Deloitte estimates HK$125b deficit for Hong Kong in 2022/23

Global accounting firm Deloitte called on the SAR government to distribute another HK$5,000 consumption voucher as it expected Hong Kong to record a deficit of HK$125 billion this fiscal year because of decreased income from land sales, stamp duty, and other taxes.

Deloitte said on Tuesday that the income from land sales decreased by HK$45 billion, and revenue from stamp duty declined by HK$11.2 billion.

Revenue in profits tax and salaries tax dropped by HK$43.2 billion as well, Deloitte noted, estimating the city's fiscal reserve to be around HK$831.4 billion by the end of March.

Yet, Deloitte set eyes on a surplus of HK$52.3 billion in the 2023/24 fiscal year.

Polly Wan, Tax Partner of Deloitte China, explained that the government is set to spend much less on Covid-19 with the border fully reopened and pandemic development stabilized.

“There will be more land sites available for sale next fiscal year,” Wan said, as she noted that the government has postponed the schedule of land sales compared with the same period in previous years.

As for another round of the consumption voucher scheme, Wan continued that citizens' spending may sometimes be greater than HK$5,000 and added the most important thing in the post-pandemic era is to revive the economy. Still, she agreed that the government needs to “keep an eye on its wallet.”

Deloitte also suggested offering first-time home buyers a one-off stamp duty discount, capped at HK$200,000.

Wan said the move may not reduce the government's income and hoped it would attract more people to buy property and stimulate the economy.

The third suggestion is to raise the ceiling of deductions for home loan interest by HK$50,000 to HK$150,000 for 20 tax years.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po will deliver the 2023/24 Budget for Hong Kong on February 22, 2023.