FAQs

Estate duty has been removed for deaths on and after 15 Feb 2008. These are some of the frequently asked questions on estate duty:

Assets (e.g. bank accounts) in Joint Names

Q1. How will assets in joint names be assessed for estate duty purposes?

The value of the asset subject to estate duty would generally depend on the contribution made by the deceased to acquire the asset.

If the deceased solely provided the funds, the full share will be assessed. If the other joint owner can show evidence that he or she also contributes equally towards the asset, then only half share of the value of the assets will be assessed.

Q2. A and B have savings, fixed deposits, and investment accounts and operate them as joint signatories. Should either one of them die, will estate duty be levied on full or half share of the funds in these accounts?

The amount subject to estate duty would generally depend on the contributions made by the deceased towards the accounts.

If the deceased solely provided the funds, the full balance will be taxed. If the other joint owner can show evidence that he or she also contributes equally towards the asset, then only half share of the value of the assets will be assessed.

 

 

Central Provident Fund (CPF)

Q3. How is the CPF balance assessed for estate duty if the deceased person leaves:
a. $1.5 million in CPF balance and nothing else
b. $1.5 million in CPF balance and $500,000 in cash, stocks, and other non-residential property assets
c. $300,000 in CPF balance and $500,000 in cash, stocks, and other non-residential property assets
d. $600,000 in CPF balance and $600,000 in cash, stocks and other non-residential property assets

CPF balances, regardless of the amount, are exempt from estate duty as follows:

1. Where CPF balance is more than S$600,000, estate duty is imposed on the value of the other assets excluding CPF balance

 a.  Deceased leaves $1.5 million in CPF balance and nothing elseb.  Deceased leaves $1.5 million in CPF balance and S$500,000 in cash, stocks, and other non-residential property assets
 CPF Balance$1.5 million$1.5 million
Other assetsNIL$500,000
Total assets$1.5 million$2 million
Less exemption of $600,000$600,000$600,000
Balance$900,000$1.4 million
Less exemption
(CPF balance in excess of $600,000)
$900,000
(1.5 million - 600,000)
$900,000
Net valueNIL$500,000
Estate duty payable @ 5% NIL$25,000

 

2. Where the CPF balance is equal to or less than $600,000, duty is imposed on the excess value of other assets that exceeds the S$600,000 threshold when aggregated with the CPF balance.

 c. Deceased leaves $300,000 in CPF balance and $500,000 in cash, stocks, and other non-residential property assetsd.  Deceased leaves $600,000 in CPF balance and $600,000 in cash, stocks, and other non-residential property assets
CPF balance$300,000$600,000
Other assets$500,000$600,000
Total assets$800,000$1.2 million
Less exemption of $600,000$600,000$600,000
Balance$200,000$600,000
Less exemption
(CPF balance in excess of $600,000)
NILNIL
Net value$200,000$600,000
Estate Duty Payable @ 5%$10,000$30,000
Q5. The deceased's CPF monies were distributed based on CPF rules without Estate Duty clearance. When filing for Estate Duty, is it necessary to declare the distributed CPF monies?

The CPF monies are subject to Estate Duty regardless of whether the monies have been distributed. Therefore, it is necessary to declare the CPF monies when filing Estate Duty.

Immovable Property Owned by the Deceased

Q6. How should the value of the immovable property owned by the deceased be declared?

The market value of the property at the time of death should be declared.

There is a $9 million exemption for residential properties, regardless of whether the properties are let out or owner occupied.

The value of non-residential properties will be aggregated with the value of the other assets up to an exemption of $600,000.

Please refer to Exemptions for more details. 

Insurance

Q7. How is estate duty taxed on insurance policies?
  1. If the policies were effected by the deceased on his own life, the insurance proceeds payable on his death is subject to estate duty.
  2. If policies were effected by the deceased on the life of another person (e.g. where the children are the life assured), the cash/surrender value of the policy as at the date of death is subject to estate duty.
Q8. If the spouse and children of the deceased are the named beneficiaries and the insurance policy is on the life of the deceased, is the insurance payout subject to estate duty?

Such policies are subject to estate duty. However, if the deceased never had any interest in the policy, it will be assessed as a separate estate where an exemption of $600,000 will be given.

Q9. HDB's Home Protection Scheme (HPS) is taken to cover the home mortgage. In the event of death, would the proceeds of the policy be subject to estate duty?

In the case of the HPS, the policy is assigned automatically to HDB, which means any insurance payout goes to the board directly to pay off the outstanding part of the loan. Hence, it would not attract estate duty.

Q10. If a mortgage insurance policy is taken for a private housing loan, is the payout subject to estate duty?

If the policy has been assigned to the bank, i.e. the mortgagee that extends the loan, the insurer will liaise directly with the mortgagee to pay off the loan upon death.

Any balance of the insurance money, after offsetting the mortgage loan is subject to estate duty. If the policy has not been assigned, the insurance proceeds are subject to estate duty.

 

Shares

Q11. How are shares valued?

Public Listed Shares

For the purpose of estate duty, public listed shares are valued based on the last done price as at the Date of Death.

Private Limited Shares

For the valuation of private limited shares , for estate duty purpose, the net asset method will be used. The Audited Accounts of the company for the last three accounting years nearest to the Date of Death, should be furnished.

 

Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS)

Q12. Is the amount standing in the deceased's Supplementary Retirement Scheme account subject to estate duty?
Yes, regardless of whether the SRS account comprises cash or other investments.

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