14 Questions And Answers About Business Registrations In Hong Kong

14 Questions And Answers About Business Registrations In Hong Kong

The process of registering your business in Hong Kong starts with the filing and official registration of your business with the Hong Kong government’s Inland Revenue Department (IRD). All entities which run any business activity in Hong Kong must be registered with the authorities regardless of the size and the structure of the entity. It gives your business a distinctive registration number and the opportunity to operate within the territory, which improves the performance of many operations and the implementation of tax regulations.

If you happen to be involved in business in Hong Kong, the most basic requirement is business registration. Through this certificate of registration, you become an official business in the region.

It strengthens your reputation and the consumers trust you that you run your business within the bounds of the law.

Let’s explore the concepts behind business registration.

1. Who Needs To Get A Business Registration?

According to the Business Registration Ordinance, the following businesses need to be registered : 

  • Any revenue-generating endeavor
  • Membership clubs providing services to members for a fee
  • Entities registered under the Hong Kong Companies Ordinance, regardless of their operational status
  • Foreign companies with a presence or liaison office in Hong Kong
  • Foreign companies leasing property in Hong Kong, regardless of having a physical business setup there

A person who is occupying an office or is employed by a company is not considered as carrying on any business.

Thus, these people will not need business registration.

Some businesses are also not required to register, such as:

  • Companies trading or involved with agriculture, livestock, or aquaculture farming, except for those incorporated in Hong Kong or registered under the Companies Ordinance.
  • Licensed mobile food vendors being allowed to carry out their business except that these hawkers must be selling inside a building.
  • Charitable institutions

2. What is the duration typically needed to complete the registration process?

In case you run a sole-proprietorship, partnership, or an unincorporated body of persons or you are a non-Hong Kong company or have a representative or liaison office in Hong Kong, the application has to be made within a month from the commencement of business.

The companies incorporated in Hong Kong or registered with the Companies Ordinance can file their application for company registration as well as business registration.

In most cases, the Companies Registry grants the registration simultaneously with the certificate of incorporation.

It is imperative that any company acting in conjunction with a company registration must notify the Inland Revenue Department within one month of starting to do business.

The notification is regarding the business type and its detail.

Read: A Complete Guide For Business Registration In Hong Kong

3. What Is The Procedure To Apply for The Business Registration?

You can use the company and business registration service that provides the one-stop services. The e-Registry platform allows you to complete your Company Incorporation form online. The function of the app is to serve you as the business application the same time.

E-Registry has a smooth filing schedule with extra services such as e-reminders for due annual return filings and an e-monitor service to look through a variety of filing records. On the other hand, you may also fill out and submit the correct application forms that meet your business type and make the necessary application payments through the official website.

4. What are the costs and duration options for registration?

The registration fee and validity period vary depending on the duration of validity you choose for your business registration certificate. You can opt for either a one-year or three-year validity period.

As of now, the registration fee stands at HKD 250 for a certificate valid for one year and HKD 3,950 for a certificate valid for three years.

5. What Does the Business Registration Number Mean?

This unique eight-digit number, issued by the Inland Revenue Department, is known as the business registration number or Tax Identification Number (TIN).

It’s a key identifier included in the business registration certificate. Whenever you engage with government agencies, such as when filing returns, it’s imperative to provide this number.

Read: Hong Kong Company Registration Number vs Business Registration Number

6. What are the consequences of not applying for business registration within the specified timeframe?

Not registering a business before the deadline is a violation of a law. This may lead to a fine of HKD 5,000 or an imprisonment for a maximum period of one year.

If your business has not been registered for about 12 months, you will be required to pay for the business registration certificate as well as the fee/levies for the current year and that of the previous year.

7. Does The Business Registration Have To Have The Same Name As The Companies Registrar?

No, you can hold the business registration of your company with a different business name. Subsequently, the additional name you are submitting would be considered as one of the company’s branches.

So, you will need a separate business registration certificate for that branch, too.

8. Where Should I Display My Business Registration Certificate?

It should be put up at the business address where you operate.

In a perfect situation, the original certificates showing the full details of the business address and the payment method must be displayed. Certificates issued in e-form can be displayed in the printed version.

9. How to Renew a Business Registration Certificate?

The business registration office typically sends out renewal demand notes by post about a month prior to the renewal deadline.

Upon payment of the renewal fees, the demand note transforms into a valid registration.

If you do not receive the demand note, it’s crucial to send a written request to the Commissioner of the Inland Revenue Department within one month of your registration certificate’s expiry.

Read Renewal of Business Registration Certificate

10. What Is The Renewal Procedure For The Business Registration Certificate In Person?

Receive Renewal Demand Note: The business registration office will send you a renewal demand note by post approximately one month before your renewal is due.

Payment: Pay the renewal fees promptly. You can do this through various methods, including online payment, bank transfer, or in-person at designated payment locations.

Validity: Once the renewal fees are paid, the demand note becomes a valid registration certificate.

Non-Receipt of Demand Note: If you do not receive the renewal demand note, it’s important to take action. Write to the Commissioner of the Inland Revenue Department within one month of your registration certificate’s expiry to request renewal.

11. Can I Renew The Certificate By Post?

Yes, you are required to mail a copy of the former certificate together with a cheque, which is marked “The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” crossed, to the business registration office.

The renewed business registration certificate will be delivered to your business address at the time determined.

In the event you need to amend the records to show the altered business address, you can insert a note together with the business registration certificate when you send it.

The note has to comprise the ID number of the business, the name of the business, details of both the old and new addresses, and the date of the change.

12. In Addition To The Registration, What Are The Other Permits Or Licenses Do I Need To Run My Business?

According to the type of your business, you may need some other licenses and a certain qualification to run your business effectively.

To know more, please feel free to check through the Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department website.

13. Is there a method for accessing information regarding registered companies?

Certainly, you can access information about registered companies through the Company Search Mobile Service (CSMS) of the Integrated Companies Registry Information System (ICRIS). This online platform allows you to conduct searches and retrieve data about registered companies. Additionally, you can review relevant documents that have been registered with the Registrar of Companies through this service.

14. What Will Happen To The Registration Certificate If My Business Shut Down?

You are required to notify the Commissioner of Inland Revenue within one month of ceasing your business operations. This involves completing Form IRC 3113.

Read: Guide for Deregistration of Company Hong Kong

How FastLane Group Can Help?

If you are planning to run your business in Hong Kong adequately, prepare the right documentation related to the registration. Though, addressing this challenge independently is a difficult task, so this is where FastLane steps in and gives a helping hand.

Our team of experts can solve the issues by simplifying the business registration process to save you time and provide you with the certificate with no stress. 

Contact us and we will help you with the registration process so you can concentrate on your business growth. We are ready to help you!