Editor's Note June 2021

Hong Kong boasts one of the lowest, simplest, and most competitive tax systems in the world. Only three direct taxes are imposed and there are generous allowances and deductions which can reduce your taxable amount. In fact, in 2020, accounting firm PwC and the World Bank ranked Hong Kong as the city with the friendliest tax system.The Inland Revenue Department (IRD), which is the government department responsible for collecting taxes and duties, has a significant role to play in maintaining and enhancing the city’s tax system. Our Cover Story this month comes face-to-face with the Commissioner of the IRD in which he shares how the department has evolved so far, tackled challenges during the pandemic and what’s in store for the future.

Our first feature this month covers inheritance claims for financial provision by dependants of a deceased, specifically when there has been none, or little provision made for the dependant in the will. It considers relevant provisions of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Ordinance (Cap. 481) and case law to help legal professionals navigate this tricky situation. Our second feature is on animal welfare in Hong Kong, examining past and existing legal frameworks as well as commenting on how this area should develop. It notes Hong Kong’s need to not just prevent harm on animals but to more actively promote animal welfare and, the importance of the mental health of animals. Our final feature this month is on the topic of “remaining fee clauses” and their enforceability – something that is becoming increasingly relevant as the pandemic compels businesses to terminate contracts prematurely.

Moving on to our “Lawyers at Leisure” section, we spoke in detail with a lawyer who is an artist (of many types!) at heart about his journey so far as well as his hopes for Hong Kong’s art and cultural scene. Our “Practice Management” piece this month is a practical, easy-to-apply article, offering five ways through which law firms can build successful, long-term relationships with their clients.