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You are entitled to the basic allowance and may be eligible to claim other allowances provided that the prescribed conditions are satisfied.  Here you can learn about these allowances and how they might reduce your tax burden.

Basic Allowance

You are entitled to the basic allowance unless you are married and have been granted the married person’s allowance for the year. You do not have to lodge a claim for this allowance.

Married Person’s Allowance

You can claim the married person’s allowance in any year of assessment if you are married at any time during that year, and 

  • are not living apart; or are living apart from your spouse but are maintaining or supporting your spouse; AND
  • your spouse did not have any income chargeable to salaries tax; or you and your spouse have elected joint assessment; or you and your spouse have elected personal assessment.

“Marriage” in the context of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (IRO), refers to a heterosexual marriage between a man and a woman. “Spouse” is defined in section 2 of the IRO as a husband or a wife. A “husband” is a married man and a “wife” is a married woman. 

Child Allowance

You can claim the child allowance if, during a year of assessment, you maintain an unmarried child, who was:

  • under 18 years old; or
  • of or over 18 but under 25 years old, and receiving full time education at a university, college, school or other similar educational establishment; or
  • of or over 18 years old and was, because of physical or mental disability, unable to work.

A “child” means:

  • your own child, adopted child or step child; or
  • the child / adopted child / step child of your spouse or former spouse.

You must decide who will claim all the child allowances. All child allowances should be claimed enbloc by either the husband or the wife unless they are living apart. In general, the overall tax liabilities of a married couple may be minimised if a nomination is made in accordance with the following guidelines:

Situation

Person to Claim the Child Allowance

(1) Either the husband or wife, but not both, has income chargeable to salaries tax.The one who has income.
(2) Both husband and wife have income chargeable to salaries tax.The one who has higher income.
(3) Both husband and wife have income chargeable to salaries tax, and one of them is assessed at the standard rate.The one whose income is not assessed at the standard rate.

If you and someone else are entitled to claim the allowance for the same child for the same year of assessment, you must agree amongst yourselves on who shall claim it or how to apportion the child allowance. If no agreement is reached, the Commissioner will apportion the child allowance having regard to the contributions made by each of you to the maintenance and education of this child.  In case there is no agreement or no information about the contributions available, the claim for child allowance will not be considered.

An additional one-off child allowance will be granted in the year the child was born.

Dependent Brother or Dependent Sister Allowance

You can claim dependent brother or dependent sister allowance if you or your spouse maintains an unmarried brother or sister, who at any time during the year of assessment was:

  • under 18 years old; or
  • of or over 18 but under 25 years old, and receiving full time education at a university, college, school or other similar educational establishment; or
  • of or over 18 years old and was, because of physical or mental disability, unable to work.

A “brother or sister” means:

  • your natural, adopted or step brother or sister; or
  • the natural, adopted or step brother or sister of your spouse / deceased spouse.

A brother or sister is only treated as maintained by you or your spouse if during the year, you or your spouse had sole or predominant care of the brother or sister. If, other than you, some one else is entitled to claim the allowance for the same brother or sister for the same year of assessment, you must agree among yourselves on who shall claim it. If there is no agreement, no allowance will be granted.

Dependent Parent and Dependent Grandparent Allowance

You may claim allowance in respect of each dependent parent / grandparent maintained by you / your spouse, not being a spouse living apart from you, during the year. To qualify for the allowance, the dependent parent / grandparent must at any time during the year be:

  • ordinarily resident in Hong Kong;
  • aged 55 or more, or eligible to claim an allowance under the Government's Disability Allowance Scheme; and
  • resided with you / your spouse, without paying full cost, for a continuous period of not less than 6 months or have received from you / your spouse not less than $12,000 in money towards his / her maintenance.

If the dependent parent / grandparent resided with you continuously throughout the whole year without paying full cost, you are also entitled to Additional Dependent Parent and Grandparent Allowance.

In the context of considering a taxpayer’s eligibility for dependent parent / grandparent allowance, the term “ordinarily resident in Hong Kong” means that, the dependant must be habitually and normally resident in Hong Kong. To determine whether a dependant is ordinarily resident in Hong Kong, the Inland Revenue Department may consider objective factors including: (i) the number of days he / she stayed in Hong Kong; (ii) whether he / she has a permanent dwelling in Hong Kong; (iii) whether he / she owns a property for residence outside Hong Kong; (iv) whether he / she works or carries out a business in Hong Kong ; (v) whether his / her relatives are mainly residing in Hong Kong.

A “parent” means:

  • your natural father or mother / your step parent; or
  • the natural father or mother / step parent of your spouse; or
  • a parent by whom you or your spouse was legally adopted; or
  • a parent of your deceased spouse.

A “grandparent” means:

  • your natural grandfather or grandmother / your adoptive grandparent / your step grandparent; or
  • the natural grandfather or grandmother / adoptive grandparent / step grandparent of your spouse; or
  • a grandparent of your deceased spouse.

Only one individual can be granted an allowance for the same dependant. If more than one individual is entitled to the allowance for the same dependant, they must agree amongst themselves on who shall claim the allowance.

If you have been granted a deduction for elderly residential care expenses for a parent or grandparent, you will not be granted a dependent parent and dependent grandparent allowance for the same parent or grandparent for that year of assessment.

Single Parent Allowance

You can claim single parent allowance if you have taken ongoing responsibility for the care and supervision to your child, and have satisfied the following conditions:

  • Throughout the year of claim you must not be married. Hence, no allowance can be claimed for the year of marriage, divorce, death of your spouse or separation from your spouse. The earliest opportunity to make a claim will be the year following these events. 
  • You are granted a child allowance for the year of claim.

Whilst child allowance is granted on account of monetary contributions to maintenance and education, single parent allowance is granted on account of time spent on care and supervision. 

If both parents want to claim the single parent allowance, the allowance may be apportioned by reference to the periods of time in which the claimants had the sole or predominant care of the child concerned during the year of assessment. The law provides that, in case of dispute, the Commissioner may decide the basis for such apportionment.

The law also specifies that no parent can claim the single parent allowance merely on the ground that he or she had made contributions to the maintenance and education of the child. Furthermore, no allowance can be granted for any second or subsequent child.

Disabled Dependant Allowance

You can claim disabled dependant allowance if you or your spouse maintains a dependant who is eligible to claim an allowance under the Government’s Disability Allowance Scheme.

Here, “dependant” means:

  • your spouse / child / parent / grandparent / brother or sister; or
  • your spouse's child / parent / grandparent / brother or sister.

This allowance is granted in addition to the following allowances or deduction for the disabled person:

  • married person’s allowance; or
  • child allowance; or
  • dependent parent and grandparent allowance or elderly residential care expenses; or
  • dependent brother or dependent sister allowance.

 

Further Information

You can access common questions and answers on allowances through the following link.

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Last revision date: January 2014

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