Leaving Hong Kong Checklist – The Most Important 15 Items to Consider

by | Dec 2, 2021 | 0 comments

You’re leaving Hong Kong? From figuring out what to do with all of your furniture and electronics to trying to recall which insurance policies you need to cancel; there’s a lot to think about before you make the big move out of Hong Kong.

We’re here to help you prepare for this transition, we aim to save your sanity by helping you to focus on the more important aspects of moving countries. 

Things to do before leaving Hong Kong

We have created a leaving Hong Kong checklist. It is a jam-packed list of all the things you need to consider before leaving Hong Kong.

Of course, everyone’s life will be different, and your departure from Hong Kong will look different from the next person’s, but there are plenty of commonalities. Here is a leaving Hong Kong checklist containing items that most people will have to consider doing. Use this list to help you develop your own personalized checklist.

1. Finish up your Hong Kong taxes when leaving Hong Kong

If you're leaving Hong Kong, you don't want to be held up at the gates because of unpaid taxes. Sort out all your paper, including taxes, before you leave. Check out our leaving Hong Kong checklist for other important items not to forget.

When it comes to taxes, here’s everything you need to think about before you go: 

  • Contact the IRD one month before you leave if you pay tax on your salary.
  • Let the IRD know about any property sale and file a tax return for any rental income you make.
  • File a tax return for any businesses you’re winding up when you leave Hong Kong.

In terms of your employers, your HR department should know exactly what to do. 

If you’re an employee

Briefly, this is what you can expect if you’re an employee:

  1. Your employer will withhold your salary and any other payments after the IRD has been informed through an IR56G form.
  2. Once your employer has issued the IR56G form, you will need to go to the tax office and complete your final tax return. If you pay in cash, you can expect to receive your release letter later on the same day. However, if you pay via an alternate method (e.g., bank transfer), it will likely take a few days for the tax office to confirm payment and provide you with the release letter. Note that since you pay provisional tax for the next year, it’s possible that you will get a tax refund. Whatever, the case, obtaining the release letter is critical.
  3. After taxes have been settled, the IRD will issue a release letter (you can pick it up at the tax office in a sealed envelopment and hand-deliver to your employer), and your boss can release your final payments.
  4. If taxes aren’t settled, the IRD will issue an IR113 to the employer to pay all the withheld money to them.
  5. Your former employer should keep the documents about your employment, such as your letter of employment, resignation letter, visa details, and other details if the IRD wants to perform a check.

If you’re self-employed

If you’re self-employed in Hong Kong, still make sure you tell Inland Revenue. To get the full details of everything you need to cover tax-wise before you head off, here’s the website for the Inland Revenue Department (IRD).

2. How to get MPF when leaving Hong Kong

What happens to your MPF when you’re leaving Hong Kong? If you have no plans to come back to Hong Kong, you can withdraw the money you’ve built up whilst living here. 

First, head to the Public Enquiry Service Centre to confirm you’re leaving the city.  You’ll need to fill in forms to claim back your mandatory provident fund (MPF).

Once you’re at the Public Enquiry Service Centre, they will give you the necessary documents. So, fill these papers in to be sent off to your MPF provider.

Next, you need actually to get your cash from your pension fund.

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Getting MPF back from the fund provider

You will need to provide the following to your fund provider:  

  • A copy of your HKID
  • Proof you’re leaving the country.
  • A copy of your passport
  • A forwarding address

You can expect to see your money land into your bank about one month after you leave.  

You should note, you only get to withdraw your MPF once; if you get posted back to Hong Kong or take a different job in Hong Kong at any other point, you’ll have to wait until you retire to withdraw any further money. 

3. Hand back your HK ID card

If you are planning to leave Hong Kong, you will need to inform the Registration of Persons Office. You might be required to hand back your Hong Kong ID card before departing Hong Kong.

4. Give notice on your apartment lease or sell your property

If you’re renting, check over your contract and understand the terms you agreed to. You’ll have a notice period to give to your landlord, possibly cleaning obligations, and you will need to agree to the return of your deposit. 

If you own your apartment, contact an estate agent as soon as possible to start the ball rolling to sell up. You can also consider renting out your apartment when you leave. 

5. Part ways with your helper

Be compassionate and be sure to understand the rules on this one. Pay your helper her long service leave and try to help her find a new job. Making posts on social media recommending your helper will go a long way to her finding a new job.

