Real Estate

The sale and lease of properties in Singapore are subject to GST except for residential properties. GST is also chargeable on the supply of movable furniture and fittings in both residential and non-residential properties. Real estate agents must charge GST on the brokerage fees received from the real estate agencies.

Charging GST on Real Estate

The sale and lease of residential properties are exempted from GST (i.e. GST need not be charged).

The sale and lease of non-residential properties are subject to GST.

For properties that consist of both residential and non-residential portions, only the non-residential portion is subject to GST.

Furnished Residential Properties

When the residential properties are furnished, you must charge GST on the supply of movable furniture and fittings .

However, fixtures such as built-in cabinets and wardrobes, kitchen and sanitary wares, wall-mounted air conditioners that are attached permanently to the residential property can be exempted from GST together with the property.

For information on how to account GST on the sale and lease of furniture and fittings, please refer to the FAQs .

Residential vs. Non-Residential Property

As different GST treatment applies to residential and non-residential property, you need to identify if your property is residential or non-residential.

Residential Properties

Residential properties refer to vacant residential land, and residential building, flat, or tenement (referred to as 'building').

Land
It is considered as residential land if it is a vacant land zoned 'Residential' in the Master Plan and the use of the land is approved for residential or condominium development.

Residential land includes vacant land or land with existing building (which is required by the Government or public authority to be demolished) which is supplied by the Government or public authority and approved exclusively for residential or condominium development.

Building
A building is a residential building if it is approved for use or approved to be used for residential purposes. Please refer to the approved use of the building that is granted by the relevant authorities during the relevant period in which the supply occur.

    Non-Residential Properties

    Properties that do not fall within the definition of residential properties stated above are regarded as non-residential properties.

    Common Examples

    Residential PropertiesNon-residential Properties

    Dwelling houses (e.g. bungalow)

    Boarding or guest houses

    Living or workers' quarters

    Chalets, holiday bungalows or resorts

    Halls of residence

    Canteen in halls of residence

    Upper floor of shop-houses approved for dwelling only

    Lower floor of a shop-house approved for non-residential use

    Serviced apartments

     

    When to report GST (Time of Supply)

    Sale of Completed Non-Residential Property

    For the sale of completed non-residential property, you will normally receive an option fee, followed by a deposit when the option is exercised. The property is usually transferred to the buyer upon completion of the sale.

    Booking Fee and Deposit

    You must account for output tax on the option fee and deposit at the earlier of the following events:

    1. When payment is received; or
    2. When an invoice is issued.

    Remaining Sum

    For the remaining sum payable, you must account for GST at the earliest of the following events:

    • When payment is received;
    • When an invoice is issued;
    • When property is made available to the buyer for occupation; or
    • When title of property is transferred upon legal completion.

    In the event that your lawyer remits the GST charged on the sale of property directly to IRAS, you are still required to report the property sale in your GST return. Specifically, you are required to report the sale value of the property (excluding GST) and the corresponding GST amount in Boxes 1 and 6 of your GST return respectively.

    Sale of Non-Residential Properties Under Construction

    As the property is still under construction, payments are collected progressively according to the schedule of payments specified in the agreement (e.g. based on the stage of completion of the development).

    The property is usually made available to the buyer for occupation after the issuance of Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP).

    Progress Payments Before TOP

    You must account for output tax at the earlier of the following events:

    1. When payment is received; or
    2. When an invoice is issued.

    Remaining Sum Once TOP is Issued

    However, once Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) is issued, you have to account for GST on the remaining sum payable at the earliest of the following events:

    1. When payment is received;
    2. When an invoice is issued; or
    3. When property is made available (TOP is issued) to the buyer.

    Lease of Non-Residential Properties

    For the rental of non-residential properties, you must account for output tax at the earlier of the following events:

    1. When payment is received; or
    2. When an invoice is issued.

    Single Invoice for Multiple Monthly Rentals

    When you issue one tax invoice for monthly rentals covering a number of months in advance, you must state the due date for each rental and the corresponding GST chargeable in the tax invoice.

    Accordingly, you will account for GST for each rental at the earlier of the following:

    1. The due date of each rental payment; or
    2. When you received the rental payment.

    Claiming GST Incurred

    You can claim GST incurred on the purchase of non-residential properties, subject to the conditions for claiming input tax .

    Such claims can include the GST incurred on the purchase of property, conveyance expenses, construction and development costs and professional fees.

    GST incurred on the purchase of residential properties is not claimable. However, GST relief is allowed for the purchase of land for residential development.

    For more information, please refer to GST Incurred on Purchase of Land for Residential Development (450KB).

    For more information on GST treatment for transactions relevant to property developers, please refer to GST: Guide for Property Developer (242KB).

    For more information on GST treatment of transactions relevant to property owners and property holding companies, please refer to GST: Guide for Property Owner and Property Holding Companies (363KB).

    Real Estate Agencies

    The real estate agency provides brokering services to the sellers or buyers of properties, while the real estate agents provides brokering services to the real estate agency.

    The commissions received for the brokering services provided are subject to GST. This is regardless of whether the property is residential or non-residential.

    GST is accounted for at the earliest of the following events:

    1. When commission is received; or
    2. When tax invoice is issued.

    For more information on the GST treatment for transactions relevant to real estate agencies, please refer to GST: Real Estate Agency Industry(173KB).

    • Do I have to account for GST on the sale of a furnished residential property?

      The sale of the bare residential property is not subject to GST as it is an exempt supply. However, you need to charge GST on the supply of any movable furniture and fittings.

      You must also apportion the selling price of your furnished residential property into:

      1. Value of furniture and fittings based on its open market value or cost (subject to GST); and
      2. Value of the bare property (not subject to GST).
    • Do I have to account for GST on the lease of a furnished residential property?

