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Raymond Yeung Tax Consultant former Assessor of Inland Revenue Department * Service charge $500/hr

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Profits Tax - What is a trade?

Section 2 of Inland Revenue Ordinance states that the word "trade"  includes every trade and manufacture, and every adventure and concern in the nature of trade. Obviously, this is not a conclusive definition of “trade”. Nor does it give a test of what is a trade. In fact, it expands the ordinary meaning of the word "trade". Perhaps in reality a trade takes a variety of forms so that it is virtually impossible to give a full definition for it.

In general, trading consists of purchase and sale of goods, manufacturing, or provision of services.

In the Board of Review case D55/87, an ex-amateur jockey who made substantial winnings from betting on horses was held that he had not carried on a business and therefore the profits were not assessable. Click here to read what the Board said.

In the Hong Kong tax case CIR versus Dr. Chang Liang Jen 1 HKTC 975, a speculator buying and selling shares in the stock market was held as not carrying on a trade.

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