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    Stamp duty in Singapore

    Stamp duty can be termed as a tax that is levied on documents about purchases of immovable property, shares, stocks, etc. In Singapore, stamp duty is collected by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). IRAS is also responsible for your income and property tax.

    Documents that are dutiable can be divided into two parts:

    • Lease/tenancy agreements for properties: These are documents that are used while renting a property. Stamp duty is applicable based on the current market rent or actual rent (whichever is greater).
    • Transferring documents for properties: In Singapore, there are 3 types of stamp duties that are applicable (while acquiring, sale, transferring, or disposal):
      • Buyer’s stamp duty (BSD)
      • Additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD)
      • Seller’s stamp duty (SSD)

    Stamp duty for purchase of a house is not generally covered under a home loan or property loan. But you can use your CPF savings to pay for it.

    Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD)

    When a property is purchased in Singapore, BSD or Buyer’s Stamp Duty is to be paid. Buyer’s Stamp Duty is computed using the purchase price or the current market value of the asset or property (whichever is higher). The market value of the property is usually assessed by a property evaluator.

    For instance, say you are planning to buy any property in Singapore from a property developer who is offering you a cash discount. If the cash benefit is mentioned in the contract document to be stamped, the discount amount offered will be subtracted from the buying price.

    If the dutiable document does not have any cash-related benefits (furniture vouchers, lucky draw, car), the purchase price remains the same. This means that the benefits included will not reduce the buying price of the asset or property.

    In cases where there is no cash or non-monetary benefits in the document (to be stamped), the value of the benefit cannot be subtracted from the buying price.

    BSD has to be paid within 14 days. You should comply with the following conditions:

    • Exercising the option to purchase (OTP) or
    • Signing the sales and purchase agreement when no OTP is involved or
    • The transfer date, if OTP and sales, purchase agreements are not available.

    Let us take a look at the table below for information on how BSD is calculated:

    As mentioned above, BSD is calculated on the market value of the property or considering the purchase price (whichever is greater).

    Current market value of the property or purchase price BSD rate calculation
    For the first S$180,000 1%
    For the next S$180,000 2%
    For the remaining amount 3%

    Acquiring property through an En-Bloc Purchase or Block Purchase

    When you are acquiring or purchasing several properties, stamp duty will be based on the total purchase price you would have paid for all these properties collectively. However, the following conditions have to be met:

    • A single contract is used for the purchase of several properties or
    • The conditions on these several property purchases are dependent on one another.

    Using stamp duty on a single contract (for several properties in Singapore)

    When there is one contract involved while purchasing many properties (followed by individual documents), the contract should be computed on the total purchase price and should be stamped at ad valorem duty.

    Using stamp duty on many documents

    You may have many documents that include purchasing agreements that are dependent on one another. In these scenarios, one of the documents need to be registered for stamping at ad valorem duty based on the total buying price of all the involving properties.

    Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD)

    Property buyers in Singapore are required to pay Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) apart from paying Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD). Calculation is done based on the property purchase price or the property’s current market value (whichever is greater).

    Factors that determine ABSD liability

    The profile of the buyer (at the date of purchase or acquisition of the residential property) is considered at the time of determining the ABSD liability:

    • Whether the purchaser is an entity or an individual.
    • The residency status of the purchaser.
    • The number of residential properties already owned by the buyer

    Refer to the table below for information on how the rates and computation are calculated for ABSD:

    Buyer’s profile Applicable BSD rates ABSD rates from 8 December 2011 to 11 January 2013 ABSD rates applicable from 12 January 2013
    Singapore citizens who are buying their first residential property
    • 1% is applicable on the first S$180,000
    • 2% is applicable on the next S$180,000
    • 3% is applicable on the remaining amount.
    NA Not applicable
    Singapore citizens who are purchasing their second residential property NA 7%
    Singapore citizen who is buying a third property 3% 10%
    Singapore Permanent Residents who are buying their first residential property NA 5%
    Singapore Permanent Residents buying their second residential property 3% 10%
    Foreigners who are buying any residential properties 10% 15%

    ABSD exemptions

    You can get ABSD exemptions or a refund under the following conditions:

    • If you are based in Singapore, married, and buying your first property, you can opt to have the ABSD refund even if your spouse is a Permanent Resident (PR) or a foreigner. For instance, a Singaporean husband who has a foreigner wife purchases their first home. In this case, 15% ABSD is applicable based on the status of the foreign wife. However, they can apply for revocation of ABSD.
    • The free trade agreement allows selected nationals and Permanent Residents from countries like USA, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein to enjoy the same privileges as Singaporeans at the time of purchasing a property. Please note that only U.S. nationals are given the same privileges as Singaporeans, this does not include Permanent Residents.
    • If you are buying your second home or property in Singapore, but selling your first one within 6 months, you can opt for ABSD exemption.
    • If you are purchasing a residential land for the development of 4 or less residential units, you can apply for ABSD exemption.

    Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) for residential property

    Seller’s Stamp Duty for all residential lands or properties can be paid if the purchases are made on or after 20 February 2010 and disposed within the holding period.

