The Ministry of Finance will be conducting a public consultation on the draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2014 from 7 July 2014 to 25 July 2014.

Proposed Amendments

2. The draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2014 provides for three changes to the Stamp Duties Act. The first two involve changes to existing stamp duty administration that arise from ongoing reviews of the stamp duty system. The third is a consequential amendment arising from the implementation of the Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) for industrial properties, introduced as part of the property market cooling measures last year. The changes are listed below:

a) Granting the Commissioner of Stamp Duties (COSD) the following discretionary power so as to provide more convenience to taxpayers. Presently, a taxpayer is required to lodge a claim for stamp duty refund with the COSD if he has overpaid stamp duty.  He also needs to surrender the original instrument to COSD if he wishes to seek a refund. The proposed amendments will remove these two requirements by enabling the COSD to:

i. Allow stamp duty refunds to taxpayers when the COSD is able to ascertain that there is an overpayment of stamp duty, without the taxpayer having to lodge a refund claim.
ii. Remove [1] the requirement to surrender original instruments for refund claims.

b) Rationalising interest computation in the event of a claw-back of the stamp duty relief. Currently, stamp duty relief is provided for transfers of assets arising from business restructuring and mergers and acquisitions, subject to conditions. If the relief granted is subsequently withdrawn due to non-fulfillment of the conditions, interest on the stamp duty payable is charged from the date of execution of the document [2]. As some taxpayers choose to pay the duty upon execution of documents and then apply for stamp duty relief, we propose to amend the Act to charge interest from the date the stamp duty was refunded upon granting the relief to these taxpayers.

c) Extending SSD relief to transfer of industrial properties arising from business restructuring. The SSD on industrial properties was introduced on 12 January 2013 to moderate the sharp increase in industrial property prices. The proposed relief is to minimise the SSD impact on bona fide business restructuring involving transfer of industrial properties.

Consultation Details

3.  The public can access the consultation documents and explanations for the draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2014 on the Ministry of Finance’s website (www.mof.gov.sg) and the REACH consultation portal (www.reach.gov.sg). Respondents may send their comments to the Ministry of Finance directly via the website, email, fax or post.   

MINISTRY OF FINANCE
7 JULY 2014

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[1] IRAS may selectively call for the original instrument when evaluating the claims for stamp duty refunds.
 
[2] If the document is executed outside Singapore, interest is imposed from the date on which the document was first received in Singapore.