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Taxation Without RepresentationThe History of Hong Kong's Troublingly Successful Tax System$
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Michael Littlewood

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789622090996

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622090996.001.0001

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The Governor Goes Native: 1947–1952

The Governor Goes Native: 1947–1952

(p.105) 4 The Governor Goes Native: 1947–1952
Taxation Without Representation

Michael Littlewood

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter discusses the factors which contributed to the failure of the restructuring of the colonial tax system in Hong Kong. First, the yield of the Inland Revenue Ordinance 1947 was greater than the government had expected and speedily paid off its alleged debt to Britain and went on to accumulate enormous reserves. Secondly, the British government did not insist on the establishment of a normal income tax. Thirdly, Hong Kong's business interests continued to oppose reform and the Chinese business community remained unrelentingly hostile to anything resembling a normal income tax. Lastly, Sir Alexander Grantham, who succeeded Sir Mark Young as Governor in 1947 and served until 1957, also opposed reform and made no attempt to carry out London's instructions. This may be due to the well-known phenomenon of colonial Governors “going native”, and identifying with “their” colonies' interests rather than Britain's.

Keywords:   tax system, Inland Revenue Ordinance, British government, normal income tax, Chinese business community, Alexander Grantham, Mark Young

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