Sites for Development of Five or More Units of Housing Accommodation

Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) remission is applicable to acquisitions of sites on or after 8 Dec 2011 for the development of five or more units of housing accommodation if the remission conditions under the Stamp Duties (Housing Developers) (Remission of ABSD) Rules  are met. 

On 6 May 2020 and 8 Oct 2020, in view of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government announced extensions of the commencement, completion and sale timelines under the ABSD Housing Developers Remission for all developers, subject to conditions.

The acquisition of sites before 6 Jul 2018 by housing developers for the development of 5 or more units is subject to 15% ABSD, which may be remitted upfront subject to the conditions below. 

For acquisitions of sites on/after 6 Jul 2018, housing developers are subject to 30% ABSD of which, 25% ABSD may be remitted upfront subject to conditions below. The other 5% ABSD is non-remittable and remains payable within 14 days from the date of acquisition.
 
It is important for the purchasing entity to decide whether it will undertake housing development of the subject property at the point of purchase, in order to ascertain the applicable ABSD treatment. Any subsequent change of intention will not be considered for stamp duty purposes. For example, entities who have paid the ABSD rate of 25% will not qualify for the ABSD Housing Developers Remission, even if they fulfil the remission conditions subsequently. Similarly, developers who paid the ABSD rate of 5% and applied for the ABSD Housing Developers Remission cannot withdraw their application subsequently. If they are unable to meet the remission conditions, the remitted ABSD of 25% will be recovered with interest.

If the site is purchased by a holding company and intended to be transferred to a housing developer incorporated (or to be incorporated) by the holding company to undertake the development by way of a Conveyance Direction, the holding company is subject to 25% ABSD, which may be remitted upfront subject to the conditions in paragraph B below.

Please note that all purchasers/ transferees (including housing developers) are required to complete the ABSD Declaration Form  (PDF, 111KB) to be witnessed by their lawyers (if applicable). The completed form need not be submitted to IRAS, unless requested.  

Conditions for Remission under the Stamp Duties (Housing Developers) (Remission of ABSD) Rules

A. Where the purchaser/transferee is the housing developer

  1. The developer must be a company and a licensed housing developer
  2. The developer follows through the intention to develop the housing development which comprises 5 or more units of housing accommodation for sale:
    • Commence housing development on the residential site within 2 years from the date of execution of the instrument (“acquisition date”)
    • Complete the housing development and sell all units of housing accommodation in the development within 5 years from the acquisition date
  3. The developer submits the following documents to IRAS: -
    • Written undertaking (in the prescribed format) (PDF, 471KB) to comply with all the conditions.
    • A copy of a Qualifying Certificate issued by the Controller of Residential Property, where relevant, and a Housing Developer’s Licence issued by the Controller of Housing, within 2 years from the acquisition date.
    • Proof of commencement of housing development of 5 or more units of housing accommodation, including but not limited to piling, foundation or demolition works, within 2 years from the acquisition date.
    • Proof of completion (i.e. Temporary Occupation Permit or Certificate of Statutory Completion) of housing development of 5 or more units of housing accommodation and disposal of all units of housing accommodation in the development within 5 years from the acquisition date.
    • A list of all sold and unsold units with the details of buyers (names and identity numbers) as at 5 years from the acquisition date, within 5 years and 1 month from the acquisition date, in the event that not all units of housing accommodation in the development are sold; and
    • Any other documents or information that IRAS requires in relation to this remission.
  4. The developer agrees and undertakes to pay to the Commissioner of Stamp Duties as a debt due to the Singapore Government an amount equal to the ABSD remitted as a result of this undertaking, together with interest thereon at the rate of 5% per annum from 14 days after the acquisition date, if any of the above conditions are not met.
  5. The developer agrees and undertakes to pay the amount recoverable by the Commissioner under condition 4 at the place stated and in the manner provided in a notice served by the Commissioner within one month after the service of the notice by the Commissioner. 

B. Where the purchaser intended for the site to be transferred to a housing developer incorporated (or to be incorporated)

  1. At the point of contract, there is a clear intention that the purchaser wants the property to be transferred to a housing developer incorporated (or to be incorporated) by the purchaser
  2. The conveyance direction is made not more than 2 months after the date of the contract
  3. No consideration has passed between the purchaser and the company
  4. The purchaser has beneficial interest in more than 50% of the share capital and voting rights in the housing developer from the date of purchase to the date of the issue of the Temporary Occupation Permit or Certificate of Statutory Completion for all units of housing accommodation in the development.

Notes: 1 Where the instrument is a conveyance direction, the date of execution of the instrument is the date of the contract or agreement for the sale of the site to the holding company.

    How to Apply

    • Your legal representative can e-Stamp at the e-Stamping Portal to obtain the remission certificate.
    • You will need to prepare and upload a Letter of Undertaking (in the prescribed format) (PDF, 471KB) that the remission conditions have been or will be met onto the e-Stamping Portal.

