Raymond Yeung Tax Consultant * former IRD Assessor

飛鴻稅務顧問 * 前稅務局評稅主任楊輝洪

恆生銀行 Hang Seng Bank Account  385 599279 883

yeungfhr@yahoo.com.hk * Tel/WhatsApp 94735846  

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Desk Audit 


In order to streamline its assessing procedures and to enhance its operational efficiency, the Revenue adopts a so-called “assess first, audit later” practice (usually called AFAL啊花). Under the practice, most tax returns are input into the computer for issue of assessments without queries.


On the other hand, in order to deter taxpayers from under-stating taxable incomes, the Revenue selects a number of cases  for audit. The selection is usually done by a computer program containing certain criteria. The criteria are revised from time to time in the light of previous audit results as well as the changing economy and technology. This kind of audit is called “desk audit” because the audit is carried out by computer selection of cases, exchange of correspondence with taxpayers and the tax officer's examination of tax returns without visiting the taxpayer's premises.   


Under desk audit, standard letters are sent to the selected taxpayers. Normally, the letters ask for a standardized set of information in relation to the audit subject. When a reply from taxpayer is received, the case will be passed to an audit officer, usually an Assistant Assessor or Assessor. If no reply is received beyond a time limit, estimated additional assessments will be issued to the taxpayer. 


If the audit reveals that the taxpayer has understated his returned income, an additional assessment with a penalty assessment (if applicable) will be issued to the taxpayer. 


Normally, the audit is targeted at the latest year of assessment. But if the audit reveals serious tax avoidance or evasion, the case will be referred to an investigation officer for an in-depth tax investigation.


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