Understanding your payroll tax obligations is vital to operating an international business in Hong Kong. Getting the picture of the types of payroll taxes, from types to reporting and filing requirements, not only ensures compliance with the law but also optimizes your financial strategy. This article provides in-depth information on payroll tax rates in Hong Kong.

Payroll tax for employer in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the concept of payroll tax doesn’t apply in the same way it does in many other jurisdictions. Payroll tax for employer in Hong Kong must navigate various obligations that indirectly relate to payroll through the administration of salaries tax, profits tax, and mandatory contributions to the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) or recognized occupational retirement schemes.

  • Contribution Rate: Both the employer and employee are required to contribute 5% of the employee’s relevant income to the MPF, up to a maximum income level. As of the latest update, the maximum relevant income cap is set at HKD 30,000 per month, which means the maximum contribution by each party is HKD 1,500 per month.
  • Exemptions: Certain employees, such as domestic workers, self-employed persons earning below a certain threshold, and non-residents who are covered by overseas retirement schemes, may be exempt from the MPF requirements.

Payroll tax rates in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is known for its simple and low tax rates, which extend to how employment income is taxed.The following are key aspects of payroll tax rates in Hong Kong:

Payroll tax rates in Hong Kong
Payroll tax rates in Hong Kong

Salaries tax rates

The Salaries Tax is charged at progressive rates on net chargeable income or at a standard rate on net income, whichever is lower. It’s important for employers to understand how these rates apply to different levels of employment income to assist their employees effectively.

  • The salaries tax rates in Hong Kong are progressive, ranging from 2% to 17%.
  • For the tax year 2023/24, the tax bands and rates are as follows:
    • On the first HK$50,000 of assessable income: 2%
    • On the next HK$50,000: 6%
    • On the next HK$50,000: 10%
    • On the remainder: 14%

MPF contribution rates

The current contribution limits for the MPF scheme require both employer and employee to contribute 5% of the employee’s relevant income, subject to a monthly cap. This cap is regularly reviewed and adjusted. There is also a minimum income level below which contributions are not required.

  • As of 2024, the mandatory contribution rate for MPF is 5% of the employee’s relevant income.
  • The relevant income cap for MPF contributions is HK$30,000 per month. Therefore, the maximum monthly contribution is HK$1,500.

3 Primary types of payroll taxes

In Hong Kong, payroll taxes are primarily encompassed within the Salaries Tax and Profits Tax frameworks, with contributions to the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) or recognized occupational retirement schemes also playing a crucial role. Unlike many jurisdictions, Hong Kong does not impose a separate tax strictly defined as “payroll tax”; instead, it relies on these broader categories to tax employment income.

3 Primary types of payroll taxes
3 Primary types of payroll taxes

Salaries Tax

Salaries Tax applies to all income arising in or derived from Hong Kong from any office, employment, and pensions. Employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees are aware of their potential tax liabilities, although the direct payment and filing obligations fall upon the individual employees.

Profits Tax

While not a payroll tax in the traditional sense, Profits Tax is relevant for employers as it taxes the profits of businesses and other entities. It indirectly affects payroll decisions, particularly in how businesses allocate compensation and benefits to optimize their tax positions.

MPF Contributions

The Mandatory Provident Fund is a compulsory savings scheme that covers all employees and self-employed persons aged 18 to 65 in Hong Kong. Employers and employees each make contributions equivalent to 5% of the employee’s monthly income, up to a cap, which is directly related to payroll processing.

Payroll tax reporting and filing

Employers in Hong Kong are required to fulfill various reporting and filing obligations related to payroll tax. Key aspects of payroll tax reporting and filing include:

  • Employer’s Return: Employers must submit an Employer’s Return to the IRD annually. This return provides details of the employer’s payroll, including salaries paid, tax withheld, and MPF contributions made throughout the year.
  • Individual Tax Returns: Employees are responsible for filing their individual tax returns with the IRD. Employers should provide employees with relevant documents, such as IR56 forms, to facilitate the filing process.
  • Deadline Compliance: It’s essential for employers to adhere to the deadlines specified by the IRD for reporting and filing payroll tax returns. Failure to meet deadlines may result in penalties and fines.

Payroll tax and income tax in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, payroll tax, particularly salaries tax, is closely intertwined with the city’s income tax system. Salaries tax is one of the main sources of government revenue and plays a significant role in funding public services and infrastructure development. Key points regarding payroll tax and income tax in Hong Kong include:

  • Progressive Taxation: Both payroll tax and income tax in Hong Kong follow a progressive tax rate structure, where tax rates increase with higher income levels. This system aims to distribute the tax burden fairly based on individuals’ ability to pay.
  • Tax Allowances and Deductions: Hong Kong offers various tax allowances and deductions to individuals to reduce their tax liabilities. Employers should be aware of these allowances and deductions to accurately calculate employees’ salaries tax and ensure compliance with tax regulations.
  • Double Taxation Relief: Hong Kong has agreements with many jurisdictions to prevent double taxation on income earned by residents and non-residents. Employers with international operations should consider these agreements when managing payroll tax for employees working across borders.


For Hong Kong employers, grasping the intricacies of payroll tax is paramount to ensure compliance and optimize financial outcomes. Familiarizing oneself with payroll taxes in Hong Kong, and the nuances of reporting and filing empowers employers to navigate the Hong Kong market efficiently. Remaining informed and prepared regarding tax policies in Hong Kong is pivotal for maintaining a competitive edge.

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