What is IR56E, IR56F, and IR56G?: An Employer’s Guide

ir56e ir56f ir56g
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Note: This article was published in April 2019 and has been updated in Apr 2024 to reflect the latest updates to the Hong Kong Tax Filing/Submission process. As of the publish date, Talenox now supports five Hong Kong tax forms: IR56B, IR56E, IR56F, IR56G, and IR56M. 

We know you know what the IR56B is — the most common form every SME owner/HR manager in Hong Kong is familiar with. However, what about the other necessary forms that follow? The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) of Hong Kong requires employers to file and submit tax forms IR56E, IR56F and IR56G – when applicable. Each form type serves to report the remuneration paid to employees, for different scenarios (as detailed in the table below):

FormSubmit this for…
IR56ENew hire(s)
IR56F
Employee(s) who will no longer work at the company, but still remain in Hong Kong
IR56GEmployee(s) leaving Hong Kong, but may still be employed with your company

This article will provide an overview of each form’s anatomy, statutory guidelines, and submission process.

IR56E

IR56E form

As an employer, you need to ensure that all data furnished for the employees in the form IR56E is correct before submitting the form. 

Submission period

You need to submit IR56E within 3 months of any new hire’s date of commencement of employment. As an extra precaution, it would be good for you to ascertain that the new employee is chargeable to Salaries Tax under Inland Revenue Ordinance. 

Example: Company X employed a bookkeeper, Alfred Peng, on 3 April. If this new employee is chargeable to Salaries Tax, Company X will need to file one copy of a completed IR56E by 3 July. After submitting the form to IRD, Company X will also need to provide Alfred with a copy of IR56E.

Information to disclose

Below is a breakdown of each field in IR56E.

Employer Details
  1. a) Employer’s file number / Business registration number
    b) Employer’s company name
    c) Employer’s company address
Employee Details
  1. Employee’s name
    • In the format of ‘Surname, Given Name’.
    • As per the employee’s Hong Kong identity card or passport
  2. Hong Kong identity card number / Passport number
    • If the employee does not have an HKID card issued by the Immigration Department, simply indicate their passport number.
    • If the employee is allotted an HKID Card after the submission of the form, you will then need to notify IRD of their HKID Card number ASAP
  3. Sex
  4. Marital status
  5. Spouse’s details (if married)
    • (a) full name and 
    • (b) Hong Kong identity card number or passport number.
  6. Residential address
    • Supply the latest address. 
    • Remind the employee to notify IRD of any change in postal address within one month of the event.
  7. Postal address (if different from Residential address)
  8. Nature of employment
  1. Employment commencement date
  2. Employment terms
    • Monthly rate of fixed income
    • Monthly rate of allowance
    • Fluctuating income (examples include commission, bonus and gratuities)
  3. Place of residence provided (if any)
    • Fill this up if the company provides the place of residence rent-free.
    • If the company provides the place of residence at a rent that is less than the rental value, that is considered a benefit in the form of cash housing allowance, free place of residence and through rental reimbursement.
  1. Whether employee was paid by a non-Hong Kong company
  2. Whether the employee was granted a share option prior to employment commencement in Hong Kong, which can be exercised after rendering services in Hong Kong.
    • Fill this up if the vesting period of the share options has not expired prior to the Hong Kong employment/assignment commencement date.
    • Then, provide details of options granted in a separate sheet.
    • Care must be taken to include the date of grant, date of vest, date of exercise and considerations for the share awards and options as applicable.

Filing process

The traditional way is to manually fill up IR56E for each new hire. This tends to be the case for small start-ups with 5 employees or less.

However, with the available tech today, many growth-oriented companies are adopting advanced payroll systems to easily generate IR56E forms. If you’re looking for a payroll system that can help your company auto-complete IR56E, you will want to make sure it can:

  • Offer free customer support at every step, with dedicated onboarding.
  • Store employee data securely, with ISO27001 certification.
  • Run detailed payroll calculations that are fast, accurate and compliant.
  • Transfer the relevant employee & payroll data into each IR56E field.
  • Provide a copy of the submitted IR56E to the employee.

Thankfully, there are payroll systems like Talenox that check all the boxes! 

Amendment process

If IRD requires any subsequent amendments to the reported income / other information, you can submit a replacement form through an online HRMS like Talenox and the Employer’s Return e-Filing Services. 

Alternatively, you can manually refill the form with the revised income; in this process, you will need to tick the checkbox at the top right-hand corner of the form titled ‘Replacement – correcting the form submitted on ______(dd/mm/yyyy)’.

Reference in Inland Revenue Ordinance (“IRO”)

Section 52(4)

IR56F

As an employer, you also have to ensure that all data filled in for the relevant employees in IR56F are correct before submitting the form. 

Submission period

This form will need to be submitted one month prior to the cessation of employment or resignation date. 

Example: On 5 June, Bruce Wang terminated his employment with Company X and has no plans to leave Hong Kong after his termination. In this case, Company X just has to file one copy of IR56F before 5 May. Thereafter, Company X should provide a copy of IR56F to Bruce.

Know that after filing IR56F, you should not file any IR56B for that year of assessment. Filing two IR56s may result in charging tax twice.

