Obtaining a Certificate of Resident Status in Hong Kong is essential for individuals who want to leverage tax benefits available through Double Taxation Agreements.

In this article, we will delve into the key aspects of this certificate, such as its advantages and the process of obtaining it, to assist those looking to run their businesses in this jurisdiction.

What is a Certificate of Resident Status in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, the Certificate of Resident Status (CoR), also known as a tax residency certificate, is a document issued by the Inland Revenue Department.

It serves as an official confirmation of an individual or company’s tax residency status in Hong Kong, enabling them to access benefits outlined in Double Taxation Agreements.

 Is the Certificate of Resident Status the same as Permanent Residency?

Is the Certificate of Resident Status the same as Permanent Residency?

While their names may seem similar, these two documents serve distinct purposes and should not be confused.

The CoR is related to tax affairs and is issued by the Inland Revenue Department. It does not grant the privilege of permanent residence or the right to work indefinitely in Hong Kong.

On the other hand, Permanent Residency, or the Permanent Identity Card, gives individuals the freedom to live and work in Hong Kong without any limitations. This status is granted by the Immigration Department through a separate application process unrelated to tax matters.

Advantages of the Certificate of Resident Status

There are three advantages to obtaining a CoR to conduct business, because of its significant impact on your company’s tax status:

Global business opportunities

The CoR is a recognized proof of residence in Hong Kong, allowing individuals and entities to participate in global business activities and transactions with greater ease. It establishes credibility and trustworthiness when engaging in international trade and partnerships.

This certificate also proves instrumental in streamlining various transactions and interactions, both locally and internationally.

Various taxation incentives

Individuals or companies holding a Certificate of Residency (CoR) may enjoy tax incentives through the government’s Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) with various countries. These incentives may include: withholding tax relief, elimination of double taxation, tax credits, reduced tax rates on certain types of income, and so on.

Keep in mind that each DTA provision applies specific requirements and criteria regarding the grant of relief from foreign taxes. Having a CoR doesn’t guarantee your automatic success in claiming benefits under the relevant DTA.

Enhanced assurance for external parties

Beyond tax benefits, a CoR helps strengthen a company’s credibility, especially in dealings with external stakeholders like financial institutions, clients, partners, and so forth.

For instance, when you’re opening a bank account, many institutions ask for this document as part of their checks. With the CoR, the applicant’s financial stability and tangible proof of their tax residency are demonstrated, boosting the financial entity’s confidence during due diligence.

The eligibility criteria to apply for the CoR

To qualify for the Hong Kong CoR, the applicant must have ordinary residence within the territory. This involves meeting certain criteria such as a substantial duration of stay, having personal and economic ties to Hong Kong, and expressing a clear intention to reside legally in the region.

In broad terms, individuals and entities listed below are eligible to apply for a Certificate of Resident Status:

For Individuals

Those who ordinarily reside in Hong Kong; or

  • Individuals staying in Hong Kong for more than 180 days during a specific year of assessment; or
  • Individuals staying in Hong Kong for over 300 days in two consecutive years of assessment, with one of them being the relevant year of assessment.

For Companies/ Partnerships/ Trusts/ Bodies of Persons

  • Entities that are legally formed or established in Hong Kong; or
  • Entities formed or established outside Hong Kong but managed or controlled from within Hong Kong.

Be sure to carefully review the criteria outlined on the Inland Revenue Department’s website to ascertain if you meet the requirements.

The process of obtaining your Certificate of Residency Status

Let’s break down the key steps and considerations when applying for your tax residency certificate:

Step 1: Prepare the essential documents

Which elements are typically required when applying for the CoR? These may encompass proof of ordinary residence, employment details, and any other paperwork specified by the relevant tax authorities. For instance:

For Individuals

  • Personal identification such as your Hong Kong ID or your passport copy;
  • Address verification such as utility bills or rental agreements;
  • Proof of employment or business operations in Hong Kong during the claim period;
  • How much income is generated from the treaty party and the nature of the income; and
  • Other required information in the application form.

For Companies/ Partnerships/ Trusts/ Bodies of Persons

  • Details about your entity, including its name, registered address, and business registration number;
  • Description of your business nature
  • Information about the location of incorporation
  • Details about the nationality, residential address, and key responsibilities of the company officers;
  • Information about the income generated from the treaty party and the nature of that income; and
  • Other required information in the application form.

It’s important to be aware that tax authorities may specify additional materials necessary for the certificate of residency application. These could vary based on your specific individual circumstances.

Step 2: Fill out and submit the application

Having completed the supporting documents and confirming your eligibility, it’s time to put together your application. You can find the form required by the Inland Revenue Department right below:

For Individuals

  • If the DTA partner is the Mainland of China: Form IR1314A (06/2023)
  • For all other jurisdictions: Form IR1314B (06/2023)

For Companies/ Partnerships/ Trusts/ Bodies of Persons

  • If the DTA partner is the Mainland of China: Form IR1313A (06/2023)
  • For all other jurisdictions: Form IR1313B (06/2023)

It’s essential to make sure that you fill out the form with accurate and up-to-date information before submission. Following this, the next step involves sending your application to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) and awaiting their response.

Step 3: Wait for approval

In most cases, within 21 working days after receiving a qualified application, the IRD will issue to you either:

  • The Certificate of Resident Status, or
  • Notification of further details required; or
  • A notice informing that the application cannot be accepted.

Step 4: Receive your CoR

After successful verification, the IRD will proceed to issue your CoR.

The certificate will most likely be sent to you by post. However, if you prefer to collect it in person, you must include a written request when submitting the relevant form along with the necessary documents.

With the acquisition of the CoR, you are now well-positioned to benefit from tax treaties offered by the jurisdiction. Note that any changes to your business during the assessment year must be reported to the Inland Revenue Department.

How do you renew or update information on your tax residency?

How do you renew or update information on your tax residency?

Generally, the CoR remains valid for only one year. Hence, to uphold your status, you must undergo the renewal process before the expiration date. As with the initial application, the renewal process involves submitting a form and crucial documents.

Your tax residency status can be reverted if you fail to renew the certificate, which could result in increased tax liabilities, so make sure to stay ahead of the deadlines.


The Hong Kong Certificate of Resident Status offers significant advantages for individuals and entities engaged in business activities within the jurisdiction. Serving as an official confirmation of Hong Kong tax residency, this document grants businesses access to a variety of benefits and exemptions outlined in double taxation agreements.

Hence, if you plan to establish a business in Hong Kong or engage in activities related to this jurisdiction, it is advisable to apply for your own CoR as soon as possible to leverage the tax incentives.

For further information on conducting business in Hong Kong, feel free to reach out to us via service@bbcincorp.com and receive dedicated support.

Disclaimer: While BBCIncorp strives to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, the information itself is for reference purposes only. You should not substitute the information provided in this article for competent legal advice. Feel free to contact BBCIncorp’s customer services for advice on your specific cases.

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