Remission of ABSD for a Married Couple

A married couple may be eligible for ABSD remission on the purchase of a residential property if the remission conditions under the Stamp Duties (Spouses) (Remission of ABSD) Rules are met.

On 6 May 2020, in view of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government announced an extension of the ABSD Spouses Remission sale timeline by 6 months for Singaporean married couples, subject to conditions.

A. Joint Purchase by a Married Couple who does not own any Residential Property

Full ABSD remission may be applicable to a married couple who purchases a residential property jointly. The couple must include a Singapore Citizen (SC) spouse and the property must be purchased under both names of the couple only. In addition, both the spouses must not own any residential property. Scenarios with full remission are denoted with “#” in Table 2 and Table 3 of ABSD Rates and Remissions for Married Couples (PDF, 178KB)

Both BSD and ABSD are payable upon stamping. However, if you meet eligibility conditions, you can apply for this ABSD remission instead of making ABSD payment.

How to Apply

Your legal representative can e-Stamp via the e-Stamping Portal to obtain the remission certificate.

B. Joint Purchase of Second Residential Property by a Married Couple

ABSD remission may be applicable to a married couple who purchases a second residential property jointly, if the remission conditions are met. The couple must include a Singapore Citizen and the property must be purchased under both names of the couple only. The conditions under the Stamp Duties (Spouses) (Remission of ABSD) Rules are as follows:

  1. The married couple did not own interest in more than one residential property at the date of purchase of the second residential property.
    1. ABSD has been paid on the second residential property.
    2. The first residential property (co-owned or separately owned) is sold within 6 months after
      • the date of purchase1 of the second property for completed property or
      • the issue date of the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) / Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC), whichever is earlier, if the property was uncompleted at the time of purchase
    3. The married couple remains married and there is no change of ownership in the second residential property at the time of sale of the first residential property.
    4. The married couple has not purchased or acquired any other residential property since the purchase of the second residential property.
    5. The application for refund of ABSD is made within 6 months after the date of sale2 of the first residential property. 

    For the eligibility criteria, please see the last column of Table 1, Table 2 and Table 3 of ABSD Rates and Remission for Married Couples (PDF, 178KB)

    Married couples are encouraged to start marketing their first property early at realistic prices to ensure they can meet the six-month sale timeline for the ABSD refund. As an extension of the six-month timeline will not be acceded to, married couples can consider to secure a buyer for the sale of their first property before purchasing their next to avoid incurring ABSD.

    1 Date of Purchase / Acquisition refers to:
    a) Date of Acceptance of the Option to Purchase or
    b) Date of Sale and Purchase Agreement or
    c) Date of Transfer where (a) and (b) are not available nor applicable

     

    2 Date of Sale / Disposal refers to:
    a) Date of Acceptance of the Option to Purchase by the buyer or
    b) Date of Sale and Purchase Agreement signed by the buyer or
    c) Date of Transfer where (a) and (b) are not available nor applicable

    How to Apply

    You can apply for the remission via the e-Stamping Portal > "Requests" > "Apply for Refund". You will have to login with your SingPass or Registered Account.

    Temporary Relief Measures for Property Sector due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic

    In view of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has announced temporary relief measures for property developers and individuals affected by disruptions to construction timelines and sales of housing units resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these measures is the extension of time for the sale of the first residential property in relation to the remission of ABSD for the second residential property purchased by a Singaporean married couple.

    Under the ABSD regime, a Singaporean married couple purchasing a second residential property jointly has to sell their first residential property within the specified timeline, failing which they will not be eligible for a refund of the ABSD paid on their second residential property. The specified timeline for sale of the first residential property is 6 months after the date of purchase of the second property if it is a completed property; or 6 months after the issue date of the TOP or CSC, whichever is the earlier, if the second property was uncompleted at the time of purchase.

    Under the temporary relief measures, the specified sale timeline for refund of ABSD paid on their second residential property for Singaporean married couples will be extended by 6 months. To qualify for this extension, both of the following conditions are to be met:

         (i)   The couple’s second residential property was jointly purchased on or before 1 Jun 2020; and 

         (ii)   Prior to the 6-month extension under this temporary relief measure, the specified timeline (last date by which the couple must sell the first residential property to fulfil the ABSD remission conditions) expires on or after 1 Feb 2020.

