Are you dreaming of starting a business in Hong Kong? Then you must understand business registration! What is the purpose of business registration? Which businesses require business registration? What are the consequences of operating a business without business registration? OneStart has compiled 11 common questions about business registration to make your entrepreneurial journey in Hong Kong simple and easy.
1. Do I need business registration for an IG shop or online store?
According to the Inland Revenue Department, any business or activity conducted for profit, including online businesses, requires business registration.
Even for small-scale operations with monthly turnover below HKD 30,000, business registration is still required before applying for exemption from the business registration fee. OneStart provides relevant application handling services, inquire about it by clicking here.
2. Do freelancers need business registration?
According to the Inland Revenue Department, only individuals employed in a position or under an employment contract are not considered as conducting a business. If you earn income without any employment relationship, it is considered as conducting a business and requires business registration.
3. Are there any businesses exempt from registration?
According to the Business Registration Ordinance, the following businesses are exempt from business registration:
- Charitable organizations (except those subject to profits tax)
- Operations in agriculture, market gardening, or fishing (excluding corporations established under the Companies Ordinance or companies requiring registration)
- Bootblack business
- Various hawker businesses requiring licenses under the Hawker Regulations (except those operated within buildings)
4. What can be filled as the registered address?
The registered address must meet the following requirements:
- Able to receive mail
- A physical address located in Hong Kong
- Not a postal box address
In general, residential addresses cannot be used as the business registration address. The Hong Kong Land Ordinance specifies the designated use of land, and residential areas are typically designated for residential purposes, not for commercial use.
The business registration address must be a legally designated commercial area, such as a commercial building, office building, or industrial zone. Attempting to use a residential address as the business registration address may violate land planning regulations and may also contravene lease agreements or property management rules.
Additionally, it is important to ensure that the address provided can receive communications and notices during office hours. Important mail from the government and banks will be sent to the registered address, so remember to regularly check the mailbox to avoid missing any important correspondence.
Therefore, the Companies Registry recommends entrepreneurs to use a commercial address as the registered address. For example, OneStart offers affordable virtual office services with superior business addresses and professional support, allowing you to focus on business development! If you're interested, please click here to inquire.
5. Is business registration the same as company registration?
Two are different terms,
Business registration is issued by the Business Registration Office under the Inland Revenue Department:
- It is used to register businesses operating in Hong Kong, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, local limited companies, or non-Hong Kong companies.
- It represents the taxpayer's identity and is related to taxation.
Company registration certificates are issued by the Companies Registry:
- They are used to establish local limited companies.
- They establish the corporate status of a company, giving it independent rights to enter contracts and assume debts.
- They provide more legal protection for company owners.
For more detailed information, please refer to the article "Company Incorporation (CI) VS Business Registration (BR) in Hong Kong: a Quick Guide."
6. How can I apply for business registration?
In-person or by mail application:
- Request relevant forms from the Business Registration Office via email, fax, or in person, or download the forms online.
- Complete the forms and prepare identification documents.
- Submit the forms in person or by mail, along with the business registration fee and levy.
- Apply for a "eTAX" account.
- Submit the business registration application through "eTAX".
If you're concerned about the complex application process and potential errors, feel free to inquire about OneStart's company formation service to make your startup journey easy and hassle-free!
7. How can I change business registration information?
If you want to change business registration information, you must notify the Commissioner of Inland Revenue in writing, either by letter or by completing the relevant forms, within one month of the data change.
For information on the procedures for changing different types of data, please refer to the article "Want to Change Your Company Information? Learn to Update Business Registration Particulars」or directly inquire with OneStart for related services.
8. How to Renew or Replace a Business Registration Certificate?
For registered businesses, the Business Registration Office will issue a payment notice for business registration renewal approximately one month before the effective month of renewal. Once payment is made, the payment notice becomes a valid business registration certificate.
If you have not received the payment notice, you should notify the Commissioner of Inland Revenue in writing within one month after the expiry of the existing business registration certificate. If you still have not received the payment notice or have lost it, you can apply for a replacement business registration certificate in person or by mail.
9. What are the consequences of not submitting a business registration application on time?
Violators may face a fine of HKD 5,000 and a maximum imprisonment of 1 year.
10. Under what conditions can you be exempted from paying the business registration fee and levy?
If your business is operated by an individual as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or other non-incorporated entity, or a business operated by a non-Hong Kong company that does not need to be incorporated or registered in Hong Kong, you may be exempted from the business registration fee if you meet the following conditions:
- For businesses primarily providing services to earn profits not over:
- average monthly turnover of HKD 10,000.
- For other businesses: average monthly turnover of HKD 30,000.
- The owner of a sole proprietorship cannot operate another sole proprietorship at the same time.
- Partners of a partnership cannot jointly operate another partnership at the same time.
For more information on exempting the business registration fee, please refer to the article "A Comprehensive Guide for Applying Exemption from Business Registration Fee" or inquire directly with OneStart for related services.
11. How to cancel a business registration?
To terminate a company or branch business, you must complete form IRC3113 or notify the Business Registration Office in writing to cancel the business registration within one month from the date of cessation.
If you want to wind up a limited company, you need to obtain a "Notice of No Objection" from the Inland Revenue Department and then submit an application for the deregistration of the company to the Companies Registry.
*Note: Even if the company's business has ceased, you still need to pay the business registration fee until the end of the business closure year.
For more information on canceling business registration, please refer to the article "Closing a Hong Kong Company: Cancelling Business Registration and Deregistration" or inquire directly with OneStart for related services.
These are some key points that entrepreneurs often overlook or misunderstand when it comes to business registration. Understanding these details can help alleviate many of the hassles on your entrepreneurial journey. OneStart Business Centre provides company secretary services with years of professional experience to help you handle business registration with peace of mind. For more information on incorporation and business registration, call 3575 6888 or WhatsApp OneStart Business Consultants!
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