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Dividend Withholding Tax Status on Hong Kong Listed China Shares

We mentioned in past articles that international stocks are susceptible to a percentage of withholding tax, which will reduce your dividends. For a breakdown on different countries and their withholding tax reference, take a look at this article.

I was recently interested in some China shares listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.  Since they do distribute dividends, I am not sure if a 10% withholding tax will be levied.

However, I found this article here dated 18 July 2012 that seems to indicate the withholding tax since 2009 is only 5%:

China’s State Administration of Taxes (SAT) has announced a relaxation of the rules governing the withholding tax that foreign investors have to pay on dividends repatriated from their share of investments in Chinese companies.

Companies and shareholders based in countries outside Mainland China (such as the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore) that have double taxation agreements (DTAs) with China will only have to pay 5% in withholding tax on the dividends they receive from Chinese companies, instead of the usual 10% payable by companies and shareholders resident in countries without DTAs.

Although the reduced rate has actually been available since 2009, parent companies resident in countries with bilateral DTAs with China will now find it easier to qualify for the reduced rate under more relaxed criteria. Previously, for example, there was a stipulation that the direct parent company of the Chinese subsidiary should have a substantial active business in their country of residence, which was difficult to demonstrate when the parent was, in many cases, a holding company.

It was reported by SAT that the equivalent of nearly USD65bn in dividends was repatriated by foreign companies from China in 2011. It is hoped that, while the tax reduction could encourage companies to repatriate more dividends out of their current investments, the clarification could provide a tax incentive for more investments in the future.

I have not verified this myself, but has any readers investing in China ADR or HKSE China shares have validated this is true?


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Friday 5th of October 2012

I own HK shares and China stocks(H Shares) listed in HKSE. From my record HK shares 0% withholding while H shares withholding is 10%. My last dividend from H shares was in Sept 2012. Based on the latest info you've provided the withholding should be 5% though.


Sunday 7th of October 2012

hi Bobby, thanks for sharing. It seems that they say it is in effect since 2009. Your experience seems to not tally it.


Friday 28th of September 2012

Check Singapore/China DTA is it really only 5%, it must be available online. Check with your broker to make sure he deducts only the applicable tax. I personally don't hold any Chinese shares or live in Singapore but this is the way it works in general since you're not supposed to pay the tax twice. Note that this doesn't mean that you don't need to pay tax in Singapore on this income. Another interesting thing is that HK witholding seems to be 0%. Again, I personally haven't verified it but this is just my knowledge.


Saturday 29th of September 2012

hi zielaty,

thanks for sharing. I can only confirm this when i make the trade. I think HK 0% should be more confirm. I will update on the H Shares.

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