Hong Kong Salaries Tax – Child Allowance

A taxpayer may claim child allowance if he maintains an unmarried child who is below 18, and if 18 to 25: a full-time student, or if over 25: disabled for work.

Full allowance is granted in the year of assessment in which the child is born. Press here for the amount of allowances.

No double claim of child allowance for a child. No sharing or splitting of child allowance among a couple unless the couple is living apart or divorced. If the couple has more than one eligible child, either spouse can make the claim for all the children and then the other spouse gets no child allowance at all. In general, it is advisable for the spouse with higher income to make the claim.

A claim for living-apart has to be proved by production of court order or separation deed. A married person living apart from his spouse temporarily is not accepted as living-apart for tax purpose.

According to Section 27 of IRO, the word “child” is defined as any child of a person chargeable to tax or of his or her spouse or former spouse whether born in wedlock and includes the adopted or stepchild of either or both of them. Besides, the word “adopted” is defined as: adopted in any manner recognized by the laws of Hong Kong.

The sharing of the child allowance between a living-apart or divorced couple is based on their contribution to the maintenance and education of the child. In practice, equal sharing is assumed unless the claimant can provide proof that he makes a greater contribution.

A divorced or living-apart person may also claim Single Parent Allowance if he provides sole or predominant care to the child in the years of assessment after year of the divorce or separation. Whether such care exists is mainly a question of facts. In general, the Revenue looks to whether the claimant is responsible for the provision of the daily care and supervision of the child. The proof may include production of the child’s student handbooks, medical record, resident card, etc. Apportionment of the allowance between the parents on time basis may be accepted if either parent provides sole or predominant care for the child during different periods during the year of assessment.

You may claim child allowance in your tax return. If you forget to do so, you may claim it by an objection when you receive the assessment. Even if you miss the objection deadline, you can still claim it by a Section 70A claim (because it is an omission — to claim the allowance).