FAQs about Employer’s Return e-Filing Services (“ER e-Filing Services”)

  • Q1.
    What services are available under the ER e-Filing Services?
    Ans

    Employers can use the ER e-Filing Services to file Employer’s Return or Notifications through the Internet. There are two main functions, namely, “Data Preparation” and “Submission” under “Filing of Employer’s Return / Notification” of the ER e-Filing Services.

    1) Data Preparation

    (i) Direct Keying

    Allows employers to prepare annual Employer’s Return (BIR56A/IR56B, IR6036B/IR56M) and Notifications (IR56E/IR56F/IR56G) with up to 30 sets of IR56 forms in one data file. The data file so prepared can only be submitted via Online Mode.

    (ii) IR56 Forms Preparation Tool

    Allows employers to prepare up to 800 sets of IR56B or IR56F records in one data file. The data file so prepared can be submitted either via Online Mode or Mixed Mode.

    2) Submission

    (i) Online Mode

    The Authorized Signer has to submit the data file through his/her eTAX account.

    (ii) Mixed Mode

    Employer can designate a person to upload the data file. However, the Authorized Signer has to sign and submit the Control List (with Transaction Reference Number and QR code) generated by the system to complete the submission process.  If the data file is for annual submission of IR56B, the Employer’s Return (BIR56A) is required to be submitted with the duly signed Control List.

    (For further details on the differences between Online Mode and Mixed Mode, please see Q5)

  • Q2.
    I used to prepare and submit the Employer’s Return via “Completion of Employer’s Return” and “Completion and/or Submission of Employer’s Return”. However, I cannot find these two items in the new ER e-Filing Services, how can I prepare and submit the Employer’s Return by ER e-Filing Services?
    Ans

    The new ER e-Filing Services combined the two services to “Filing of Employer’s Return / Notification”. You can select “Filing of Employer’s Return / Notification” under the eTAX menu to start using the service.

  • Q3.
    Who can be the Authorized Signer?
    Ans

    Authorized Signer refers to the person in one of the following capacities:

    • Proprietor for the sole proprietorship business
    • Precedent Partner for the partnership business
    • Director, Company Secretary, Manager, Investment Manager (only applicable to a corporation that is an open-ended fund company), Provisional Liquidator or Liquidator for the corporation
    • Principal Officer for a body of persons
  • Q4.
    If I do not have an eTAX Account, can I use the ER e-Filing Services?
    Ans

    To submit the data file via Online Mode, you have to be an Authorized Signer and you are required to sign the Employer’s Returns / Notifications using your eTAX Password, MyGovHK Password or recognized personal digital certificate.

    Alternatively, any person (e.g. accounting staff, tax representative) authorized by the employer can upload a data file via Mixed Mode* irrespective of whether he/she has an eTAX Account or not.  However, the Control List (with Transaction Reference Number and QR code) generated by the system must be signed by the Authorized Signer and then submit to the Department to complete the submission process.

    *Please note that not all kinds of IR56 forms data file can be submitted via Mixed Mode, please refer the Q5 for details.

  • Q5.
    What is the difference between Online Mode and Mixed Mode?
    Ans

    They are two different submission services available in ER e-Filing services.

    Online Mode allows the Authorized Signer to complete the submission process online using his/her eTAX Password, MyGovHK Password or recognized personal digital certificate through the ER e-Filing Services.

    It accepts data file prepared by the following means:-

    • Direct Keying (all types of Employer's Return and Notifications)
    • IR56 Forms Preparation Tool (Forms IR56B and IR56F)
    • IRD IR56B Software (Annual Form IR56B with the submission of Employer's Return)
    • Pre-approved Self-developed Software (Annual Form IR56B with the submission of Employer's Return and Form IR56F)

     

    Mixed Mode allows employer to designate a person to upload a data file through the ER e-Filing Services. After successful uploading of the data file, a paper Control List (with Transaction Reference Number and QR code) will be generated from the system.  The Authorized Signer needs to sign and submit the paper Control List to the IRD to complete the submission process.

    It accepts data file prepared by the following means:-

    • IR56 Forms Preparation Tool (Forms IR56B and IR56F)
    • IRD IR56B Software (Annual Form IR56B)
    • Pre-approved Self-developed Software (Annual Form IR56B and Form IR56F)
  • Q6.
    How can a tax representative prepare and submit a Form IR56F through the ER e-Filing Services on behalf of the client?
    Ans

    A tax representative or any person (e.g. accounting staff,) authorized by the employer can use the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool to prepare a data file containing the IR56F records, and then upload the data file via Mixed Mode.  The tax representative should then pass the Control List (with the Transaction Reference Number and QR Code) to the employer for the Authorized Signer to sign on the Control List.  The signed paper Control List should then be submitted to the Department by post or in person.

    Alternatively, a tax representative can use the “Prepare NOW and Submit LATER” function under “Direct Keying” to prepare a data file.  The data file so prepared can then be saved and passed to the Authorized Signer of the employer who is also an eTAX Account holder to sign and submit it via Online Mode.

    Please note that, under either options, input of the Employer’s Identification Code (“ERIC”) will be required.

