Property tax is a wealth tax levied on property ownership and is payable by whoever that has a legal or beneficial interest in the property. Usually his name is included in the valuation list as the "owner".
Where the property is being sold/transferred
Where the property is being sold or transferred, usually the conveyancing lawyer would notify IRAS of the new owner/(s) within 1 month of the sale or transfer by filing a Notice of Transfer.
The apportionment of property tax liabilities is a private arrangement between the seller and buyer. Normally the conveyancing lawyers acting for the parties would make the tax adjustments. IRAS do not apportion the tax liabilities for the parties.
Where the property is owned by more than 1 owner
For properties owned by more than one owner, all owners are collectively responsible for paying property tax. For correspondence purpose, we will usually address to the owner who is listed first in the Notice of Transfer filed by the seller’s lawyer. Hence, it is important that you as the new owner or one of the new owners, inform the seller’s lawyer the person who will be responsible for the property tax matters. Once the transfer record is updated, we will be corresponding with the person on all property tax matters, including payment of property tax.
If you would like to update the person who will be responsible for the property tax matters with IRAS, you can write in to us together with the written consent of all the owners of the property.
The payment arrangement on the property tax payable is a private matter to be settled among the property owners. In the event of outstanding tax, enforcement action can be taken against any owner of the property to recover the tax.
Once IRAS is notified of the property transfer, all property tax related correspondence including property tax bills will be sent to you as the new owner. As the property owner, you will be liable for all property tax on the property. Hence it is important that you, through your lawyer, enquire if there are any outstanding or future property tax liabilities, and make provisions for the seller to reimburse you for the property tax amount that is to be borne by him.
If you are buying a property that is under construction or newly completed and hence not assessed for property tax yet, you will be billed for the property tax starting from the TOP date. This is usually within one year of TOP date for residential properties. Your lawyer would usually make provisions to seek reimbursement of property tax from the seller/ developer if the property is transferred to you after the TOP date. IRAS does not apportion the tax liabilities for the parties.