Penalties of up to four times the deficient amount payable may be imposed on:

  1. Unstamped documents; or
  2. Documents with insufficient Stamp Duty amount.

Stamp duty audits involve reviewing the accuracy of the information in your stamp duty document and the amount of duty paid. The audits are conducted to assess the likelihood of risk. Being selected for an audit does not necessarily mean that you have made a mistake.

Purposes of Audit

These are the purposes of IRAS audit tax programme:

  1. Identify taxpayers who have made mistakes in their stamping;
  2. Educate taxpayers on their tax obligations and how to comply; and
  3. Identify tax laws, policies and processes where we can simplify or clarify.

What to Expect During an Audit

Notification of Audit

We will inform taxpayers of the audit by letter, email or telephone call. IRAS will provide the details such as the timing of audit, and the documents that IRAS will examine.

For Transfer of Property by Way of Gift

  • Copy of the executed instrument of transfer
  • Copy of valuation report of the property
  • Applicant's opinion of the market value of the property, as at date of transfer

For Trust Deed / Declaration of Trust

  • Copy of the trust instrument
  • Relationship between the trustee and beneficiary
  • Date on which the property or share(s) was acquired
  • Reason(s) for acquiring the property or share(s) in the name of the trustee
  • Documents to support that the beneficiary is the beneficial owner of the property or share(s), as at the time of acquisition
  • Applicant's opinion of the market value of the property, as at date of instrument

Field Visits by IRAS Officers

Usually, the field visit is conducted by a team of three to four tax officers who carry authority cards issued by IRAS. If you need confirmation on the identity of the officer, please call IRAS at +65 6351 2044 or +65 6351 2046.

Responsibilities of Taxpayers

During the audit, we will require your co-operation in the following ways:

  1. Provide us with full access to your premises, records and documents;
  2. Allow us to make copies or obtain extracts of records and documents; and
  3. Provide timely, complete and accurate replies to our request for information.

Under the Stamp Duties act, a taxpayer found guilty of false or misrepresentation, or deliberate omission of information may be fined up to $1,000 and jailed up to six months.

Conclusion of Audits

1. Communicating and Discussion of the Findings

On completing the audit, we would usually communicate by writing or arrange for a meeting at IRAS to inform you of the outcome of our audit.

If the audit shows that you have not fully complied with your Stamp Duty obligation, we will issue a revised Notice of Assessment. The Notice of Assessment will set out the amount of Stamp Duty, penalty or any other charges that may be imposed.

2. Filing an Objection

Taxpayes that disagree with our assessment must object in writing within 30 days from the date of the Notice of Assessment. Please provide supporting documents to support your objection. 

Even if you have filed an objection, Stamp Duty, penalty or any other charges must be paid by the specified deadline. 

3. Making an Appeal to the High Court

In the event that you are not satisfied with our decision, you may appeal against the decision to the High Court. The appeal must be carried out within 21 days from the date of our written decision. 

The appeal must also be served to us within 21 days from the date of our written decision.

    Improving Stamp Duty Compliance

    To improve compliance with tax laws, taxpayers are encouraged to:

    1. Set aside money for payment of stamp duty before the document is executed. Do not delay stamping of your document. We will not accept reasons such as "pending funds from disposal of other asset(s)".
    2. Conduct an online check on the authenticity of the stamp certificate if your document is stamped by a third party (e.g. by your lawyer or agent). For more information, please refer to  How to verify the authenticity of my stamp certificate
    3. Have good internal controls. For example, stamping should be done by qualified and responsible staff and preferably not temporary clerks. 

    Recent Audit Activities and Results

    We may impose penalties of up to four times the amount of deficient duties for taxpayers who fail to comply.

    Types of DocumentsCases considered non-compliant for Stamp Duty - For ConveyancePenalties Imposed

    Sale and Purchase - Buyer's Stamp Duty

    Case One
    A purchaser, Mr A failed to stamp his Acceptance to Option to Purchase for a property despite advice from his lawyer.  Stamp Duty payable was $15,405.

    A penalty of two times the deficient duty was imposed due to non-stamping.

    Sale and Purchase - Buyer's Stamp Duty

    Case Two
    A purchaser, Mr B paid the Stamp Duty amount of $77,547 to his lawyer for stamping.His lawyer failed to stamp due to negligence.

    A penalty of two times the deficient duty was imposed due to non-stamping.

    Sale and Purchase - Buyer's Stamp Duty

    Case Three
    A Sale & Purchase Agreement was executed to transfer a residential property to Mr C. Instead of stamping the document based on the market value of the property, which amounts to a Stamp Duty of $189,600, it was insufficiently stamped at $129,600.

    A penalty of 50% of the deficient duty was imposed due to under stamping.

    Sale and Purchase - Seller's Stamp Duty

    Case Four
    A seller, Mr D failed to pay the Seller's Stamp Duty when he sold his residential property within a year of purchase. He was liable to pay Seller's Stamp Duty at $32,100 based on the selling price of $1,250,000.

    A penalty of two times the deficient duty was imposed due to non-stamping.

    Trust Deed

    Case Five
    A Deed of Declaration was executed to transfer a property by way of gift to Mr D.  Instead of stamping the document at $57,600 as if it was a conveyance on sale, the document was stamped incorrectly at $10.

    A penalty of 50% of the deficient duty was imposed due to under stamping.

    Transfer

    Case Six
    Mr E executed a Transfer document to transfer his property by way of gift to his son.  Instead of stamping the document at $141,600 as if it was a conveyance on sale, the document was stamped incorrectly at $10.

    A penalty of 50% of the deficient duty was imposed due to under stamping.

    Transfer By Assent

    Case Seven
    There was a Will drawn that stated the share of the deceased's properties to be passed on to each of the beneficiaries.
    A Deed of Family Arrangement was executed, where share in excess of what was stated in the Will was transferred to one of the beneficiaries.
    In such a case where there is 'excess benefit' being transferred, the Deed should be stamped as if it was a conveyance on sale.
    Instead of stamping the document at $224,292, it was stamped incorrectly at $10.

    A penalty of 50% of the deficient duty was imposed due to under stamping.

    Types of DocumentsCases considered non-compliant for Stamp Duty - For Leases Penalties Imposed

    Lease / Tenancy Agreements

    Case One
    The audit covered some industrial properties in an industrial estate.
    28 Lease Agreements were found to be unstamped or insufficiently stamped.  
    Stamping should be done:
    1. Even for agreements between related parties
    2. On the actual and market rental whichever is higher
    3. A total amount of $79,328 was recovered.

    Penalties of up to four times were imposed due to non-stamping and under stamping.

    Lease / Tenancy Agreements

    Case Two
    The audit covered retails units of a shopping centre. Seven Lease Agreements were found to be unstamped or insufficiently stamped.    
    Stamping should be done:
    1. For renewal of leases
    2. For variation letters that stated the increase in rent as a result of increase in lettable area
    3) Taking into account the percentage rent component if any
    A total amount of $57,519 was recovered.

    Penalties of up to four times were imposed due to non-stamping and under stamping.

    Lease / Tenancy Agreements

    Case Three
    The audit covered residential units in a few private residential estates.
    51 Tenancy Agreements were found not stamped.
    A total amount of $10,226 was recovered.

    Penalties of up to four times were imposed due to non-stamping and under stamping.

    RATE THIS PAGE

    • Strongly Disagree
    • Strongly Agree

    Information is easy to understand.

    Information is useful.

    Information is easy to find.

     
    Please email us if you would like us to respond to your enquiries.