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Business Registration Certificate Application: Application Process, Fees, and Exemption

 

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Table of Content

  1. What is a Business Registration Certificate?
  2. Which businesses need to apply for a Business Registration Certificate?
  3. Application Date
  4. Required Application Information
  5. Application Process
  6. Application Fee
  7. Exemption from Business Registration Fee
  8. Conclusion

 

Whether you have a physical store, online shop, or are a freelancer, business registration is a must. Read this article and understand the application process, fees, and exemption conditions for Hong Kong business registration. This article provides detailed information to help you complete the registration smoothly.

 

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What is a Business Registration Certificate?

A Business Registration Certificate is issued by the Business Registration Office under the Inland Revenue Department, providing Hong Kong business registration services for sole proprietorships, partnerships, local limited companies, and non-Hong Kong companies. If you plan to operate a business in Hong Kong, you must apply for business registration or notify the Business Registration Office within one month of commencing operations.

 

Which businesses need to apply for a Business Registration Certificate?

The following businesses, as specified by the Inland Revenue Department, are required to apply for business registration:

  • Any form of trade, commerce, craftsmanship, profession, calling or other activity carried on for the purpose of gain (whether through a brick-and-mortar presence or the internet);
  • Any club which provides facilities, services and exclusive club premises to its members for social intercourse or recreation;
  • Every company incorporated in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance, or , non-Hong Kong company that has established a place of business in Hong Kong, regardless of whether it is actually carrying on any business in Hong Kong;
  • Every open-ended fund company incorporated in Hong Kong or re-domiciled to Hong Kong under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571), regardless of whether it has established a place of business in Hong Kong;
  • Every non-Hong Kong company that has a representative or liaison office in Hong Kong, or has let out its property situated in Hong Kong, regardless of whether it has established a place of business in Hong Kong; and
  • Every limited partnership fund registered under the Limited Partnership Fund Ordinance, regardless of whether it is actually carrying on any business in Hong Kong.

Branch Registration Certificate

If your business has more than one place of business, you must also apply for a "Branch Registration Certificate" within one month of commencing operations.

 

Application Date

In general, as long as your company has commenced operations, you must apply for business registration within one month. Limited partnership funds registered undermust apply for a business registration certificate within one month of registration. For entities incorporated or registered under the Companies Ordinance, the business registration certificate will be issued simultaneously with the certificate of incorporation.

*Note: You cannot apply for a business registration certificate if you have not commenced operations

The Inland Revenue Department does not accept applications for business registration certificates for businesses that do not exist or have not commenced operations. Please ensure you apply after commencing operations.

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Required Application Information

  • Full name of applicant
  • Residential address
  • Business name
  • Business address
  • Description and nature of business
  • Date of Commencement
  • Email address
  • Daytime contact phone

(Source: Inland Revenue Department (ird.gov.hk))

Please note that if you are operating an online business without an actual business office or shop address, you may consider purchasing virtual office services from a secretary company that holds a "Trust and Company Service Provider" license issued by the Hong Kong Companies Registry, in order to obtain a registerable business address.

To confirm whether a secretary company is licensed, you can check online at the Companies Registry.

As a legitimate Trust and Company Service Provider, OneStart can also be found in this registry with relevant registration information. Our virtual office services are affordable and cater to the budget needs of startups or individual businesses. Feel free to contact us for inquiries.

 

Application Process

Online Application

  1. Go to the online application website
  2. Select the application category
  3. Verify your identity (through Smart ID, digital certificate, or eTAX)
  4. Choose the validity period (1-year or 3-year) and method of collecting the business registration certificate
  5. Digital signature
  6. Make payment
  7. Collect the business registration certificate from the Business Registration Office after the issuance date

Written Application

  1. Obtain the application form (collect in person from the Business Registration Office, request by mail, or download from the Hong Kong e-Government portal)
  2. Fill out the application form
  3. Submit the form in person or by mail to the Business Registration Office
  4. Collect the business registration certificate

*Address of the Business Registration Office: 2/F, Inland Revenue Centre, 5 Concorde Road, Kai Tak, Kowloon, Hong Kong

 

Application Fee

Starting from April 1, 2023, the business registration fee has been adjusted to $2,150 (1-year certificate) and $5,650 (3-year certificate).

 

 

Registration Fee

Levy

Total
Business Registration Fee (1-year certificate)

$2,000

$150

$2,150

Business Registration Fee (3-year certificate)

$5,200

$450

$5,650

 

The business registration certificate is valid for either 1 year or 3 years. The fee includes the business registration fee and the levy for the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund, which is payable during the initial application or renewal. In certain years, the Hong Kong government may exempt the business registration fee, and the paid amount will be refunded to the applicants. Therefore, in practice, the 3-year certificate is not more expensive than the 1-year certificate, and it is recommended to choose the validity period based on business needs.

 

Exemption from Business Registration Fee

If your business is operated by an individual proprietorship, partnership, or other non-corporate entity, or if it is not a company incorporated in Hong Kong or required to be registered, you can be exempted from the business registration fee if you meet the following conditions:

  • For businesses primarily deriving profits from the sale of services: average monthly turnover does not exceed $10,000.
  • For other businesses: average monthly turnover does not exceed $30,000.
  • Sole proprietors of businesses cannot simultaneously operate other sole proprietorships.
  • Partners of partnerships cannot simultaneously operate other partnerships.

For more information on how to apply for exemption from the business registration fee, please refer to the blog article “A Comprehensive Guide for Applying Exemption from Business Registration Fee”, or directly inquire about related services from OneStart Business Consultants.

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Conclusion

Business registration is a crucial step for all businesses in Hong Kong. Whether you have a physical store, an online shop, or you are a freelancer, as long as you engage in profit-making activities, you need to register your business. OneStart is committed to providing knowledge about business registration and helping entrepreneurs navigate through the process. With 20 years of experience in establishing Hong Kong companies, you can rely on us to solve various difficulties you may encounter when starting a business, including applying for business registration. To learn more, call 3575 6888 or WhatsApp OneStart Business Consultants.

 

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