Can stamp duty be waived?

Stamp Duty cannot be waived in general. As such, the majority of stamp duty appeals received by IRAS are rejected. Only under exceptional and extenuating circumstances may the stamp duty paid be refunded. Please note that notwithstanding any appeal, the stamp duty must be paid by the deadline. Otherwise, late payment penalties will be imposed. 

This page will provide you a list of common reasons for appeal received by IRAS that were rejected as well as specific examples of successful appeals.

Appeal for refund of Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (“ABSD”)?

Can I appeal for refund of ABSD?

ABSD was introduced to moderate demand in the residential property market and ensure that housing remains affordable for Singapore citizens. It is generally not refunded.

Example 1: I was a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) and recently became a Singapore citizen (SC). Can I appeal for ABSD refund?

Your appeal will be rejected. ABSD liability is determined based on the buyer’s profile at the point of purchasing a property. If you have received the in-principle approval for your application for SC/ SPR by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) before purchasing the property, please submit an e-appeal through the e-stamping portal. 

Example 2: I am an SC buying a second property by myself / with a family member (non-spouse). I would like to appeal for ABSD refund after I sell my first property

Your appeal will be rejected. The ABSD Spouses remission is only available to married couples where at least one party is a Singapore citizen. If you do not wish to incur the ABSD, you may wish to dispose of your existing property before the purchase.

Example 3: My parent/ sibling is gifting a share of a property to me as he/ she wants to buy another property. As this is not a sale and purchase, I would like to appeal for ABSD refund.

Your appeal will be rejected. Stamp duty is payable on the consideration or value of the property transferred, whichever is higher. Where the property is transferred as a gift, stamp duty will be payable based on the market value.

Example 4: I am an SC. I bought a second property with my spouse but we are unable to dispose of the first property within 6 months[1] due to the poor market response. I would like to appeal for an extension of time.

The following are not considered as valid reasons for extension of time:

  1. It’s the festive/ holiday season/ seventh month/ Lunar New Year.
  2. I have tried to market my property, but the current market condition is not ideal for selling a property.
  3. My property is old / messy / faces the West / has a poor location / has an existing tenancy / has noisy or messy neighbors / has neighbors with pets.
  4. I co-own the first property with my parents. As I am financing my parents’ property, I cannot withdraw myself from the first property.
Your appeal will be rejected as the above reasons are not considered extenuating circumstances. You are advised to consider the cost of property ownership when you purchase your second, replacement property, including the tax implications if you fail to sell the first property within the 6-month timeline.

[1] 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.

 

Example 5: I am an SC buying a third property with my spouse. I will be selling my existing properties shortly after the purchase. I would like to appeal for ABSD refund.

Your appeal will be rejected as the ABSD Spouses Remission is only available for married couples purchasing their second residential property. You are advised to consider the cost of property ownership, including the tax implications at the point of purchase. There will be no ABSD refund even if you sell your other properties after purchasing your third property.

Example 6: I am an SC and am recently divorced where the Court Order (Final Judgment) has been issued. I need to buy a replacement property to take care of my child under my care and control. Can I appeal for the ABSD refund?

Your appeal will be considered on a case-by-case basis. IRAS has approved the ABSD refund* in the specific scenario below. An SC divorcee, Ms Tan, wished to buy a replacement property for herself and her dependent child, who is under her care and control. However, as the sale of her matrimonial flat was still pending, she would be subjected to ABSD on her next purchase. If not for the divorce, Ms Tan would have been eligible for the ABSD refund if she had purchased it with her husband. We recognised that the change in her family circumstances was unexpected and beyond her control. To facilitate the changing of homes due to an unexpected change in family circumstances, IRAS refunded the ABSD to Ms Tan after she had fulfilled the remission conditions.

*ABSD will have to be paid within 14 days of purchasing the property, and a refund sought after all the remission conditions have been fulfilled.

Appeal for refund of Seller’s Stamp Duty (“SSD”)?

Can I appeal for refund of SSD?

SSD was introduced to encourage financial prudence and the long-term holding of properties. It is generally not refunded unless there are extenuating circumstances which arose after the property purchase.

Example 1: I would like to upgrade to a private condominium.

Your appeal will be rejected. While families may have changing needs and a change of property may be necessary, SSD remains payable if you are selling your property before the SSD holding period is up.

Determine your SSD liability and consider the tax implications before committing to sell your property

Example 2: I would like to buy a bigger property to allow more space for my family.

Your appeal will be rejected. While families may have changing needs and a change of property may be necessary, SSD remains payable if you are selling your property before the SSD holding period is up.

Determine your SSD liability and consider the tax implications before committing to sell your property

Example 3: I would like to move closer to my family / workplace/ child’s school

Your appeal will be rejected. While families may have changing needs and a change of property may be necessary, SSD remains payable if you are selling your property before the SSD holding period is up.

Determine your SSD liability and consider the tax implications before committing to sell your property

Example 4: I am relocating overseas.

Your appeal will be rejected. While taxpayers may face changing circumstances and a sale may be necessary, SSD remains payable if you are selling your property before the SSD holding period is up.

Determine your SSD liability and consider the tax implications before committing to sell your property

Example 5: I am a few months away from the end of my SSD holding period. Can the SSD be refunded/ pro-rated?

Your appeal will be rejected. The SSD rates are tiered based on the holding period. We are unable to further pro-rate the SSD based on the remaining number of months before the end of the holding period.

Determine your SSD liability and consider the tax implications before committing to sell your property

Example 6: I need to sell my property due to my unexpected medical condition. Can I appeal for the SSD refund?

Your appeal will be considered on a case-by-case basis. IRAS has approved the SSD remission in the specific scenario below.

Mr Ong purchased an HDB flat in his sole name. Unfortunately, after the purchase, he was diagnosed with liver cancer. Mr Ong's medical condition required long-term medical treatment, and the medical expenses amounted to a substantial figure. In order to pay his medical expenses, Mr Ong had to sell his flat within the SSD holding period.

IRAS recognised that Mr Ong's medical condition could not be foreseen at the time of purchase and he could not have been prepared for it. To support Mr Ong financially, IRAS waived the SSD.

What should I do if I want to appeal?

If you wish to appeal, please submit your appeal through the e-Stamping Portal> “Requests” > “Apply for Assessment / Appeal / Remission”. You will have to log in with your Singpass / Corppass and provide documents to support your appeal.

Please also take note of the following points:

  1. Stamp duty remains payable by the due date, even if you have submitted an appeal.
  2. Regardless of the channel of appeal, repeated appeals without substantive grounds will result in the same outcome.
  3. Providing false information is an offence under section 65 of the Stamp Duties Act.