The Hong Kong government may halt the waiver of one month’s rent each year for tenants of public housing, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Thursday, citing sources.
That is despite the estimated surplus of HK$60 billion (US$7.74 billion) it is expected to report for the fiscal year to March.
The termination of the concession, which has been in place for seven years, is likely to come next month when Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah delivers the budget for the next fiscal year, the report said.
Fergus Wong, chairman of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Hong Kong, said the surplus in the current fiscal year may amount to HK$60 billion given an increase in the government’s revenue from stamp duty and other levies.
The figure may even top HK$75 billion, exceeding by far the government’s own projection of HK$9.1 billion, Wong said.
However, the estimates do not take into account a HK$27 billion fund unveiled last month for housing reserves.
The government intends to invest the sum through the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to generate income for housing subsidies.
Meanwhile, the Board of Inland Revenue has urged the government to widen each band of taxable income to HK$50,000 from HK$40,000 and to increase the personal allowance for single adults and allowances for children and dependent parents, with a view to offsetting the impact of inflation over the years.
It also suggested halving the city’s corporate income tax rate to 8.25 percent to compete with Singapore, where a special rate of 10 percent applies to certain enterprises.
Translation by Vey Wong
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