|(2013-2014 Budget) Rates waived, taxes reduced
John Tsang proposed the following one-off relief measures today:
(a) waiving rates for 2013-14, subject to a ceiling of HK$1,500 per quarter for each rateable property. It is estimated that around 75 per cent of properties will be subject to no rates in the year. This proposal will cost the Government HK$11.6 billion;
(b) reducing salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for 2012-13 by 75 per cent, subject to a ceiling of HK$10,000. The reduction, benefiting 1.53 million taxpayers in the territory, will be reflected in the taxpayers' final tax payable for 2012-13. This measure will cost the Government HK$8.4 billion;
(c) granting each residential electricity account a subsidy of HK$1,800. This will cost the Government HK$4.5 billion;
(d) providing an extra allowance to Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients, equal to one month of the standard rate CSSA payments; and an extra allowance to Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance and Disability Allowance recipients, equal to one month of the allowances. This will involve an additional expenditure of HK$2.7 billion;
(e) paying two months' rent for public housing tenants. The Government will pay two months' base rent for tenants who are required to pay extra rent to the Hong Kong Housing Authority. For non-elderly tenants of the Hong Kong Housing Society's Group B estates, the government will pay two-thirds of their rent for two months. This measure will involve an expenditure of HK$2.2 billion;
(f) when necessary, the Government will allocate another HK$100 million for the short-term food assistance services; and
(g) giving all student loan borrowers who complete their studies in 2013 the option to start repaying their student loans one year after completion of studies. This will alleviate the financial burden of fresh graduates.
"The one-off measures can help ease the community's burden and are countercyclical from a macro perspective to
cope with short-term economic fluctuations, maintain spending power and support the employment market," said Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah.