Hi Geo Expats... long time reader first time poster.

Was reading on the guidelines to renew QMAS and came across this definition:

77. If a person admitted through the General Points Test under the Scheme has been permitted to remain in Hong Kong for not less than two years and he/she has an assessable income for salaries tax of not less than HK$2 million in the previous year of assessment, an extension of stay on time limitation only without other conditions of stay for a period of six years may normally be granted.
Based on a gov hk webiste, assessable income is the top line income before deductions and allowances, but the interpretation of the ImmD might be different.
​Your net chargeable income, i.e. assessable income after deductions and allowances, is charged at progressive rates.
According to a (somewhat dated) note form PWC, the interpretation might be as follows:
It is our understanding that the practical interpretation of “assessable income” from an immigration perspective may be referred to the net income of an individual after taking into account of any income exemption claims. For example, if an applicant has made a time-apportionment claim in his/her Hong Kong individual tax return under which his/her “assessable income” is reduced below HK$2 million, he/she may not qualify for the top-tier stream.
There seems to be many potential interpretations (summarized below). Maybe the question is more nuanced and should be on the tax forum, but appreciate any views on what the right definition might be.

  • Strict: assessable income = salary - exemptions (time away from HK, etc.) - deductions (MPF, etc.) - allowances (basic, married, etc.)
  • Middle (PWC): assessable income = salary - exemptions
  • Loose: assessable income = salary