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

    The Government has announced the following temporary relief measures for property developers affected by disruptions to construction timelines and sales of housing units resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic

    • On 6 May 2020, a 6-month extension of the timelines for the commencement and completion of residential development, and sale of housing units in residential development projects in relation to the remission of ABSD for housing developers, subject to conditions.
    • On 8 Oct 2020, a further extension of the timelines by 6 months for the commencement and completion of residential development in relation to the remission of ABSD for housing developers, subject to conditions. There is no further extension to the remission condition timeline for sale.

    Under the ABSD regime, all developers are to commence and complete the residential development, and sell all housing units in the residential development project within the specified timelines, failing which they will be subject to ABSD on the purchase of the land. For licensed housing developers (those who develop 5 more or units), the specified timeline for commencement is 2 years from the purchase of the land while the specified timelines for completion and sale are 5 years from purchase of the land.

    With the temporary relief measures announced on 6 May 2020 and 8 Oct 2020, the specified commencement, completion and sale timelines will be extended (as summarised below), subject to conditions*:

     Temporary relief measures announced on 6 May 2020Additional temporary relief measures announced on 8 Oct 2020Total Extension Extended Timeline 
    Commencement timeline 

     

     

    +6 months    

     

     

    Further extension by 6 months  

     

     

    +12 months

     3 years
    Completion timeline 6 years
    Sale timeline NA +6 months 5.5 years

     

    *To qualify for the extension of the respective timelines, both of the following conditions are to be met:

    (i) The land was purchased on or before 1 Jun 2020; and
    (ii) Prior to the temporary relief measures, the specified timeline (last date by which the developer must commence housing development, complete the housing development or sell all housing units in the development (whichever is applicable), to fulfil the ABSD remission conditions) expires on or after 1 Feb 2020.

    This extension would be granted automatically to all qualifying housing developers. There is no need to make an application for this extension.

    • If our company buys a plot of residential land on 5 Jul 2018 to build 6 units of terrace houses for sale, do we need to pay ABSD on the land purchase?

      If your company buys the land on 5 Jul 2018, it is subject to 15% ABSD which may be remitted upfront (i.e. do not need to pay the ABSD upfront) if your company gives the necessary undertaking to fulfil the qualifying conditions. 

      However, if the land is acquired on/after 6 Jul 2018, your company is liable to 30% ABSD where 25% ABSD may be remitted upfront if your company gives the necessary undertaking to fulfill the qualifying conditions. The remaining 5% ABSD is non-remittable and has to be paid within 14 days from the date of acquisition.

    • After we have been granted the ABSD remission upfront, is there any penalty if we are unable to fulfil any of the qualifying conditions, e.g. delay in building completion beyond the 5-year period?

      If any of the conditions is not fulfilled, ABSD will be clawed back with interest and will become payable immediately e.g. upon the expiry of the 5-year* period. Any delay in the payment will be subject to late payment penalty.

      *Or 5.5 years for the sale timeline and 6 years for the completion timeline if the temporary relief measures apply.

    • Would ABSD be clawed back if we decide to sell the development site after we have been granted the ABSD remission?

      If the land is resold, ABSD will be clawed back with interest and will become payable immediately since your company failed to fulfil the condition to develop and sell all the units in the development.

    • Are residential units in the project sold to staff, directors, subsidiaries and related companies considered as due disposal?

      Yes, they are considered as due disposal. The stamp duty payable should be based on the price or market value of the property, whichever is higher.

    • For a residential site that is developed in phases, do the conditions for remission apply to each phase at a time or to the entire site?

      The conditions for remission apply to the entire site that was bought for the housing development. Hence if only part of the development on site was completed within the 5-year* timeframe, the entire site would not qualify for the ABSD remission.

      *Or 5.5 years for the sale timeline and 6 years for the completion timeline if the temporary relief measures apply.

    • Is ABSD payable on the lease extension premium that we paid to the State? If yes, can the ABSD be remitted?

      ABSD is payable on documents executed on payment of lease extension premium. Any request for remission will be considered subject to the developer giving similar undertaking pertaining to the development and disposal of the units within the stipulated timeframe as in the case of land purchase. If the land was purchased before the implementation of ABSD, the timeframe commences from the date of Letter of Acceptance of the lease extension.

      Where the ABSD remission has already been granted on the purchase of the land prior to the payment of lease extension premium on the same land, the ABSD remission will similarly be extended to the lease extension premium paid without the need to provide another set of undertaking.

    • What is the commencement date of the 2 year and 5 year conditions for a residential site which was acquired through a collective sale under the Land Titles (Strata) Act?

