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FAQS About Registration of a Society

FAQS About Registration of a Society

FAQs About Registering a Society in Hong Kong

1. What organizations can register as a society?

Most organizations established in Hong Kong can register under the Societies Ordinance, with some exceptions.  This typically applies to informal groups or clubs, rather than businesses.  If your organization is already registered under another ordinance, like the Companies Ordinance, then you wouldn't need to register as a society.  If you're unsure, it's best to consult a legal professional for advice.

2. What are the benefits of registering as a society?

Registering as a society offers some advantages, such as:

  • Improved credibility and recognition

  • Ability to open a bank account in the society's name

  • Certain legal protections

3. What are the drawbacks of registering as a society?

There are also some things to consider:

  • Less formal structure compared to a company

  • Committee members may have some personal liability

  • More regulations and reporting requirements

4. How many person(s) does it apply to registration of societies or exemption from registration?

In Hong Kong, the number of people required to register a society isn't explicitly stated in the Societies Ordinance. However, the process typically involves having at least three office bearers (committee members) who act as the representatives of the society

There's no exemption from registration based on the number of people involved.  The focus is more on the purpose and structure of the organization.

5. How do I register a society?

Registration involves submitting an application form along with supporting documents to the Societies Office of the Hong Kong Police Force.  The process is generally free, but there may be fees for things like identity verification. You can find details and the application form on the Hong Kong Police Force website

6. What documents do I need to register a society?

Here are some of the documents typically required:

  • Completed application form

  • Copies of ID for office bearers (at least three)

  • Proof of the society's address (e.g., lease agreement)

  • Your society's constitution or governing documents

  • Consent letter for using the society's name (if applicable)

7. How long does it take to register a society?

The processing time can vary, but it generally takes a few weeks.

8. Do I need to inform the Societies Office of any changes?

Yes, if your society changes its name, objectives, office bearers, or principal place of business, you must inform the Societies Office within one month.

9. Are the registered societies / exempted societies required to file tax return?

Registered societies in Hong Kong don't necessarily need to file tax returns, but it depends on their activities. Here's the breakdown:

  • General Rule: The Societies Ordinance itself doesn't require societies to file tax returns.

  • Business Activities: However, under the Business Registration Ordinance, any society carrying on a business for profit or offering exclusive club facilities to members must register for a business registration certificate.  Societies with such a certificate are required to file tax returns according to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) regulations.

  • Tax Exemptions:  Societies that qualify as charitable institutions can apply for tax exemption under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (IRO). This exempts them from paying profits tax on income used for charitable purposes.  There are specific requirements for such exemptions, so it's recommended to consult the IRD's resources for details

In short, the need to file a tax return depends on whether the society conducts business activities or qualifies for tax exemption as a charity.

How Bestar can Help

FAQS About Registration of a Society

Bestar's area of expertise is in company registration and related business services, and services related to society registration in Hong Kong

Here's how Bestar is able to help with registering a society:

  • General Advice:  We are able to provide general advice on the process and requirements for registering a society in Hong Kong.

  • Related Services: We handle society registration. Our experience in business registration and legal matters is helpful. We assist with aspects like:

  • Reviewing your society's constitution to ensure it meets legal requirements.

  • Advising on business registration if your society has any commercial activities.

Contact Bestar to inquire about our offerings related to society registration.

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