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A Step-by-Step Guide to Running Payroll in Hong Kong 

Hong Kong is among the most appealing locations for companies looking to expand operations because it provides a comprehensive payroll structure for both employers and employees. In Hong Kong, payroll is a system that enables employers to manage their employees’ salaries or wages effortlessly. 

A software programme or an internet-based service provider can be used for this. It is easier to comply with tax requirements when you have a payroll system in place. It also improves HR efficiency and control, streamlines reporting and documentation, increases confidentiality and reduces legal risk. Business owners in Hong Kong can relax knowing their finances are secure and well-managed, with more control over staff records and information.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Running Payroll in Hong Kong

Payroll in Hong Kong 

Let’s have an in-depth understanding of all the factors regarding Payroll in Hong Kong. Starting with essential payroll regulations and laws.

Overview of crucial payroll regulations in Hong Kong

There are a few local regulations that must be followed and accurately recorded. So, it’s critical to know the advice provided below to manage them successfully. First, ensure you always have a copy of each employee’s identity as well as their most recent contact information, including their addresses and phone numbers. 

Second, keep precise records of employee attendance and hours worked, as this will aid in paying employees correctly. Finally, whenever you make significant changes to your payroll procedures, seek advice from an accountant or other financial expert.

Why is it essential to have accurate and efficient payroll processing?

The accuracy of employee payments is ensured through payroll management, which is crucial. Effective payroll administration ensures that employees are paid accurately and on time, which can significantly increase their sense of pleasure and loyalty.

The payroll administration procedure is required because it assures legal compliance, which is another reason. Businesses can benefit from payroll management by automating and streamlining their payroll procedures, which saves time and effort compared to managing payroll manually. Businesses may plan their finances and create budgets with the aid of a strong payroll management system. Businesses can more clearly comprehend their financial commitments and plan future spending by keeping precise employee pay and benefits records. This can assist companies in preventing cash flow problems and ensuring they have enough money to pay their employees on time.

Running payroll in Hong Kong

Below are the answers to all the queries regarding running a payroll in Hong Kong. Various aspects need to be addressed, such as in-house project management benefits and some drawbacks. Let’s have a look at how you can set up a payroll.

Setting up Payroll in Hong Kong 

You must first ensure that you are maintaining correct records of your employees’ salaries, including their regular pay and, if applicable, the following:

  • Commission payment 
  • Allowance payment 
  • Bonus payments
  • Overtime payment

Also, you will need to make contributions on behalf of the employee for their Required Provident Fund (MPF) payment by deducting a specific amount from their pay.

It should be noted that providing social security benefits to employees is a requirement for all enterprises in Hong Kong. Employee Compensation Insurance is one of these perks (ECI). While offering health insurance to employees is not required, many firms do so as a benefit to attract and keep talent.

Discussion of the pros and cons of different approaches

By outsourcing, we mean using outside help to carry out activities or projects. They can be freelancers or businesses focusing on carrying out a specific activity or task. On the other hand, in-house resources are your current employees, such as you. When you manage it internally, you designate one or more team members to work on a job or project.

In-house project management benefits and drawbacks: 

Some advantages: Learning new skills pay off and your workforce is invested and flexible. But it also has higher ongoing costs.

A project may be less expensive to outsource than to manage internally. You can obtain the resources you require more quickly by outsourcing work to another company. But at the same time, When you outsource your project to another organization, it could be more difficult to monitor its development. Once you outsource a project, you’ll have less control over it.


Employment-related income is taxed at progressive rates that range from 2% to 17%. However, you must pay the lesser sum of tax if your net chargeable income is greater than the tax levied at the standard rate on your total net income, which is assessable income after deductions but before allowances.

All forms of compensation given to an employee by their employer are considered to be part of their taxable employment income. These include salaries and wages, commissions, gratuities, bonuses, leave pay, and allowances, though there are some exceptions that apply to specific employer-provided benefits. 

Fringe benefits and housing allowances are subject to special regulations, and employees are typically exempt from income tax on MPF donations made on their behalf by their employer. Up to HKD 18,000 per year, employee donations to the MPF plan are also exempt from income tax. 

Some deductions might lessen the tax burden for the employee. The latter include (to a certain extent) costs related to employment, charitable contributions, costs related to education, eligible contributions to the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS), and mortgage interest payments. Many personal allowances are also offered, including ones for dependent family members like children.

There are no set standards for determining residency. Instead, according to the Inland Revenue Ordinance, a person is to be regarded as a resident of Hong Kong if they regularly dwell there with only brief absences. No matter if the employee is viewed as a resident or not, they are required to pay income tax on employment income derived in Hong Kong. Generally speaking, this obligation also applies to workers under a foreign employment contract who perform services in Hong Kong.