      The commencement date is the date of Contract or Agreement for the collective sale but we are prepared to consider, on a case-by-case basis, to allow the 2 year^ and 5 year* conditions to commence from the following date:

      a. Where there is a Collective Sale Order (CSO) issued and no appeal to the Court, the date of CSO.

      b. Where there is an appeal to the High Court but not the Court of Appeal, the date of High Court’s approval.

      c. Where there is an appeal to the High Court and the Court of Appeal, the date of Court of Appeal’s approval.

      • If your company would like to make an application to treat the commencement date of the 2 year^ and 5 year* conditions as the date of CSO, please submit the application with a copy of the CSO via the e-Stamping Portal (select “Apply for Assessment/ Appeal/ Remission” under “Requests”) within 14 days from the date of CSO.

      Where an appeal to the High Court or the Court of Appeal (as the case may be) is involved, a further application to treat the commencement date as the date of approval from the High Court or Court of Appeal would be required.

      ^Or 3 years for the commencement timeline if the temporary relief measures apply.

      *Or 5.5 years for the sale timeline and 6 years for the completion timeline if the temporary relief measures apply.

    • A company purchased a residential / mixed-residential property on 1 Aug 2018 for the purpose of commercial development, and hence paid 25% ABSD upfront. The company subsequently changes its intent and decides to use the residential / mixed-residential property for the purpose of housing development. Will the entity be granted remission of the 25% ABSD, subject to conditions, similar to all other housing developers?

      A company that did not purchase the residential/ mixed-residential property for the purpose of housing development, as ascertained at the point of purchase, would not be subject to the additional 5% non-remittable ABSD for housing developers. Accordingly, it will not be able to avail itself to the ABSD remission for housing developers, as it does not qualify as a housing developer for stamp duty purposes.

    • A company purchased a residential property for housing development on 1 Aug 2018 but intends to sell after the sale deadline. Is the company liable to pay 25% or 30% ABSD? Would it qualify for ABSD Housing Developers Remission?

      The company is liable to pay 30% ABSD because it is acquiring the subject property for housing development (i.e. construction and sale of housing units). It would not qualify for the ABSD Housing Developers Remission if it chooses to sell the housing accommodations after the sale deadline i.e. 5 years or 5.5 years if the temporary relief measure for the 6-months extension of the completion/sale timeline applies.

    • A company purchased a residential property for housing development on 1 Aug 2018 and have obtained ABSD Housing Developers Remission. Would the company be able to withdraw its application of the ABSD Housing Developers Remission subsequently?

      No, as the company’s intent at the point of purchase was for housing development (i.e. construction and sale of housing units) with respect to the subject property acquired. The remitted 25% ABSD would be recovered with interest if it fails to satisfy the remission conditions.

    • Are the temporary relief measures a relaxation of residential property market cooling measures?

      No. This set of measures is not a relaxation of the existing residential property market cooling measures, which were put in place to ensure that private residential property prices remain broadly consistent with economic fundamentals.

      All housing developers continue to be subject to the prevailing ABSD regime which require, among other conditions, developers to commence and complete the residential development, and sell all housing units in the development within the specified timeline, failing which they will be subject to the ABSD.

    • Why is the ABSD remission sale timeline for developers and Singaporean married couples who had purchased their second residential property not similarly extended by an additional 6 months?

      The additional temporary relief measures are intended to provide targeted support to the developers in the private residential, commercial and industrial property sectors, whose construction progress of the development project continues to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated public health measures.

      The Government will continue to closely monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the property sectors, such as supply chain and manpower disruptions, progress of work at construction sites, operations at housing developers’ sales galleries, and home viewings, and will adjust our policies as necessary.

    • What if the tender for a site had closed on or before 1 June 2020 but the land sale has yet to be effected – will the successful tenderer be accorded the ABSD timeline extensions?

      For sites for which the tender has closed but the land has yet to be purchased on or before 1 June 2020, requests for extensions to the ABSD timelines will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

    • Why aren’t projects on land purchased after 1 June 2020 accorded the extensions to ABSD timelines?

      The temporary measures announced on 6 May 2020 are intended to provide targeted relief to housing developers who are affected by the industry-wide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and circuit breaker measures on the commencement and construction of the housing development, and the sale of housing units.

      The additional temporary measures announced on 8 Oct 2020 are intended to provide targeted relief to housing developers who qualified for the Temporary Relief Measures implemented on 6 May 2020. These housing developers have ongoing residential development projects that are affected by the industry-wide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health measures on the commencement and construction of the residential development. Developers of projects on land purchased after 1 June 2020 did not qualify for the Temporary Relief Measures implemented on 6 May 2020, as they would have been able to factor in these impacts when taking on the residential development projects. Correspondingly, they would not qualify for the additional temporary measures.
    • Why aren’t projects with ABSD Housing Developers Remission commencement, completion and sale timelines 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 developer’s specified timeline already expires before 1 Feb 2020, they are to abide by their existing specified timeline.