Hong Kong stamp duty refund to attract and keep ‘talent’ comes into force

Hong Kong’s Inland Revenue Department began accepting applications on 30 June under a new refund mechanism in respect of the Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) and the New Residential Stamp Duty (NRSD) regimes, which is designed to attract and keep talent in Hong Kong.

The Stamp Duty (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2023, which implements the measure, was approved by the Legislative Council on 21 June and gazetted on 30 June. It was first announced in the 2022 Policy Address and will therefore apply to residential properties acquired in Hong Kong on or after 19 October 2022.

Under the refund mechanism, an individual who has entered Hong Kong under a designated talent admission scheme and acquired a residential property in Hong Kong, and who subsequently becomes a Hong Kong permanent resident (HKPR), can apply for a refund of the BSD and the NRSD paid for the residential property.

The residential property must have been the applicant’s only residential property in Hong Kong at the time it was purchased and must still be owned by the applicant on the date of the application for refund. The Ad Valorem Stamp Duty at Scale 2 rates – the rates applicable to first-time home buyers who are HKPRs – will still be payable.

Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration Cheuk Wing-hing said: “The refund mechanism will bring the overall stamp duty charged on eligible incoming talents on par with that charged on first-time home buyers who are Hong Kong permanent residents (HKPRs), hence reducing the cost of home purchase for those incoming talents who are able and wish to buy residential properties in Hong Kong. We believe that this measure will help incentivise incoming talents to purchase homes and reside in Hong Kong in the long run, which would inject impetus to the growth of Hong Kong.”

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