  • Q7.
    The “Direct Keying” service limits the number of IR56B that can be prepared and submitted to 30 sets. How can I prepare more than 30 sets of IR56B for submission under ER e-Filing Services?
    Ans

    For employers who need to file not more than 800 IR56B for annual submission, they can submit or upload a data file prepared by the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool, the IRD IR56B Software or pre-approved Self-developed Software via Online Mode or Mixed Mode.

    Besides, employers can upload more than 800 sets of IR56B records for annual submission by uploading several data files (each with not more than 800 sets of IR56B) via Mixed Mode one by one.

  • Q8.
    What should I do if there is/are error(s) found in the upload data file?
    Ans

    If the error displayed is “You are not yet approved by Inland Revenue Department to use Self-developed Software”, you are required to contact the IRD to obtain written approval of your Self-developed Software before using the uploading function.  Please visit the IRD website for further information on the requirement [https://www.ird.gov.hk/eng/pdf/ir56b_spec_e.pdf].

    For other errors found in the records of the uploaded data file, you are required to exit the ER e-Filing Services and rectify all the errors using your source application (i.e. the Preparation Tool, IRD IR56B software or your Self-developed Software) and then extract a corrected data file for upload again.

  • Q9.
    Why must I input the “Self-selected Key” when preparing the data file under “Direct Keying” or via IR56 Forms Preparation Tool?
    Ans

    We understand employers’ concern on data security. “Self-selected Key” helps to prevent unauthorized access to the sensitive employees’ information stored in the data file.

  • Q10.
    What should I do if I have forgotten the “Self-selected Key”?
    Ans

    The IRD has no information of the “Self-selected Key” and could not offer any assistance in resetting or retrieving the Key to open the saved data file.

  • Q11.
    I used to prepare IR56B data file by the IRD IR56B Software. Can the data file be submitted via the ER e-Filing Services?
    Ans

    If you are using the IRD IR56B Software (Version 4.1 or above), you can extract a data file containing not more than 800 records and submit it through the e-Filing Services.  For details of exporting a data file, please refer to para 9.2 and 9.3 of the “Installation and Operation Guide for Inland Revenue Department Software for IR56B (Version 4.1 or above) – Preparing Annual Employer’s Return (IR56B) in Computerized Format”, which can be downloaded from IRD website. 

    Alternatively, you may import the data file prepared by the IRD IR56B Software to the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool for preparation of the IR56B data file for submission. For further details on importing data to IR56 Forms Preparation Tool, please refer to the User Guide for IR56 Forms Preparation Tool.

  • Q12.
    I used to prepare IR56B data file by the IRD IR56B Software. How can I prepare IR56F data file for submission via the ER e-Filing Services?
    Ans

    If you have previously prepared a data file by using the IRD IR56B Software, you can use the XML file to import the employees’ details to the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool to prepare an IR56F data file for those employees.

    For steps to export an XML file from the IRD IR56B software, please refer to para 9.2 and 9.3 of the Installation and Operation Guide for IRD IR56B Software (select ‘Upload the file through the Internet via e-filing Employer’s Return service under GovHK”).

    Also, the data file prepared by the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool / ER e-Filing Services (draft DAT file) and pre-approved Self-developed Software can be used to import the employees’ details to the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool.

  • Q13.
    If I do not have to report any IR56B or IR56M for annual submission, how can I use the ER e-Filing Services to complete the BIR56A or IR6036B?
    Ans

    Employer can submit BIR56A and IR6036B by “Direct Keying” with “Nil” set of IR56B and IR56M via the ER e-Filing Services.

    Under “Direct Keying”, you can import the employer’s particulars, including the designation of the Authorized Signer, contact telephone number and email address from a previously submitted Annual Return file by “Direct Keying”, into the BIR56A that is now being completed.

    The system can also import payer’s particulars from a previously submitted Annual Notification Return file into IR6036B.

  • Q14.
    Can I save the data file prepare by “Direct Keying” or the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool in a storage device and submit it to IRD or print and submit the paper copy?
    Ans

    No, the data file prepared by “Direct Keying” or the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool are only accepted through the ER e-Filing Services.  Submission by storage devices, or printed copies of the forms generated by the system are not acceptable.

    The data files prepared by “Direct Keying” can only be submitted via Online Mode while the data file prepared by the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool can be submitted via both Online and Mixed Mode.

  • Q15.
    Why must I input the “Employer’s Identification Code” (ERIC) when using the “Direct Keying” service and uploading / submitting a data file through the ER e-Filing Services?
    Ans

    For security reason, an employer must input the ERIC to confirm the identity before using the relevant services in ER e-Filing Services.  ERIC will be updated every year and is printed on the Employer's Return (BIR56A) and the Covering Letter for Notification of Remuneration Paid to Persons Other Than Employees (IR6036A and IR6036B).

  • Q16.
    What should I do if I have lost/forgotten my ERIC or I would like to change my ERIC?
    Ans

    ERIC is printed on the Employer's Return (BIR56A) and the Covering Letter for Notification of Remuneration Paid to Persons Other Than Employees (IR6036A and IR6036B) issued by the Department.