Also, let immigration know about your relocation date in a letter; this will mean your helper’s termination will be noted down as due to relocation and it won’t be considered a break of contract. 

6. Sell your second-hand car in Hong Kong

Start trying to sell your car at least 6 months before you leave if possible. Check out our blog dedicated to this topic; sell your second-hand car in Hong Kong

7. Get rid of furniture and other unwanted items

It can be hard to sell unwanted second-hand furniture in Hong Kong however, you also have the option to donate items to charity or give your items away.  

It’s important not to put perfectly good items in landfills, so take the time to sort all your items. 

You can either:
– Sell your stuff
– Give it away to friends
– Donate it to charity

For lists of places that will take or even buy your old furniture, we pulled all the information that you’d need together in this one handy article.  

8. Organize a moving company 

Moving companies like to know they’ve got work coming in. If you approach them ahead of time, you should be able to get a better price for your move when you’re leaving Hong Kong.

Check out our full guide to moving companies and what you can expect.

9. Cancel your insurance policies and get a refund where possible

Some insurance policies will provide you with a refund upon cancellation. In any case, create a list of all the insurance policies you have accumulated and decide which policies you need to cancel and which to continue. 

10. Disconnect your utilities such as water, gas, electricity, internet

Remember when you were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed when you first landed in Hong Kong? Back in those heady days, you paid pretty sizeable deposits for your utilities like electricity, water, gas, and the internet. 

Get in touch with your suppliers, tell them you’re leaving, and organize to settle things up. It’s generally a simple process, and you can plan these weeks or even months before leaving Hong Kong.  The first step here is to write up a complete list of companies that provide you with regular services. 

11. Organize post redirection

Head over to your nearest post office and use the mail redirection service provided by Honk Kong post.  

12. Close bank accounts if necessary

Determine if you need to close any bank accounts or if you will be to access your bank accounts from abroad.

13. Cancel gym memberships before leaving Hong Kong permanently 

Try to cancel the balance of your membership, or perhaps you need to consider transferring the membership to someone else?

14. Schools

If you have kids in school in Hong Kong, you’ll need to let the schools know. Tell them as early as possible to minimize your outstanding payments. 

15. Bucket list

If you have time, go back and do all the things that you love doing one more time. Better yet, try to tick a few more item off your Hong Kong bucket list

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We’ve got a whole article covering what places and activities belong on your bucket list, here’s a taster:

  • The Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha – on one of the largest islands in the city and home to the world’s largest sitting Buddha statue, the beautiful view of the city is a sight to behold, and there are some great hikes.
  • The tram to Victoria Peak – surely you’ve done this already? Well, go again because it’s a great view and no two days are the same. Your Insta will love you for it.
  • A hike in Kam Shan County Park – filled with wild macaques and other wildlife.
  • Wan Chai District – Soak in the culture one last time, with old buildings and boutique stores. 

Leaving Hong Kong Checklist – FAQs

My employer is proposing unpaid leave, is this right?

You probably can’t be forced to take unpaid leave so it may be a breach of your contract. Check your contract thoroughly, and if there’s a lot of money at stake, you can consider seeking legal advice. 

Is leaving Hong Kong without paying taxes a possibility?

Paying taxes associated with salary isn’t negotiable with the government. Don’t try and get away without paying your dues. 

The IRD may flag your passport, so you get all kinds of problems when you try to fly out. There are fines to pay, plus you’ll still owe taxes.

Where can I buy Hong Kong gifts before I leave Hong Kong?

We have an entire article dedicated to our favorite stores for buying Hong Kong themed-presents. Perhaps you can even consider buying an item or two for people that have helped you during your time in Hong Kong?

 

Finally

It ain’t ever easy saying goodbye, but with a concise leaving Hong Kong checklist, hopefully, you’re feeling a little better. 

Having supported countless friends through their departure from Hong Kong, we’ve created the best leaving Hong Kong checklist. All of our knowledge and experience has been put into this leaving Hong Kong checklist. Hopefully, now your move will be much easier, and hopefully, you’ve got some processes in place.

If you’re looking for a complete guide on leaving Hong Kong, check out the Conclusive Guide to Leaving Hong Kong. This handy guide covers a variety of topics including the best moving companies in Hong Kong, how to dispose of furniture, and how to sell second-hand cars.

If you think we’ve missed out on any topics on leaving Hong Kong checklist, or you have any questions, please reach out to SavvyinHK or drop us a message in the comments section below. 

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