Tax concessions given to foreign nationals or entities through free trade agreements (FTAs)

23 September 2013

The US-Singapore FTA (USSFTA) and the Singapore-European Free Trade Association FTA (ESFTA) are the only two FTAs where Singapore is obliged to accord Nationals of the United States of America, and the Nationals and Permanent Residents of Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, similar treatment in respect of taxes (including stamp duties) as Singaporeans. Otherwise, foreign entities do not enjoy Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) remission in the purchase of residential properties in Singapore.

The above is based on the reply by the Ministry of Finance on 16 September 2013 to parliamentary questions from Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Gerald Giam Yean Song.

Source: Ministry of Finance

Property agent jailed for falsifying stamp certificate

10 September 2013

Property agent Tang Yong Yeow Daniar was jailed for six weeks after pleading guilty to forging a stamp certificate. He also admitted to his involvement in several rental scams.

In July 2012, Tang collected $3,520 from a prospective tenant, including $120 as stamp duty, for the rental of a property at Rochor Road. When pressed for the stamp certificate, Tang amended the details on a genuine certificate from a previous transaction, and gave this to the tenant.

When the property was not handed over as scheduled, the tenant lodged reports with the Police and Council for Estate Agencies.

Stamp duty is paid on documents relating to properties such as tenancy agreements, options to purchase, etc. The stamp certificate confirms that stamp duty has been paid. It is a crime to use counterfeit stamp certificates. Perpetrators may face penalties of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.

Prospective tenants and property buyers may check the authenticity of stamp certificates at the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore e-Stamping website

Source: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore

Stamp Duties (Relief from Stamp Duty upon Acquisition of Shares of Companies) Rules 2013

29 March 2013

The Stamp Duties (Relief from Stamp Duty upon Acquisition of Shares of Companies) Rules 2013, published on 26 March 2013 shall be deemed to have come into operation on 1st April 2010.

The Rules cover:

1. Citation and commencement

2. Definitions

3. Prescribed qualifying period

4. Conditions precedent for relief

5. Conditions subsequent for relief

6. Waiver of conditions

7. Statutory declaration

8. Commissioner to be notified of certain occurrences

9. Application to business trusts

Source: e-Gazette

Stamp Duties (Amendment) Act 2013 [No. 1 of 2013] passed by Parliament

21 February 2013

The Stamp Duties (Amendment) Act 2013, first published on 19 February 2013, was passed by Parliament on 14 January 2013 and assented to by the President on 13 February 2013.

With the exception of section 2, which is deemed to have come into operation on 1 April 2010, the effective dates of the provisions will be specified by the Minister by way of Notification in the Gazette.

The Act puts into effect the enhancement of the stamp duty concession under the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Scheme announced in the Budget 2012, as well as changes arising from the periodic review of the stamp duty tax system to improve legislative clarity or stamp duty administration.

Source: Government Gazette and Ministry of Finance