    If necessary, employers should apply for a new ERIC in writing.  Upon receipt of request, the Department will send out the new ERIC by post within 7 working days.  For security reason, the Department will not entertain requests through telephone/email/eTAX service.  The application should be signed by an Authorized Signer (officer designated in the Employer’s Annual Return BIR56A).  Please state the full name and capacity of the signer, employer’s file number, name of employer and contact telephone number in the application with company chop.

  • Q17.
    How can I sign the Employer’s Return / Notifications during the Internet filing process?
    Ans

    To submit the Employer’s Return / Notifications through Online Mode, the Authorized Signer is required to use his/her eTAX Password, MyGovHK Password or recognized personal digital certificate to sign the return.

  • Q18.
    Can a company open its own eTAX Account for digital signing and submission of Employer’s Return through the Internet?
    Ans

    Only individuals can open eTAX Accounts.  To submit the Employer’s Return through Online Mode, the employer has to assign an Authorized Signer (please see answer to question 3), who holds an eTAX Account, to sign and submit the return online.

  • Q19.
    The draft Employer’s Return is prepared using English interface. Can I change to Chinese interface ?
    Ans

    Yes, you may swap to the alternate interface by clicking the [English] or [繁體] button at the top right corner at “Step 3 – Preparation of Data File”. 

  • Q20.
    What should I do if I have forgotten to submit IR56B forms of some employees after submitting the Annual Employer’s Return through ER e-Filing service?
    Ans

    You can make correction of Annual Return by choosing the option “Start to complete a new Employer/Notification” in Step 3 – Preparation of Data File.  Then you may proceed to select “Corrections and/or Other Notifications” and “Supplementary / Correction of Annual Return / Notification filed before”.

    You should then choose “Supplementary” type of form in when completing the “Employee’s Details” page of the IR56B forms and enter the omitted employees’ particulars.

    If you want to report additional income in respect of the same employees, you should choose “Additional” type of form when completing the “Employee’s Details” page of the IR56B forms and input the additional amount in the appropriate item under the Income Details. 

  • Q21.
    How do I know that I have successfully uploaded the data file or submitted the Employer’s Return through the Internet?
    Ans

    Immediately after you have successfully uploaded a data file or submitted the Employer’s Return through the Internet, an acknowledgement bearing a Transaction Reference Number will be shown on your computer screen.  The acknowledgement represents that the Inland Revenue Department has received the uploaded data file or the Return you submitted.  The IRD will also send a copy of the acknowledgement to the designated e-mail address(es) if you have provided the e-mail address(es) for receiving the copy.

    If you have uploaded a data file via Mixed Mode, a Control List with Transaction Reference Number and QR code will be generated and the Authorized Signer is required to sign and submit the paper Control List to complete the submission process.

  • Q22.
    Can I obtain a Control List and IR56 forms records after submitting a data file prepared by the IR56 Forms Preparation Tool, the IRD IR56B Software or Self-developed Software?
    Ans

    After the data file is uploaded and the Employer’s Return is submitted, you can obtain a copy of the Employer’s Return and a Control List in Portable Document Format (PDF).  However, copies of IR56 forms are not available.  You should print the IR56Bs from your source application (i.e. the IR56 Forms Prepration Tool, IRD IR56B Software or your Self-developed Software) and provide a copy to the respective employees.

  • Q23.
    Can I save the submitted return file with return data entered by “Direct Keying”?
    Ans

    You can save the files as a compressed file in ZIP format containing the Control List, IR56 Forms and BIR56A/IR6036B (if applicable) after submission. The compressed file can be separated by unzip function after successful download.

    You are advised to open the file downloaded in your computer or unzip the compressed file to ensure the download has been successful before you leave the ER e-Filing Service.

  • Q24.
    When I open the draft return file for further completion, an error message 612-E-0360 is displayed in the Control List and triangle marks were displayed at some IR56B records. I am not allowed to proceed to next step by clicking “Continue” button. What should I do?
    Ans

    IR56B record was marked with a triangle because the data inputted for the record or the validation for the inputted data is not completed. Therefore, you are not allowed to proceed to next step before completing the data input or validation process.

    When you come across this situation, you should click “Edit” button next to the relevant record, then you will be directed to “Employee’ Details” page to amend/input information for that record.  If the record still has information to be filled, input the missing information and click the “Continue” button to complete the input.  But if you find all information has already been properly inputted, the triangle mark displayed should be likely due to the incomplete validation of this record when you saved the draft return file previously.  To complete the validation, you should click the “Continue” button until a control list is displayed.

Last revision date: April 2019
Found this page helpful?
Your feedback is highly appreciated.
Notice: This form is NOT intended for handling enquiries or complaints. For assistance, please contact the 24-hour Helpdesk at (852) 183 5500 or email to enquiry@1835500.gov.hk .
Thank you. Your input will only be  used to improve GovHK.
Thank you for your valuable feedback!

Thank you for using "XXXX".
Base on today’s experience, please rate the online service on all aspects below:

  1. 1.  Easiness of use
  2. 2.  Clarity of instructions
  3. 3.  Overall satisfaction