Foreigners temporarily residing in Hong Kong for employment are subject to a 60-day regulation, nevertheless. If the latter spend no more than 60 days in Hong Kong during a tax year, they are exempt from paying local income tax on their employment income. On the other hand, if they remain in Hong Kong for longer than 60 days, they might have to pay local income tax.

Mandatory Provident Fund Contributions

MPF has various factors, and all of them must be understood to satisfy minimum diversification criteria. Here is everything about the Mandatory Provident Fund in a nutshell. 

MPF system in Hong Kong 

MPF stands for Mandatory Provident Fund. The MPF in Hong Kong offers a variety of personal, employer-sponsored, and corporate retirement savings plans to help residents and citizens save for their golden years. If you work in Hong Kong, you and your employer will likely both contribute to an MPF plan. You can also decide to make voluntary contributions to boost your nest egg.

Different types of MPF schemes and contribution rates

Master Trust Schemes are the most popular MPF plans. It can be started by employers, staff members, independent contractors, and those looking to create a voluntary or personal contribution account.

Depending on the type of employment a person has, there are also industry-sponsored schemes and employer-sponsored programs available. While industry plans are generally in place for casual workers in the catering and construction industries, employer-sponsored MPF programs are solely open to employees of a specific company.

The MPFA website provides a wealth of information about MPF plans, fund kinds, and features. Several valuable tools are also available, such as a retirement planning calculator, to help you see how your MPF programme can benefit you in the future.

The employer deposits required MPF Hong Kong employer contributions right into the MPF account of the employee. Also withheld from salary checks is the employee contribution, according to the minimum and maximum income limits.

Employers are required to use their own money to make required contributions for their workers. Additionally, they must take the employee’s contributions out of each contribution period’s pertinent revenue. (generally the wage period).

The present minimum and maximum relevant income levels for employees who are paid monthly are $7,100 and $30,000, respectively.

Payroll administration best practices

Payroll administration is critical for any business and must be done correctly to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations. To stay on top of payroll administration as a Hong Kong business owner, you must stay up to date on the latest best practices.

Keeping proper and up-to-date records is the best payroll administration practice. Employee earnings, benefits, and deductions should be included in these records. Taxes and social security contributions, on the other hand. Keeping these records in a centralized system allows you to easily access the required information while ensuring that your documents are accurate and recent.

Another best practice is to ensure that your payroll reports are accurate and timely. This includes, furnishing precise details to the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department (IRD) monthly or quarterly. Likewise, provide accurate data to your employees on their payslips. Timeliness is also crucial, as any delays in payroll reporting can result in fines and penalties.

Discussion of common mistakes and how to avoid them 

One common mistake businesses make in payroll administration is failing to keep accurate records. It can lead to errors in payroll processing and compliance issues with the IRD. To avoid this, it is crucial to maintain correct records of all employee payments, deductions, and contributions.

Another common mistake is failing to keep up with changes in Hong Kong payroll regulations. Hong Kong’s tax and social security laws are complex and subject to change regularly. It is essential to stay current with these changes and ensure that your payroll processes comply with the latest regulations.

How can technology streamline the payroll process?

Technology can be an excellent tool for streamlining the payroll process. Various software solutions are available that can automate many aspects of payroll administration, from calculating taxes and social security contributions to generating payslips and reports. Using technology can save time and reduce the risk of errors in your payroll processing.

Why is outsourcing Hong Kong payroll a good idea?

Payroll outsourcing in Hong Kong is recommended, among other things, because you can use the services of a professional. Having specialists on board will ensure that the complicated process is completed relatively quickly and accurately rather than attempting to manage it alone.

How Startupr help, and what payroll services do we offer?

Working with an expert corporate services provider like us to handle your company’s payroll management in Hong Kong is advised because there are so many factors to take into account (as described above). It will not only expedite the procedure but also guarantee accurate and prompt information transmission to the authorities, ensuring that your business continues to comply with all legislative requirements.

Partner with Startupr to run a hassle-free payroll in HK 

Payroll administration is critical for Hong Kong-based enterprises but may be time-consuming and complex. Working with a reputable payroll service provider, such as Startupr, will assist you in streamlining your payroll operations and ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations. 

Startupr provides payroll services such as record keeping, reporting, and tax filing to help you run a smooth payroll for your business in Hong Kong. Outsourcing your payroll to Startupr means you can focus on expanding your business while leaving payroll administration to professionals. You should know that your payroll operations are accurate, compliant, and efficient using Startupr’s payroll services. Contact Us Today!