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Basis Period  -  Commencement of business

The day of business commencement declared by the business owner upon registration of business is usually adopted without queries. However, in some cases involving disputes, it is not easy to determine the exact day of business commencement. Indeed this is largely a question of facts. In general, a retailer starts to trade when goods are first offered for sale. A manufacturer starts trading when the manufacturing begins. A property developer starts trading when he first enters into a project of property development by taking such steps as appointment of an architect to draw up the development plan. 

The date of business commencement may affect the deductibility of expenses. Although by accounting principle all expenditures to set up a business should be capitalized, the Revenue may by concession allow deduction for revenue expenditure such as rent and staff wages before the business commencement. 

Section 18C of Inland Revenue Ordinance deals with the basis period for business commencement. As a basic principle, the basis periods throughout the business life should start from the date of commencement to the date of cessation. Normally, if business account is made on a 12-months basis, the first basis period is the first accounting year. Otherwise, there are special provisions.

Read the following examples to see how profits are assessed on business commencement. 

Example A: First business accounts cover 12-months

Example B: First business accounts cover 6 months

Example C: First business accounts cover 18 months


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