    The liability for SSD can be determined using the factors below. The SSD rate that is payable will depend on:

    • The type of property sold or disposed
    • The date of acquisition or purchase
    • The date of property sale or disposal

    SSD rate is calculated by applying the necessary SSD rate on the market price of the property or the selling price at the time of disposal (whichever is greater).

    Property purchase date Holding period SSD rate computed considering the actual property price or market value (whichever is higher)
    Between 20 February 2010 and 29 August 2010 (all inclusive) Up to 1 year 1% is charged on the first S$180,000 2% is charged on the next S$180,000 3% is charged on the remainder
    More than 1 year No SSD is applicable
    Between 30 August 2010 and 13 January 2011 (all inclusive) Up to 1 year 1% is charged on the first S$180,000 2% is charged on the subsequent S$180,000 3% is charged on the remainder
    More than 1 year and up to 2 years 0.67% is charged on the first S$180,000 1.33% is charged on the next S$180,000 2% is charged on the remainder
    More than 2 years and up to 3 years 0.33% is charged on the first S$180,000 0.67% is charged on the next S$180,000 1% is applicable on the remainder
    More than 3 years No SSD is applicable
    Between 14 January 2011 and 10 March 2017 (all inclusive) Up to 1 year 16%
    More than 1 year and up to 2 years 12%
    More than 2 years and up to 3 years 8%
    More than 3 years and up to 4 years 4%
    More than 4 years No SSD is applicable
    From 11 March 2017 onwards Up to 1 year 12%
    More than 1 year and up to 2 years 8%
    More than 2 years and up to 3 years 4%
    More than 3 years No SSD is applicable

    Note: In cases where stamp duties are related to several matters, stamp duty is applicable for each matter.

    List of non-dutiable documents

    • Assignment of intangible assets that include trademarks, patents, goodwill, etc.
    • Assignment of receivables/book debts
    • Declaration for changing from joint tenancy to common tenancy in equal shares
    • Charter-party
    • Declaration to hold as joint tenants
    • Deed of appointment of trustees
    • Nominal duty and fixed documents
    • Letters of appointment/Cancellation of Power of Attorney
    • Hire purchase agreement
    • Letters of indemnity/guarantee
    • Loan agreements not pertaining to shares and property
    • Service contracts that do not relate to granting of a lease
    • Promissory note
    • Statutory Declaration/Affidavit
    • Settlement not relating to shares and properties
    • Insurance documents
    • Will

    When do you need to stamp?

    Before signing a document, you will need to stamp it. If your document is signed and has been stamped within the time frame mentioned below, no penalties will be applicable.

    • You will need to stamp the document within a span of 14 days after you have signed it (in Singapore).
    • If you have received a document from overseas, you will need to stamp the document within a span of 30 days after you have received it in Singapore.

    Getting your document stamped

    Your dutiable documents can be stamped using the options mentioned below:

    • Through estamping.iras.gov.sg which is the e-Stamping website
    • e-Terminals that are situated inside the IRAS Surf Centre
    • Service bureaus (e.g. SingPost has 4 service bureaus)

    Stamp duty late payment or non-payment

    In cases where you do not comply with the conditions and the deadline, you can be penalised with a payment of up to 4 times the value of the document. Penalties imposed could be relating to documents that have been stamped on a later date or remain unstamped, or are insufficiently stamped. Any document wherein the stamp duty is due or unpaid is considered as an offence.

    FAQs on ABSD

    Q. What if I buy a residential property with someone who already has another home. How much ABSD am I required to pay?

    A. In a scenario where a property is jointly acquired, the profile with the highest ABSD rate will be applicable.

    Q. Am I eligible to purchase a property from a company or a trust?

    A. Yes, you can purchase a property from a company or a trust. The ABSD rate of a non-individual is applicable.

    Q. I purchased a property that was under construction and I am yet to receive my title deed. Do I have to pay ABSD if I purchase another residential property?

    A. A property is taken into consideration only when a contract or agreement of purchase is signed. Since the property you have purchased is not legally transferred in your name, paying ABSD will not be applicable.

    Q. I own half shares in two different properties. Will I be considered as owning 1 full property if I choose to buy another one?

    A.  The 2 different properties you own cannot be considered as owning 1 full property although you own half shares in each of them. They are considered as 2 different properties (regardless of whether you own a partial or a full share).

    Q. What if I own a property on behalf of someone else. Do I have to pay ABSD if I need to purchase another property?

    A. The property will be considered in the count of properties you own if it is held by a trust (if you are a beneficial owner).

    Q. If 2 properties are purchased together, do I have to pay ABSD?

    A. If you purchase more than 1 property under a single contract, each property you own will be considered separately. Also, the buyer can choose to subject the property to ABSD.

    Q. I received my property through a will that was passed down to me. Will my existing property be regarded as 1 property if I wish to buy another one?

    A. Any property that is acquired or transferred as a gift, settlement, release, declaration trust letter of authority and exchange will be considered as owning a property (in your name).

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