from tax rebates, amid bumper surplus
- Hong Kong unveils HK$250k electric car tax concession
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