How to Withdraw Your MPF and Tax When You Leave Hong Kong (as a Foreigner)

8 minute read


Every time a Hong Kong employee receives a paycheck, the employer will deducts a portion of the money and puts it into the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF).


The fund is later used for when the employee ages and eventually retires from their career. The money is usually distributed on a monthly basis and is used for medical bills, housing bills and other living essentials.


However, what if a person spends some time in Hong Kong and then wants to move somewhere else? What happens with all the money left in their MPF account? Can it be withdrawn?


If you are looking to find out, keep reading. Below you will see all the important and accurate information regarding this issue.


 

Can I withdraw my MPF?

In short, it is possible to withdraw the accrued benefits in a lump sum or by instalments. However, this usually happens once a person reaches the age of 65. Only in some cases, MPF withdrawal is possible before reaching the required retirement age:


  1. Early retirement (60 years of age).
  2. Permanent departure from the region (declaring taxes).
  3. Complete incapacity — if a person becomes permanently unfit to perform the work they used to do, all benefits can be withdrawn.
  4. Small balance — if an individual has a balance of no more than HK$5,000, they can declare that they have no intention of working and take back all the money from their MPF account.
  5. Death.

Some of these options will be explored in detail later in the article.

 

When can I get my MPF back?

All employees start receiving their accrued benefits once they have retired. In Hong Kong, the retirement age is set at 65. However, it is also possible to go into early retirement at 60 years old.


Individuals can get their MPF money back should they decide to permanently leave Hong Kong and declare as foreigners.

 

Early withdrawal

As it was briefly mentioned above, it is possible to go into early retirement and start receiving a pension as early as 60. To be precise, once a person reaches 60 years of age and stops working, they become eligible.


Of course, no type of employment is possible once a person retires and starts receiving MPF checks. There can be no intention of becoming employed or self-employed again.


The sum can be withdrawn by installments or as a one lump amount. People usually pick installments since it is easier to control spendings when the whole sum isn’t available immediately.


If you plan on leaving Hong Kong for good, you can declare taxes once it is time to depart.


As an individual, it is necessary to declare that you have departed or will depart from Hong Kong to live somewhere else with no intention of coming back again and getting a job or resettling in Hong Kong as a permanent resident.


It is also necessary to provide proof that would indicate to the trustee that you are permitted to reside in a place outside of Hong Kong.

 

Permanent departure proceedings

A person is obliged to do the following no later than 1 month before the date of departure:

  1. Notify the Department of the intended date of departure. It is possible to do so via phone call, email or fax.
  2. Submit tax returns. The Department issues a return to you upon receiving your notification.
  3. Call in person. It is possible to bring along the IR56G from your employer, payroll slips, and supporting documents for all deductions in order to expedite tax clearance.
 

On the other hand, an employer needs to do the following before the departure:

  1. Obtain the file IR56G and provide a copy of it to the employee.
  2. Remind the employee of the requirement for tax clearance.
  3. Withhold all payments to the employee for a period of one month from the date on which the IR56G was given, or until the Letter of Release is issued by the Department.

 

How do I withdraw my MPF from HSBC?

According to MPF legislation, you can withdraw your accrued benefits derived from mandatory contributions when you meet the requirements previously listed in the article.


HSBC offers partial withdrawals. In other words, you can make partial withdrawals from the following accrued benefits of a minimum of HK$5,000 per withdrawal before your retirement.


It is possible to do this free of charge, up to 12 times in a scheme’s financial period from 1 July to 30 June the following year.


Additional voluntary contributions and Flexi-Contributions are designed to help you plan for retirement and should not be regarded as a source of funds for meeting short-term financial needs.


HSBC encourages you to consider your long-term financial needs for retirement before withdrawing funds from your additional voluntary contributions and Flexi-Contributions.

 

What about your business?

If you have a business in Hong Kong, it is important to consider the compliance status of the business – especially if you are leaving soon.

Here are two options you could consider:

  • Striking off – where the company refers to the dissolution of a business to sell off stock or property, pay off creditors and distribute any remaining assets to partners or shareholders.
  • Going dormant – when a company has no significant accounting transactions throughout a given time-frame, meaning that there are no entries in its accounting records.

To find out more about the striking off or going dormant process, we go more into detail in another article here and here!

 

Wrap-up

This guide leads you through each process regarding the MPF withdrawal. As you can see, the whole procedure is not too complicated.


However, it is important to remain compliant. Be careful not to ignore any of the outlined rules regarding the process and you will be able to enjoy all your saved funds.


Ready to start your business? Talk to our sales team.

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