Stamp Duty Basics for Property

Stamp Duty is a tax on dutiable documents relating to any immovable property ("property") in Singapore and any stock or shares.

Dutiable Documents

Dutiable documents include both the physical and electronic versions of the following

1. Lease / Tenancy Agreements for Properties

These are documents signed when you rent a property. Stamp Duty is calculated on the actual rent or market rent, whichever is higher.  

2. Transfer Documents for Properties

There are three types of duties payable on the sale, purchase, acquisition or disposal of properties in Singapore:

  • Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD)
  • Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD)
  • Seller's Stamp Duty (SSD)

BSD is payable on the purchase or acquisition of properties. Prior to 20 Feb 2018, the top marginal BSD rate for both residential and non-residential properties was 3%. With effect from 20 Feb 2018, there are differentiated BSD rates between residential and non-residential properties. The top marginal BSD rate for acquisition of residential properties on or after 20 Feb 2018 is 4%.

If you buy or acquire residential properties (including residential land) on or after 8 Dec 2011, ABSD may also be applicable.

If you buy or acquire residential properties and industrial properties on or after 20 Feb 2010 and 12 Jan 2013 respectively, SSD is payable if the properties are sold within the holding period. 

For definition of residential properties, click here.  

For exceptions, please refer to exemptions, remissions and reliefs

3. Mortgages for Properties

These are documents signed when you mortgage your property to obtain a loan from a bank or a financial institution. Stamp Duty is computed based on the loan amount.

(New!) Electronic Documents

1. What is an electronic document?

An electronic document includes any of the following that effects a transaction in any immovable property in Singapore, and any stock or shares:

  1. An electronic record that effects the transaction;
  2. An electronic record and a physical document that together effect the transaction; or
  3. An electronic record and a verbal communication that together effect the transaction, with the electronic record concluding the transaction. 

2. What is an electronic record?

An electronic record is a record generated, communicated, received or stored by electronic means in an information system or for transmission from one information system to another.


Electronic records include anything sent by email, SMS or any Internet-based messaging service.

 

3. What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature is any electronic method used to identify a person and to indicate the person’s intention in respect of the information contained in an electronic record.


Examples include electronic correspondences (emails, SMS, WhatsApp), electronic signatures (as opposed to wet ink signatures), biometric signatures (retina, fingerprint, voice), clicking on a button in an online system/platform/portal, ID card inserted into a device.

 

4. When and where is an electronic document treated as executed?

It is important to know when and where an electronic document is executed as it affects the deadline by which you need to stamp the document. For documents executed in Singapore, the document has to be stamped within 14 days after the date it has been executed. For documents executed outside of Singapore and subsequently brought into Singapore, the document has to be stamped within 30 days after it has been received in Singapore.


Please refer to the scenarios below to identify which applies to you and when and where your electronic document is treated as executed.


Scenario A

If the electronic document is an electronic record, or consists of an electronic record and a physical document/verbal communication (where the transaction is concluded by the electronic record), it is treated as executed at the time and place that an electronic signature is applied to the electronic record.


Scenario B
If the electronic document consists of an electronic record and a physical document (where the transaction is concluded by the physical document), it is treated as executed at the time and place that the physical document is signed.

 

Examples
A sends an email from Malaysia offering to sell property to B. B sends an email from Singapore accepting A’s offer. The electronic document is treated as executed in Singapore and at the time B sends the second email.

A makes an offer to sell property on an Internet website. B uses a computer in Singapore to transmit his acceptance of A’s offer. The electronic document is treated as executed in Singapore and at the time B transmits his acceptance.

 

5. If an electronic document is executed outside of Singapore, when is it treated as received in Singapore?

It will be treated as received in Singapore in any of the following scenarios:

  1. The electronic document is retrieved or accessed in Singapore;
  2. An electronic copy is stored on a device and brought into Singapore; or
  3. An electronic copy is stored on a computer in Singapore.

 

Examples
A and B effect outside Singapore a transaction by means of an electronic document, which is saved on a server outside Singapore. B downloads a copy of the electronic document in Singapore. The electronic document having been retrieved by a person in Singapore, is received in Singapore.

A and B effect outside Singapore a transaction by means of an electronic document, which is saved on a server outside Singapore. B uses a device (e.g. tablet) to view a copy of the electronic document in Singapore. The electronic document having been accessed by a person in Singapore, is received in Singapore.

A and B effect outside Singapore a transaction by means of an electronic document, which is saved on a server outside Singapore. B saves a copy of the electronic document on a device (e.g. thumb drive) and brings the device into Singapore. The electronic document having been stored on a device and brought into Singapore, is received in Singapore.

A and B effect outside Singapore a transaction by means of an electronic document, which are stored on a server in Singapore. The electronic document having been stored on a computer in Singapore, is received in Singapore. 

Stamp Duty on Documents Relating to Multiple Matters

If a document relates to more than one matter, Stamp Duty will be charged for each matter. 

Example : Two sets of Stamp Duty will be charged on a document for sale and lease-back of a property

Non-Dutiable Documents

You do not need to pay Stamp Duty on the following documents:

  1. Assignment of intangible assets such as Goodwill, Trademark and Patents
  2. Assignment of book debts / receivables (e.g. sale proceeds)
  3. Charter-party
  4. Declaration to change from Joint Tenancy to Tenancy in Common in Equal Shares
  5. Declaration to hold as Joint Tenants (by Tenants in Common In Equal Shares)
  6. Deed of Appointment of Trustees - where it does not involve vesting of interest
  7. Fixed and nominal duty documents (dated on and after 19 Feb 2011). For more details, please refer to our e-Tax Guide on Stamp Duty: Removal of Fixed and Nominal Duties (Second Edition) (116 KB, PDF)
  8. Hire Purchase Agreement
  9. Letters of Appointment /  Revocation of Power of Attorney
  10. Letters of Guarantee / Indemnity
  11. Loan agreements not relating to properties and shares
  12. Promissory Note
  13. Service contracts not in connection with the granting of a lease
  14. Settlement not relating to properties and shares
  15. Statutory Declaration, Affidavit
  16. Will
  17. Insurance documents

When to Stamp

You are required to stamp a document before you sign it. However, if you have signed a document and stamped it within the following time frame, no penalty will be charged: 

  1. Within 14 days after signing the document if it is signed in Singapore or
  2. Within 30 days after receiving the document in Singapore if the document is signed overseas

Where to Stamp

You can stamp your documents easily through any of the following:

Non-Payment or Late Payment of Stamp Duty

If you do not meet the deadline, you may have to pay a penalty.

A penalty of up to 4 times may be imposed on documents that are unstamped, stamped late or insufficiently stamped.

It is an offence to use a document for which Stamp Duty payment has not been made. 

Please refer to Late Payment of Stamp Duty for more details.

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