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VI. Benefits and welfare enjoyed by married couples

A. Married person’s allowance

Regardless of whether the spouse is a Hong Kong resident, a married taxpayer in Hong Kong  can claim the married person’s allowance in any year of assessment if the taxpayer is married at any time during that year, and;

  • he/she is not living apart from his/her spouse; or
  • he/she is living apart from his/her spouse but is maintaining or supporting the spouse; AND the spouse does not have any income chargeable to salaries tax;

in which case it does not matter whether the taxpayer and his/her spouse have elected the joint tax assessment or the personal tax assessment.

“Marriage”, in the context of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (IRO), refers to a heterosexual marriage between a man and a woman. “Spouse” is defined in section 2 of the IRO as a husband or a wife. A “husband” is a married man and a “wife” is a married woman.

B. Dependent Parent and Dependent Grandparent Allowance

A taxpayer in Hong Kong may claim allowance in respect of each dependent parent / grandparent maintained by him/her or his/her spouse, provided his/her spouse is not living apart from the taxpayer during the year. To qualify for the allowance, the dependent parent / grandparent must at any time during the year be:

  • ordinarily resident in Hong Kong;
  • aged 55 or more, or eligible to claim an allowance under the Government's Disability Allowance Scheme; and
  • residing with the taxpayer or his/her spouse, without paying full cost, for a continuous period of not less than 6 months, or have received from the taxpayer or his/her spouse not less than $12,000 in money within the taxation year in question.

If the dependent parent / grandparent resides with the taxpayer  continuously throughout the whole year without paying the full cost, the taxpayer is also entitled to the Additional Dependent Parent and Grandparent Allowance.

In the context of considering a taxpayer’s eligibility for the dependent parent / grandparent allowance, the term “ordinarily resident in Hong Kong” means that the dependant must be habitually and normally resident in Hong Kong. To determine whether a dependant is ordinarily resident in Hong Kong, the Inland Revenue Department may consider objective factors including:

  1. the number of days he / she stayed in Hong Kong;
  2. whether he / she has a permanent dwelling in Hong Kong;
  3. whether he / she owns a property for residence outside Hong Kong;
  4. whether he / she works or carries out a business in Hong Kong ;
  5. whether his / her relatives are mainly residing in Hong Kong.

A “parent” means:

  • natural father or mother / step parent; or
  • natural father or mother / step parent of one's spouse; or
  • a parent by whom one or one's spouse was legally adopted; or
  • a parent of one's deceased spouse.

A “grandparent” means:

  • natural grandfather or grandmother / one's adoptive grandparent / one's step grandparent; or
  • natural grandfather or grandmother / adoptive grandparent / step grandparent of one's spouse; or
  • grandparent of one's deceased spouse.

Only one individual can be granted an allowance for the same dependant. If more than one individual is entitled to the allowance for the same dependant, they must agree amongst themselves on who shall claim the allowance.

If one has already been granted a deduction for elderly residential care expenses for a parent or grandparent, one will not be granted a dependent parent and dependent grandparent allowance for the same parent or grandparent for that same year of assessment.

For more details about tax allowances for married couples, please visit the GovHK website .

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