top of page

Accounting, Audit & Tax - A Comprehensive Guide to Opening and Maintaining a Company in Hong Kong in 2024 - Part 4

Updated: May 17

Exploring the essentials of Accounting for new Hong Kong companies

In Brief: Newly established companies in Hong Kong benefit from an initial 18-month grace period before their first tax filing, allowing them to get their accounting and finances in order - but this time should be used wisely to implement robust systems as mandatory audits and complex tax compliance awaits, making it crucial for entrepreneurs to understand and prepare for the intricacies of financial management, auditing, and tax reporting in Hong Kong right from the start.

Opening a company in Hong Kong is an exhilarating step for many entrepreneurs, but it’s just the beginning of a complex journey that involves meticulous financial management and compliance with local regulations. In Hong Kong, a global financial hub known for its business-friendly environment, understanding the intricacies of accounting, auditing, and tax filing is crucial. This article delves into these aspects, offering insights into what new companies should expect and prepare for after setting up their business in Hong Kong.

Initial Grace Period

One of the first points to note for newly established companies in Hong Kong is the initial period before the first tax return is due. Contrary to what many might assume, there is an 18-month period after the company's incorporation during which there are no immediate tax filing requirements. This period allows businesses to set up their operations without the immediate pressure of tax reporting. However, it's a critical time to get your financial affairs in order.

Importance of Proper Hong Kong Accounting

Effective accounting is the backbone of any successful company. From the outset, maintaining accurate and detailed financial records is non-negotiable. These records are essential not only for internal management and decision-making but also for regulatory compliance.

For new companies, establishing a robust accounting system should be a priority. This involves recording all financial transactions, monitoring assets and liabilities, and preparing financial statements. These practices ensure that when the time comes to file taxes or undergo an audit, the company is well-prepared. Looking for professional accounting firm in Hong Kong to handle your book keeping, accounting, tax and audit? Schedule a free consultation with our team!

Mandatory Audit Requirements in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, every limited company is required to have its accounts audited by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This is a mandatory requirement regardless of the size of the company. This differs from some other jurisdictions, like Singapore, where smaller companies might be exempt from such obligations.

The purpose of an audit is to provide an independent assessment of the financial statements, ensuring they are fair and accurate. This process not only helps in complying with legal requirements but also enhances the credibility of the business with banks, investors, and other stakeholders.

Choosing an Auditor

Selecting the right auditor is crucial. Businesses should look for auditors who not only have the necessary qualifications but also understand the specific needs of their industry. The relationship between a company and its auditor should be transparent and constructive to ensure any potential financial or compliance issues are identified and addressed promptly.

Tax Filing and Representation

After the initial 18-month period, companies will receive their first tax return form from the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). This is the point where businesses must declare their earnings and submit their audited accounts.

Given the complexities of tax laws, many businesses opt to hire a tax representative. These professionals can help ensure that the company complies with tax regulations, takes advantage of any applicable tax benefits, and accurately reports financial activity. They also serve as a liaison between the business and the IRD, which can be invaluable, especially for those unfamiliar with the local tax landscape.

Why 18 Months?

The rationale behind the 18-month period before the first tax filing is to provide flexibility in choosing a fiscal year. This flexibility allows businesses to align their financial reporting with their operational cycles, which can be particularly beneficial for seasonal businesses or those that need more time to establish their financial processes.


For businesses in Hong Kong, understanding and managing accounting, auditing, and tax filing from the start is crucial. These elements are not just regulatory requirements but are foundational to the sustainable growth and operational efficiency of the company. While the initial 18 months provide a buffer to set up these processes, companies must use this time wisely to ensure they are well-prepared for future financial scrutiny.

As we continue this series, we will delve deeper into the specifics of tax filing and managing the fiscal periods in Hong Kong, providing entrepreneurs with the knowledge needed to navigate these essential aspects of business management.

ATHENASIA Consulting - Hong Kong Accounting Service Free consultation


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page