Certificate of Resident Status
A Certificate of Resident Status is a document issued by the Hong Kong competent authority to a Hong Kong resident who requires proof of resident status for the purposes of claiming tax benefits under the Comprehensive Double Taxation Agreements / Arrangements (DTAs).
The Certificate of Resident Status should constitute a sufficient proof of the resident status of a Hong Kong resident. Generally, forms related to DTAs which are not issued by the Inland Revenue Department would not be signed / stamped except forms of Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg.
The Hong Kong competent authority will issue a Certificate of Resident Status after the DTA between Hong Kong and the relevant jurisdiction has become effective.
Generally, only one Certificate of Resident Status will be issued to you in respect of each DTA for each year.
Countries List of Signed DTAs with Hong Kong
Comprehensive Double Taxation Agreements concluded
- Macao SAR
- Mainland of China
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
Please click here for more details.
While the Hong Kong competent authority is committed to providing Hong Kong residents with assistance in claiming all the tax benefits they are entitled to under a DTA, the Hong Kong competent authority may refuse to issue a Certificate of Resident Status where it is clear that the person would not be entitled to those benefits. As such, there may be cases where a person will not be able to obtain a Certificate of Resident Status because that person does not fulfill the criteria of the particular article under which that person intends to claim benefits.
It is vitally important that the Hong Kong competent authority upholds the terms and purpose of Hong Kong’s DTAs by not issuing Certificates of Resident Status to those who are clearly not entitled to relief from foreign taxes.
If the Hong Kong competent authority has reason to believe that a person will not be entitled to benefits under a DTA, the Hong Kong competent authority may request further information from the person before deciding whether a Certificate of Resident Status can be issued.
In cases where it is not clear to the treaty partners whether a person would be entitled to such benefits, the Hong Kong competent authority may need to exchange information to help them come to an informed decision as to whether such benefits can be granted.
Persons should also be aware that issue of a Certificate of Resident Status will not guarantee that they will be successful in their claim to benefits under the relevant DTA. The decision as to whether relief from foreign taxes can be granted is, ultimately, one to be made by the treaty partner. It will be up to the treaty partner to determine whether all the relevant conditions are fulfilled and whether benefits can be granted.
In any case where Hong Kong residents believe a treaty partner has denied them benefits which they should be entitled to, the Hong Kong competent authority will consider engaging with the treaty partner under the Mutual Agreement Procedure for the relevant DTA.
To help the Hong Kong competent authority decide whether a Certificate of Resident Status can be issued, any person who would like to obtain a Certificate of Resident Status will be required to provide a certain amount of information when making the request.
Who can Apply
In general, the following persons can apply for a Certificate of Resident Status:
- Individual who ordinarily resides in Hong Kong;
- Individual who stays in Hong Kong for more than 180 days during a year of assessment or for more than 300 days in two consecutive years of assessment one of which is the relevant year of assessment;
- Company / partnership / trust / body of persons incorporated or constituted in Hong Kong;
- Company / partnership / trust / body of persons incorporated or constituted outside Hong Kong but managed or controlled in Hong Kong.
You should refer to the relevant article and protocol of the relevant DTA to check whether you qualify as a Hong Kong resident for the purpose of that DTA.
You need to complete the appropriate form. You may find it here.
For application made in respect of the DTA between the Mainland and Hong Kong:
- With effect from 1 November 2015, an applicant is not required to attach a referral letter from the Mainland tax authorities.
- According to the administrative arrangement agreed in the notes exchanged between the Mainland and Hong Kong on 16 March 2016 and 15 April 2016, a Certificate of Resident Status issued to an applicant for a particular calendar year generally serves as a proof of the Hong Kong resident status of the applicant for that calendar year and the two succeeding calendar years. It would not be necessary for the applicant to apply for Certificate of Resident Status for the latter two calendar years. In case there are/were changes in the applicant’s circumstances such that the applicant will cease/ceased to meet the conditions for enjoying tax benefits under the Arrangement, the Certificate of Resident Status issued would not serve as a proof of the applicant’s Hong Kong resident status after the changes. Please click here for details of the administrative arrangement.
- If the claim in the application relates to tax benefits on dividends falling within the provisions of Article 3 or 4 of the Circular of the State Taxation Administration on Matters Concerning “Beneficial Owners” in Tax Treaties (STA Circular 2018 No. 9), please click here for the points to note when making the application.
How to Apply
You should send the completed application form to:
Assessor (Tax Treaty)
Tax Treaty Section
Inland Revenue Department
36/F, Revenue Tower
5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
It normally takes 21 working days to process an application. Where the information available is not sufficient to determine the resident status, you will be requested to supply further and better particulars.
Issue of Certificate of Resident Status
Generally, the Certificate of Resident Status will be sent to you by post. If you wish to collect it in person, you are required to make a written request when submitting the relevant application form and the required documents.
Please refer to the website of Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department for source information.