Tax exemption status to be revoked if any charitable organisation found to engage activities that may endanger national security

Christopher Hui, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

13th September 2021 – (Hong Kong) Christopher Hui, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury announced in his blog today (13th) that in response to the implementation of the National Security Law, the Inland Revenue Department has revised the “Tax Guidelines for Charitable Institutions and Trusts of a Public Character”. If any organisation supports, promotes or engages in activities that are detrimental to national security, the Inland Revenue Department will no longer recognise it as a charity, and will revoke the tax exemption status granted under the tax regulations.

The relevant amendments were officially announced today and will take effect immediately. Hui stated that if an organisation is found to participate in or use its resources to support or promote activities that are not conducive to national security after review, it will not hesitate to exclude it as a charity and withdraw its tax exemption status. According to the current guidelines, in order to be recognised as a charitable organisation, the relevant organisation must be established purely for legally recognised charitable purposes and for the benefit of the public. Tax exemption status allows charities to retain more financial resources and thus have room to promote more charitable projects.

He continued that the revised guidelines not only apply to new applications under Article 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance, but also cover all charities that are currently eligible for tax exemption. He said that the Inland Revenue Department will conduct regular reviews and pay attention to whether the substantive nature of the organisations concerned has changed.