Calling Witness on Tax Appeal

In tax appeal, the Board of Review will listen, analyse and assess the evidence and the grounds submitted by the applicant and the IRD. The burden on calling witnesses to testify is on the applicant. The common law trial proceedings practised in Hong Kong was an adversarial system and not inquisitorial system. The parties of the hearing should submit the evidence and the grounds favourable to them for the Board to decide. The initiative to submit legal grounds or to call witness was on the parties of the hearing. Though the Board has the power to summon witness to give evidence, under normal circumstances it will only act as a role of a just middleman and would not actively summon any witness or investigate the case.

Section 68(4) of the IRO provides the onus of proving that the assessment appealed against is excessive or incorrect shall be on the appellant. In the Board of Review D56/05 case, 2 November 2005, it was held that there was no legal basis to argue that the Board has not called an witness which might give evidence to support the applicant’s case on appeal.


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