It is a great honour and privilege for me to be elected as the President of the Taxation Institute of Hong Kong for the year 2015-16.
Founded in 1972, our institute aims at promoting the study of taxation, providing venue for the exchange of taxation knowledge as well as enhancing the standard of tax professionals. As a responsible and professional institute of Hong Kong, we have gone beyond the designated goal and is now pacing ourselves to involve in the society in various aspects.
With business globalization, it becomes more challenging for our fellow tax practitioners and business owners to manage their tax. Taxpayers are required to understand the tax policy of their own countries; yet it is essential for them to understand the tax policy where they operate and do trade with. In the recent years, governments are showing their concerns on the loss of tax revenue due to double non-taxable caused by the gaps created by the different policies. The issue is complicated by the new form of business for which the existing tax policies do not cater. Changes on the international tax policy and potential changes on local policy are expected promptly due to this external drive. Therefore, prepping ourselves for the unforeseeable future is crucial to maintain our competitiveness.
In the coming year, the focus of our institute will be:
1) To promote the study of taxation – it includes not only Hong Kong, but also China taxation and international tax development
2) To raise the standard of our members and to nurture the next generation – while taxation has become more complicated, businesses apparently require more professional tax advisors to assist them in complying with the rules and manage tax risk
3) To encourage our members to serve our society – our economic development requires a lot of professional services. We should make use of our knowledge to help the people in need and provide more opportunities to the next generation
All the above-mentioned have set the theme of the forthcoming year. The activities of our institute in 2015-16 will address the needs of different interest groups.
To our members, continuous study and sharing are key to enable them to excel in their roles. In addition to the tax updates available on our websites, we will continue to organize tax seminars and workshops suitable for members with different level of experience. We will also bring in more international and China tax seminars to widen the knowledge of our members. Meanwhile, we will continue to co-organise seminars with different Chinese taxation institutes for our members. One of our signature events of the year will be the CTA conference. We will invite renowned tax professionals and government officials to speak for us on the latest policy development. Details of the event will be announced accordingly and members will receive our invitations to the various events in due course.
Back in 2010, the institute has successfully launched the Certified Tax Advisers exam. It has been tracking an increasing enrolment over the years. This year, we will open the CTA exam to students who have interest to advance in tax knowledge and to equip themselves for the future tax specialist career. To arouse students’ interest in selecting tax profession as a career, we organized a tax debate competition last year and received overwhelmingly strong response from university students in Hong Kong. It was a very effective event to promote tax learning amongst students. The institute will proceed with the debate competition again this year. We will also design a mentorship program and involve our members in mentoring and nurturing the next generation.
A group of elite members in our institute with profound experience and knowledge in tax policy are willing to use their knowledge to contribute to the society in different ways. Every year, a taskforce is set up to make proposal to the tax policy to the Financial Secretary for his consideration of the new year budget. We have gained tremendous support from many members to make our annual Voluntary Tax Consulting services a great success. They have provided guidance insights to the general public in preparing their own tax return. This year, we will partner with the Wharf group in Project WeCan and adopt a secondary school. Through this project, we will provide opportunities and arrange programs to involve secondary students with an objective to inspire them and empower their confidence. Being an institute rooted deeply in HK for more than 40 years, we are committed to our society and we will welcome our members to share the same value and involve in our CSR events.
Let me once again express my gratitude to work with a group of enthusiastic and devoted council members who are instrumental to lead the different committees and taskforce. Our objective could not be achieved without the support of our members and the students. I look forward to meeting all of you in the upcoming events.