For any business registered in Hong Kong - or foreign companies looking to set up a branch office or start trading in Hong Kong - a Business Registration Certificate is essential. Pretty much all for profit businesses, whether on- or offline need to register officially, within a month of starting to trade. Displaying your valid Business Registration Certificate is a legal requirement when doing business in Hong Kong - and this guide covers all you need to know to get started.
We’ll walk through the Business Registration Certificate requirements, process and fees - and also cover how you may save money with Wise business payments if you need to send money internationally to cover your costs.
You’ll usually need a Business Registration Certificate if you have a Hong Kong registered business, or are doing business in Hong Kong - this includes¹:
- Sole proprietorships
- Incorporated companies
- Companies not registered in Hong Kong doing business here
- Branch business trading in Hong Kong
It’s worth noting that there’s a difference between getting a Business Registration Certificate and registering your company². Registering your company usually refers to registering under the Companies Ordinance, if you have a company limited by shares or by guarantee. You can learn more about how to register your company on the Companies Registry website, including a step by step guide to register your company this way³.
The Business Registration Certificate must be displayed in the place of business of any person or company trading in Hong Kong.⁴ Your certificate can last for either 1 or 3 years, and will require renewal upon expiry.⁵ More on that later.
To apply for business registration in Hong Kong you’ll need to take the following steps:
- Complete the Business Registration Certificate application form
- Pay the required fee and levy
- Provide identification - the paperwork needed will vary according to business type, and includes the applicant’s HKID card and business documents
Once you have completed your application form you can submit it in a few different ways:
- In person at the Business Registration Office - 4/F Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
- By post to P.O. Box 29015, Gloucester Road Post Office, Hong Kong
- For sole-proprietorships, some partnerships and branch registration, applications can be submitted online via eTAX
You should receive a renewal demand notice shortly before your Business Registration Certificate is due to expire. All you need to do to renew your certificate is pay the indicated fee.⁶
If you do not receive a demand note - or your note is lost - you’ll need to either send or take your expiring Business Registration Certificate to the Business Registration Office, to make payment and renew your certificate.
If you make changes to your business, including the name or address you operate from, you’ll need to inform the Business Registration Office within a month of the changes taking effect.⁷
Notifications can be made in writing to the Business Registration Office address given above, or by completing Form IRC 3110A. You may need to provide evidence of the changes you are requesting, such as a utility bill registered to your new premises in the case of an address alteration.
The cost of your Business Registration Certificate will depend on whether you opt for a 1 year registration or a 3 year certificate. The cost is made up of a fee and a levy, and is reviewed from time to time. At the point of writing, you’ll pay the following:⁸
- 250 HKD for a 1 year Business Registration Certificate
- 3,950 HKD for a 3 year Business Registration Certificate
Branch registration fees vary slightly. Other costs which may apply include:⁹
- 27 HKD for a certified copy of your Business Registration Certificate
- 20 HKD for a duplicate copy of your Business Registration Certificate
You can choose between a broad range of ways to pay your Business Registration Certificate fees:¹⁰
- Pay online or by phone
- Pay in person or by post
- Pay using FPS or PPS
- Pay by eCheque or using an ATM
If you’re an overseas taxpayer, you can send a payment online, or ask a friend in Hong Kong to make the transfer for you. You can also pay using a crossed cheque or bank draft.¹¹ If you’re sending a payment from overseas, be sure to check out Wise as a simple, fast and safe way to send low cost international transfers for personal or business customers.
Wise business payments use the mid-market exchange rate with no markups, and can work out up to 19x cheaper than using a competitor like PayPal. 50% of transfers are instant or arrive within the hour - so you can sort out the fees for your Business Registration Certificate online and have the money transferred in no time.
Getting your Business Registration Certificate is an essential first step for anyone looking to trade in Hong Kong. Use this guide as a starting point to get registered, renew your Business Registration Certificate, or make any changes or updates that are needed to stay legal. And don’t forget - whether your business is brand new - or expanding into Hong Kong - you could save on international transfers with Wise business payments.
Sources used in this article:
1 Inland Revenue Department
2 Companies Registry
3 Companies Registry: How to register a new company?
4 Inland Revenue Department: General
5 Inland Revenue Department: Business Registration Certificate for 3 years
6 Inland Revenue Department: Renewal of Business Registration
7 Inland Revenue Department: Notification of Change of Business Registration Particulars
8 Inland Revenue Department: Business Registration Fee and Levy Table
9 Inland Revenue Department: List of Current Charges
10 Inland Revenue Department: Payment Methods
11 GovHK: Payment from Overseas
Sources last checked on 5-Oct-2021
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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