    If you qualify for the above conditions and other conditions under the ABSD spouses remission, you can apply for the remission via the e-Stamping Portal > "Requests" > "Apply for Refund". You will have to login with your SingPass or Registered Account.

    The application for the refund of ABSD must be made within 6 months after the date of sale of the first residential property.

     

    • My wife and I were unable to sell our first residential property within 6 months from the purchase of our second residential property due to poor market conditions (e.g. Government cooling measures, Seventh Month, festivals and public holidays). More time was also needed to sell as the property was old. We had even engaged several property agents to market the first property, and even cut the asking price to below valuation. Can we still qualify for the ABSD refund in view of our circumstances?

      No. The ABSD refund is a special concession given only to Singaporean married couples, to facilitate their changing of homes. Given the intent, such couples should sell off their first property expeditiously and not hold on to two properties for an undue period. This is why one of the conditions for ABSD refund is that the first property must be sold within six months* of the purchase of the second property. This condition is strictly applied to all who wish to avail themselves to the ABSD refund. To be fair and transparent to all Singaporean married couples, the refund conditions are consistently applied, and there will be no extension of the 6-month timeline* to sell the first property. If Singaporean married couples wish to qualify for an ABSD refund, they should take into account the conditions of the market and of their first property, and ensure that the 6-month* criterion can be met. In this regard, they are strongly encouraged to start the process to sell their first residential property as early as possible. They could also sell their first property first before buying the replacement property.

       

      *Or 12 months if the temporary relief measure for the 6-month extension of the sale timeline applies.

       

    • My wife and I would like to seek an extension of time to sell our first residential property due to personal circumstances (e.g. children’s exams, celebration of festivals, need time to move into second residential property). Can our request be acceded to?

      No. Singaporean married couples should start marketing their first property as early as possible to ensure that they can meet the 6-month* sale timeline in order to obtain the ABSD refund on their second property. To be fair and transparent in applying the rules of the ABSD refund, the refund conditions are consistently applied and there will be no extension of the 6-month* timeline to sell the first property.

       

      *Or 12 months if the temporary relief measure for the 6-month extension of the sale timeline applies.

       

    • Can a single purchaser also qualify for the ABSD remission on the purchase of a second residential property if the conditions are met?

      No. The ABSD refund on the second property is only granted to Singapore married couples to facilitate their changing of homes. The remission is not extended to other groups of buyers, such as parent and child or siblings making a joint purchase, or singles buying a property on their own, as this will inadvertently undermine the underlying policy intent for moderating demand among Singaporeans for second residential properties. Singapore citizen (SC) and permanent resident (PR) buyers who do not wish to incur the higher ABSD on second residential properties should sell their first property before purchasing their replacement property.

    • My wife and I did not meet the refund conditions as we were wrongly advised by our agent (e.g. lawyer, estate agent). Can we still obtain the ABSD refund?

      No. To be fair and transparent in applying the rules of the ABSD refund, the refund conditions are consistently applied and there will be no extension of the six-month timeline to sell the first property. Property buyers should seek a recourse from their agents if they were wrongly advised. They may also file a complaint with the relevant regulatory or professional body governing the agents. Taxpayers and their agents may check with IRAS, if they are unclear on the rules of the ABSD refund.

    • This is the first time my wife and I are selling our first property to upgrade to a bigger home. What can we do to ensure that we will not have to forgo our ABSD?

      Singaporean married couples are strongly encouraged to start marketing their first property as early as possible, and at a realistic price, to ensure that they can meet the 6-month* sale timeline in order to obtain the ABSD refund on their second property. If a couple is unsure how long they need to sell their existing property and thus whether they can qualify for the ABSD refund, they may wish to consider selling their first property before buying their replacement property.

       

      *Or 12 months if the temporary relief measure for the 6-month extension of the sale timeline applies.

       

    • Why aren’t Singaporean married couples who had purchased their second residential property after 1 Jun 2020 covered?

      The temporary measures are intended to provide targeted relief to Singaporean married couples who are affected by the industry-wide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and circuit breaker measures on the sale of housing units.

    • Why aren’t Singaporean married couples with ABSD Spouse Remission sale timeline expiring before 1 Feb 2020 covered?

      1 Feb 2020 was the approximate date when the impact of COVID-19 started to be significantly felt in Singapore’s economy.

       

      If a couple’s specified timeline already expires before 1 Feb 2020, they are to abide by their existing specified timeline.