Raymond Yeung Tax Consultant former Assessor of Inland Revenue Department 前稅局評稅主任楊輝洪

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Correction of error or omission


An “error of law” occurs in the following situations:

  • Because of ignorance of law, a taxpayer might in his tax return report some non-taxable items. For example, a taxpayer may invoke Section 70A to claim time-apportionment on the grounds that he omitted to do so in his tax return.

  • Because of ignorance of law, a taxpayer might report his business income as employment income his tax return  For example, an insurance agent, who has no master and servant relationship with the insurance company, reported his income under Salaries Tax. On the grounds of “error of law”, he can invoke Section 70A to have his income re-assessed under Profits Tax so as to get more expenses deduction.

An error or omission can be made by (a)  the taxpayer, (b) the Revenue, or (c) a third party.


The error or omission made by or on behalf of a taxpayer must be one in a tax return or a related statement.  'Statement' includes accounts submitted in support of the return as well as any related correspondence. 


An act deliberately done by an Assessor in arriving at the assessment is not an error. For example, the Assessor's disallowance of, say 50%, of entertainment expenses in computing Assessable Profits is a judgment, not an error.


Section 70A does not apply where the return or statement was made in accordance with the then prevailing practice. In other words, it is inapplicable where there is a change of the Revenue's practice or where there is a new court judgment.


The Revenue should issue a formal notice of rejection if it does not accept the taxpayer's claim under Section 70A. When the taxpayer receives the notice, he can lodge a formal objection under Section 64 of Inland Revenue Ordinance against the notice as if it were a notice of assessment.


If the Revenue refuses a Section 70 A claim but does not issue a formal notice of rejection, then the taxpayer will forfeit his right of objection --- that means he cannot pursue his claim under Section 64 --- in that case, the taxpayer should phone the complaints officer via 2594 5000.  


In the case Sun Yau Investment Co. Ltd. v. CIR 2 HKTC 17, it was held that Section 70A did not apply to an estimated assessment in the absence of a tax return. Press here for detail


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