      The rental of the bare residential unit is exempt from GST. However, you need to charge GST on the rental of the furniture and fittings.

      To compute the rental value of the bare residential unit, the annual value (as shown in the Valuation List and Valuation Notice) of the property should be used.

      The monthly rental value of the bare unit shall be taken as 1/12 of the annual value of the property.

      The monthly rental value of the furniture and fittings will be the difference between the monthly gross rent (i.e. the total rental which you charged your tenant) and 1/12 of the annual value of the property.

      If the actual gross rental is lower than 1/12 of the annual value of the property, you do not need to charge GST on the rental of furniture and fittings.

      Example:

      Total rental of the furnished flat = $4,500 per month

      Annual value in the Valuation List = $36,000

      Value of exempt supply (per month) = 1/12 x $36,000 = $3,000 per month

      Value of supply of furniture and fittings (per month) = $4,500 - $3,000 = $1,500 per month

      You must charge GST on $1,500. This is the rental value of your furniture and fittings for the purpose of GST charging.

      This is regardless of whether a different amount for rental of furniture and fittings was stated in your tenancy contract.

      Alternatively, if you wish to treat the rental as inclusive of GST, you can account for the GST based on the tax fraction of 7/107 of $1,500.

    • I am a landlord. Every month, I pay maintenance or services fee to the developer or management corporation of my property. Subsequently, I recover the maintenance or services fee from my tenant. Do I need to charge GST on the recovery of the maintenance or services fee?

      Yes, you need to charge GST to your tenant when you recover the maintenance or service fee from him.
    • As part of employee benefit, I allow my employee to use an apartment for free (i.e. without charging rent). Do I need to account for GST on the rental of the apartment?

      When the apartment is furnished, you have to account for GST (output tax) on the value of furniture and fittings. Refer to Q2 for how to account for GST on the furniture and fittings.

      When the apartment is unfurnished, you do not need account for GST (output tax) as the lease of unfurnished residential property is an exempt supply.

    • Do I have to charge GST on rental deposit?

      When the rental deposit is refundable upon the completion of the lease term, you do not have to charge GST on the rental deposit.

      However, if you subsequently use the whole or part of the deposit to offset any rent payable, you have to account for GST at the time you utilize it to offset the rental.

    • Is SoHo (small office home office) considered a residential or non-residential or mixed property?

      To determine the type of property, you should look at the property's approved use in the Grant of Written Permission issued by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). For example, if it is approved as a condominium flat, it shall be treated as a residential property.
    • I install ventilation fans on the ceilings of my residential property which is leased out. Can I claim input tax for the GST incurred on the purchase and installation of the fans?

      Generally, any fixtures that are immovable and installed permanently are considered as part of the bare residential property.

      Therefore, the lease of residential property with installed ventilation fans is an exempt supply. As no GST is chargeable on the ventilation fan, input tax incurred on its purchase and installation is not claimable.

    • I incurred GST on fee paid to my agent for helping me to secure a tenant for my residential property. Can I claim the GST charged on the agent’s fee?

      No, the lease of residential property is an exempt supply. Since the agent's fee is incurred for the making of the exempt supply, it is not claimable.
    • Do I have to account for GST on property tax if I am billing it together with the rental made to tenant?

      If the rental of a non-residential property takes into account the property tax, you have to account for GST on the full rental. This is regardless of whether you have separately itemized the property tax from the rental. For rental of a residential property, the full rental shall be exempt from GST.
    • I am a landlord and I received property tax rebate from the Government. I pass on this rebate to my tenant. How should I treat this rebate given?

      Since you are the legal owner of the property, you are the recipient of the property tax rebate.

      The decision to pass on the rebate (e.g. by reducing the monthly rental to charge) is your business decision. If you decide to pass on the rebate, it is considered as a discount given to your tenant for the rental. The discount given is inclusive of GST.

      Example 1: If you decide to pass on the property tax rebate of $100 (inclusive of GST) by issuing a credit note, the credit amount is $93.46 and GST is $6.54 (7/107 x $100).

      Example 2: If you decide to pass on the property tax rebate of $100 (inclusive of GST) by reducing the amount payable on the invoice that you will issue, the amount payable should be reduced by $93.46 and the GST should be reduced by $6.54 (7/107 x $100).

    • I sell a non-residential property to a GST-registered Real Estate Investment Trust listed in Singapore or its GST-registered Special Purpose Vehicle (i.e. buyer). The buyer will self-account for the GST on the property purchased. How do I report the sale in my GST return? Do I need to issue tax invoice for the sale?

      You should report the price (excluding GST) of the property as standard-rated supply in the GST return for the prescribed accounting period in which the supply takes place. If the property sold includes movable assets such as furniture, furnishings, fittings, appliances or effects, the price of these movable assets should also be reported as standard-rated supply accordingly.

      The corresponding GST amount should not be reported. For more information, please refer to GST: Self-Accounting of GST by Listed REITs and their SPVs for Property Purchases (533KB).

      You need to issue tax invoice to the buyer for the sale. It must include a clause to the effect that the output tax shown on the invoice is payable to the Comptroller of GST by the buyer of the property (e.g. "The buyer will account for S$XXX output tax on this supply of property (and movable assets).

    • I sell a non-residential property to a GST-registered Real Estate Investment Trust listed in Singapore or its GST-registered Special Purpose Vehicle (i.e. buyer). When should I issue tax invoice for the sale?

      You should issue tax invoices according to the Sale & Purchase agreement with the buyer but not later than 30 days of the earlier of date of payment or legal transfer.

      The same invoicing requirement applies to all sale of property, regardless of whether the buyer is a GST-registered Singapore listed REIT.

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