Information to disclose

Below is a breakdown of each field in IR56F.

Employer Details
  1. Employer’s file number / Business registration number
    Employer’s company name
Employee Details
  1. Employee’s name
    • In the format of ‘Surname, Given Name’.
    • As per the employee’s Hong Kong identity card or passport
  2. Hong Kong identity card number / Passport number
    • If the employee does not have an HKID card issued by the Immigration Department, simply indicate their passport number.
    • If the employee is allotted an HKID Card after the submission of the form, you will need to notify IRD of their HKID Card number ASAP
  3. Sex
  4. Marital status
  5. Spouse’s details (if married)
    • (a) full name and 
    • (b) Hong Kong identity card number or passport number.
  6. Residential address
    • Supply the latest address. 
    • Remind the employee to notify IRD of any change in postal address within one month of the event.
  7. Postal address (if different from Residential address)
  8. Nature of employment
  9. Reason for employment cessation
    • This can include resignation, retirement, dismissal, death, etc.
  10. Period of employment from 1 April to employment cessation date
  1. Income details from 1 April to employment cessation date
    • For item (f) Back Pay, Payment in Lieu of Notice, Terminal Awards or Gratuition, severance payment or long service payment made in accordance with the Employment Ordinance should not be included. The amount to be reported specifically refers to:
      1. a lump sum payment / gratuity paid upon retirement or termination;
      2. payment in lieu of notice, whether paid under the term of an employment contract or the Employment Ordinance; and 
      3. deferred pay or arrears of pay resulting from a salaries or wages award.
    • Item (g) Certain Payments from Retirement Schemes would refer to any employer contribution via the following:
      1. Occupational Retirement Schemes provided by the company and unrecognised by the Hong Kong government
      2. Occupational Retirement Schemes provided and recognised by the Hong Kong government for any reason other than termination of service, death, incapacity, terminal illness or retirement.
      3. Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Scheme
      4. Proportionate Benefit Rule
  2. Place of residence provided (if any)
    • Similar to IR56E, you should only fill up this field if the company provides the place of residence rent-free.
    • If the company pays for the place of residence at a rent that is less than the rental value, that is considered a benefit in the form of cash housing allowance, free place of residence and through rental reimbursement.
  3. Whether employee was paid by a non-Hong Kong company

Filing process

The traditional way is to manually fill up IR56F for each new hire. This tends to be the case for small start-ups with 5 employees or less.

However, with the available tech today, many growth-oriented companies are adopting advanced payroll systems to easily generate IR56F forms. If you’re looking for a payroll system that can help your company auto-complete IR56F, you will want to make sure it can:

  • Offer free customer support at every step, with dedicated onboarding.
  • Store employee data securely, with ISO27001 certification.
  • Run detailed payroll calculations that are fast, accurate and compliant.
  • Transfer the relevant employee & payroll data into each IR56F field.
  • Provide a copy of the submitted IR56F to the employee.

Thankfully, there are payroll systems like Talenox that check all the boxes! 

Amendment process

If IRD requires any subsequent amendments to the reported income / other information, you can choose to submit a replacement form through an online HRMS like Talenox and the Employer’s Return e-Filing Services. 

Alternatively, you can manually refill the form with the revised income; in this process, you will need to tick the checkbox at the top right-hand corner of the form titled ‘Replacement – correcting the form submitted on ______(dd/mm/yyyy)’.

Reference in Inland Revenue Ordinance (“IRO”)

Section 52(5) 

IR56G

If your employee is a foreigner and he/she is leaving Hong Kong after the cessation of employment, you will need to submit this form on their behalf.

Submission period

No later than one month before the employee’s departure from Hong Kong. Know that you will have to file two copies of IR56G.

Example: If Bruce is planning to leave Hong Kong (for more than a period of 1 month) after his termination, Company X must file two copies of IR56G to report Bruce’s termination and departure. They will also have to withhold all amounts to be paid to Bruce – from the date of filing IR56G until Bruce has made tax clearance and can produce a ” letter of release” issued by the IRD. The amount to withhold includes salaries, commission, bonus, reimbursement of rent/expense, money or money’s worth included.

