As part of its business life, it is quite common that the share capital of your company will be reorganized at some point in time.
This may be the case when you sell your business or attract a new investor
In this guide, we address the main considerations for HK company share transfers.
There are several circumstances in which you may transfer or sell all or part of the shares of your Hong Kong company:
There are several key actions that you should take before transferring the shares of your company:
You will need to prepare the following documents and information for any transfer of shares of your Hong Kong company:
Share transfers of Hong Kong companies are subject to very limited administrative procedures.
From a legal standpoint, the sale or transfer of shares of a Hong Kong company becomes effective on the date of signing of the relevant share transfer documents (meaning on the date indicated on the share purchase agreement, the bought and sold notes, and instrument of transfer).
However, the name of the acquirer of the shares can only be entered in the Company’s Register of Members after a stamping procedure with the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department (this stamping procedure is further detailed below).
Please note that share transfers do not need to be immediately reported to the Hong Kong Companies Registry.
Information regarding share transfers affecting a Hong Kong company is only disclosed to the Companies Registry once a year upon the filing of the company’s annual return (NAR1 Form).
Any transfer of the shares of a company in Hong Kong is subject to payment of a stamp duty levied by the Inland Revenue of Hong Kong. This stamp duty is basically a tax on transfers and sales of company shares.
There are several key aspects that you should know about stamp duty:
Let’s look at a real-life example:
Clara owns all 100 shares of Gold Dragon Limited.
Clara sells all such 100 shares to Michelle for HK$ 1,000,000.
The nets assets value of Gold Dragon Limited is HK$ 800,000 (based on its audited accounts).
Then the stamp duty payable on the share transfer is HK$ 1,000,000 x 0.2% = HK$ 2,000.
Penalties for late stamping and payment of stamp duty are progressive.
The penalties start at twice and may reach up to ten times the amount of stamp duty normally due.
Legally speaking, the name of the buyer can only be entered in the company’s Register of Members (also known as Register of Shareholders) after the applicable stamp duty is paid.
In order to speed up the stamp duty process, we recommend that the purchase price for any transfer of the shares of your company be expressed in Hong Kong dollars.
If expressed in Hong Kong dollars, the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department will be able to assess and calculate the amount of stamp duty fee immediately on the same day.
On the contrary, if the purchase price is expressed in another currency then the Inland Revenue Department may take a few days to proceed with the currency conversion.
This will delay the completion of your shares transfer.
Upon completion of a share transfer, the buyer receives a share certificate.
The company has two (2) months to issue such share certificate.
Your company’s register of members must also be updated to include the name of the buyer within 2 months.
Finally, the Significant Controller Register of your company may also have to be updated.
We have extensive experience handling share transfers and stamping procedures.
Preparing the application documents only takes a couple of hours if you use the services of Air Corporate.
In order to avoid any delay, you should anticipate the preparation of your company’s audit report and the latest management accounts.
Air Corporate can of course assist you with this part. Sign up today and get a clear share structure.
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