Hong Kong Salaries Tax – Married Person’s Allowance

A married person may claim the allowance if his spouse does not have taxable salary income. Marriage means a lawful marriage.

Full allowance is granted in the year of marriage. No apportionment of the allowance is required.

If his spouse has assessable income, the taxpayer cannot get the allowance unless both spouses elect to have their income jointly assessed in a single tax bill.

Election for joint assessment must be signed by both the husband and wife, within one year after the end of the year of assessment. If either spouse gets a Salaries Tax assessment after this time limit, then the time limit will be extended to 1 month after the assessment becoming final and conclusive (i.e. 2 months from the date of assessment in case of no objection).

It is advisable for the couple to elect for joint assessment if either spouse has low taxable income. This is because there may be unabsorbed personal allowance which can be transferred to the other spouse under joint assessment. If joint assessment is elected, the Revenue will compute whether the joint assessment will make them pay less tax in total and if yes, the Revenue will proceed to do the joint assessment; and if not, the Revenue will not make the joint assessment, but will inform the couple of this by way of an assessor¡¦s note.

Full allowance is granted in year of separation, divorce or death. No apportionment of the allowance is required.

Where a person is living apart from his spouse, he is not entitled to the allowance unless he maintains his ex-spouse. But if his ex-spouse has assessable income, the allowance will not be granted unless they both elect for joint assessment.

In addition, a person may claim Disabled Dependent Allowance in respect of his disabled spouse. The condition for the claim is that the spouse must be eligible to claim Disability Allowance from the Social Welfare Department.

A taxpayer may claim the allowance in his tax return. But if he forgets to do so, he may claim it by an objection when he receives the assessment. Even if he misses the objection deadline, he can still claim it by a Section 70A claim (because it is an omission — to claim the allowance).