Information to disclose

Employer Details
  1. Employer’s file number / Business registration number
    Employer’s company name
Employee Details
  1. Employee’s name
    • In the format of ‘Surname, Given Name’.
    • As per the employee’s Hong Kong identity card or passport
  2. Hong Kong identity card number / Passport number
    • If the employee does not have an HKID card issued by the Immigration Department, simply indicate their passport number.
    • If the employee is allotted an HKID Card after the submission of the form, you will need to notify IRD of their HKID Card number ASAP
  3. Sex
  4. Marital status
  5. Spouse’s details (if married)
    • (a) full name and 
    • (b) Hong Kong identity card number or passport number.
  6. Residential address
    • Supply the latest address. 
    • Remind the employee to notify IRD of any change in postal address within one month of the event.
  7. Postal address (if different from Residential address)
  8. Nature of employment
  9. Period of employment from 1 April to employment cessation date
  10. Income details from 1 April to employment cessation date
    • For item (f) Back Pay, Payment in Lieu of Notice, Terminal Awards or Gratuition, severance payment or long service payment made in accordance with the Employment Ordinance should not be included. The amount to be reported specifically refers to:
      1. a lump sum payment / gratuity paid upon retirement or termination;
      2. payment in lieu of notice, whether paid under the term of an employment contract or the Employment Ordinance; and 
      3. deferred pay or arrears of pay resulting from a salaries or wages award.
    • Item (g) Certain Payments from Retirement Schemes would refer to any employer contribution via the following:
      1. Occupational Retirement Schemes provided by the company and unrecognised by the Hong Kong government
      2. Occupational Retirement Schemes provided and recognised by the Hong Kong government for any reason other than termination of service, death, incapacity, terminal illness or retirement.
      3. Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Scheme
      4. Proportionate Benefit Rule
  1. Place of residence provided (if any)
    • Similar to IR56E, you should only fill up this field if the company provides the place of residence rent-free.
    • If the company pays for the place of residence at a rent that is less than the rental value, that is considered a benefit in the form of cash housing allowance, free place of residence and through rental reimbursement.
  2. Whether the employee was paid by a non-Hong Kong company
  3. Whether the employee’s Salaries Tax will be deducted by employer.
  4. Any money held under section 52(7) of the Inland Revenue Ordinance
    • The employer should withhold all money payable to the employee (such as last month salaries) for a period of one month from the date of filing or until receipt of a Letter of Release (IR607).
  5. Reason for departure
    • Return to homeland.
    • Secondment (i.e. the temporary transfer of an official or worker to another position or employment.)
    • Emigration.
  6. Whether the employee would return to Hong Kong
  7. Whether the employee has any share options granted by your company or any other corporation in respect of his/her employment with your company that are not yet exercised, assigned or released.

Filing process

The traditional way is to manually fill up IR56G for each new hire. This tends to be the case for small start-ups with 5 employees or less.

However, with the available tech today, many growth-oriented companies are adopting advanced payroll systems to easily generate IR56G forms. If you’re looking for a payroll system that can help your company auto-complete IR56G, you will want to make sure it can:

  • Offer free customer support at every step, with dedicated onboarding.
  • Store employee data securely, with ISO27001 certification.
  • Run detailed payroll calculations that are fast, accurate and compliant.
  • Transfer the relevant employee & payroll data into each IR56G field.
  • Provide a copy of the submitted IR56G to the employee.

Thankfully, there are payroll systems like Talenox that check all the boxes! 

Amendment process

If IRD requires any subsequent amendments to the reported income / other information, you can choose to submit a replacement form through an online HRMS like Talenox and the Employer’s Return e-Filing Services. 

Alternatively, you can manually refill the form with the revised income; in this process, you will need to tick the checkbox at the top right-hand corner of the form titled ‘Replacement – correcting the form submitted on ______(dd/mm/yyyy)’.

Reference in Inland Revenue Ordinance (“IRO”)

Sections 52(6) & 52(7)

Special Considerations for Remote Employees

If you have employees who are based overseas and work remotely for your Hong Kong entity, the tax obligations and the necessity to file IR56G can vary:

  • If the Employee Has Left Hong Kong: If the employee has left Hong Kong and is not expected to return for work, IR56G should be filed to inform the IRD of their new working arrangement.
  • If the Employee Was Never Based in Hong Kong: If the employee has never been based in Hong Kong or has no tax obligations in Hong Kong, typically, there would be no need to file IR56G. Their income may not be subject to Hong Kong taxes, but it’s important to confirm this based on the specifics of their role and location.

Note that the tax residence status of your employees can affect their tax liability in Hong Kong. Employees who are considered Hong Kong tax residents might still need to declare their worldwide income in Hong Kong, whereas non-residents are only taxed on income sourced in Hong Kong. Understanding the distinction and how it applies to each employee is crucial for proper tax reporting.

Use your Talenox account to auto-complete IR56E, F, and G forms

To ensure compliance with Hong Kong’s tax laws, consider the following steps:

  • Consult with a Tax Professional: Given the complexities of tax laws, especially related to international and remote employment, consulting with a tax professional can provide tailored advice based on your company’s and employees’ specific circumstances.
  • Use HR Software: Utilise HR software like Talenox, which can assist in managing payroll and tax forms, including the IR56 series, for both local and overseas employees. This can help ensure accuracy and compliance with Hong Kong’s tax regulations.
  • Stay Informed: Keep updated with any changes in the tax regulations that could affect your filing obligations, especially in response to increasing remote work trends.

To start filling out the forms on Talenox, simply head to the Payroll module, then follow these steps:

  1. Click on Payroll settings on the top left-hand corner.
  2. Select the name of the form you wish to fill out.
  3. Click on the checkbox of the employee you wish to fill the form out for.
  4. Click on View/Edit to edit or check the form.
  5. Select “Print form” once you’re done.

By accurately filing your tax forms and staying informed about tax obligations for remote and international employees, you can ensure that your company remains compliant with Hong Kong’s tax laws while supporting a globally distributed workforce. Try Talenox for 30-days free!

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