Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) remission is applicable to acquisitions of sites on or after 16 Dec 2015 for the development of four or less units of housing accommodation if the remission conditions under the Stamp Duties (Non-Licensed Housing Developers) (Remission of ABSD) Rules are met.
On 6 May 2020, 8 Oct 2020 and 28 Jun 2021, in view of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government announced extension of the commencement, completion and sale* timelines under the ABSD Housing Developers Remission for all developers, subject to conditions.
*The sale timeline was extended under the announcement on 6 May 2020. There was no further extension of the sale timeline on 8 Oct 2020 and 28 Jun 2021.
The acquisition of sites by housing developers or their trustees are subject to 40% ABSD of which, 35% ABSD may be remitted upfront subject to conditions below. The other 5% ABSD is non-remittable and remains payable within 14 days after the date of acquisition.
It is important for the purchasing entity to decide at the point of purchase whether housing development of the subject property will be undertaken, 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 65% will not qualify for the ABSD Housing Developers Remission, even if they fulfil the remission conditions subsequently.
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 65% ABSD, which may be remitted upfront subject to the conditions in paragraph C below.
Please note that all purchasers/ transferees (including housing developers and trustees for housing developers) are required to complete the ABSD Declaration Form (PDF, 232KB) 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 (Non-Licensed Housing Developers) (Remission of ABSD) Rules
A. Where the purchaser/transferee is the housing developer
- The developer must be a company in the business of housing development (i.e. construction and sale of housing units).
- The developer follows through the intention to develop the housing development which comprises 4 or less units of housing accommodation for sale:
- Commence housing development on the residential site within 2 years from the date of execution of the instrument1 (“acquisition date”)
- Complete the housing development and sell all units of housing accommodation in the development within 3 years from the acquisition date
- The developer submits the following documents to IRAS: -
- Written undertaking (in the prescribed format) (PDF, 471KB) to comply with all the conditions.
- Proof of commencement of housing development of 4 or less 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 4 or less units of housing accommodation and disposal of all housing accommodation in the development within 3 years from the acquisition date
- A list of all sold and unsold units with the details of buyers (names and identity numbers) as at 3 years from the acquisition date, within 3 years and 1 month from the acquisition date, in the event that not all housing accommodation in the development are sold; and
- Any other documents or information that IRAS requires in relation to this remission
- 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.
- 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/transferee is a trustee for the housing developer
The trustee for the housing developer ensures that the developer complies with conditions 1 to 3 in (A) above.
The trustee 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 condition 1 is not met.
The trustee agrees and undertakes to pay the amount recoverable by the Commissioner under condition 2 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.
The trustee submits a written undertaking (in the prescribed format) (PDF, 683KB) to comply with all the conditions.
C. Where the purchaser intended for the site to be transferred to a housing developer incorporated (or to be incorporated)
- 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
- The conveyance direction is made not more than 2 months after the date of the contract
- No consideration has passed between the purchaser and the company
- 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.
Link to legislation
Please refer to Stamp Duties (Non-Licensed Housing Developers) (Remission of ABSD) Rules for the remission rules.
How to apply
You 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 for developer (PDF, 471KB) and trustee for housing developer (PDF, 683KB) if any) 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.
- On 28 Jun 2021, an additional 6-month extension of the commencement and completion timelines of residential development in relation to the remission of ABSD for housing developers, subject to conditions. There is no 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 non-licensed housing developers (those who develop 4 or less units), the specified timeline for commencement is 2 years from the purchase of the land while the specified timelines for completion and sale are 3 years from purchase of the land.
With the announcements of the temporary relief measures, the specified commencement, completion and sale timelines will be extended:
(a) For land acquired on or before 1 Jun 2020 and the original timeline (i.e. prior to any temporary relief measures) to commence housing development, complete the housing development or sell all housing units in the development (whichever is applicable), expires on or after 1 Feb 2020
|Timeline||Total Extension||Extended Timeline|
|Completion timeline||4.5 years|
|Sale timeline||+ 6 months|| 3.5 years|
(b) For land acquired between 2 Jun 2020 to 7 May 2021 (both dates inclusive)
|Timeline||Total Extension||Extended Timeline|
|Completion timeline||3.5 years|
|Sale timeline||NA||NA. To remain at 3 years|
The extension would be granted automatically to all qualifying housing developers. There is no need to make an application for the extension.
If our company buys a plot of residential land on 1 Aug 2023 to build 4 units of terrace houses for sale, do we need to pay ABSD on the land purchase?
As the land is acquired on or after 16 Dec 2021, your company is liable to 40% ABSD where 35% 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 after 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 3-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 3-year* period. Any delay in the payment will be subject to late payment penalty.
If it is discovered that your company had no intention to fulfil the qualifying conditions from the start, this may be considered a case of tax avoidance. In such cases, Commissioner of Stamp Duties will disregard or vary any tax avoidance arrangement, claw back the rightful amount of stamp duty i.e. up to 65% and impose a 50% surcharge on the additional duty payable. Further penalties of up to 4 times the outstanding amount may be imposed if the stamp duty and surcharge are not paid by the deadline.
*Or the extended timeline if the temporary relief measures apply.
What is the commencement date of the 2 year and 3 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 3 year* conditions to commence from the following date:
- Where there is a Collective Sale Order (CSO) issued and no appeal to the Court, the date of CSO
- Where there is an appeal to the High Court but not the Court of Appeal, the date of High Court’s approval
- Where there is an appeal to the High Court and the Court of Appeal, the date of Court of Appeal’s approval
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 the extended timeline if the temporary relief measures apply
A company purchased a residential / mixed-residential property on 1 Aug 2023 for the purpose of commercial development, and hence paid 65% 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 charged the ABSD rate for housing developers at 40% and granted remission of the 35% 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 able to avail itself to the ABSD remission for housing developers, as it does not qualify as a housing developer for stamp duty purposes.
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 a further 6 months?
The extension to the temporary relief measures are intended to provide targeted support to housing developers whose construction progress of the development project may be disrupted by the recent developments in the COVID-19 situation, in particular the tightened border measures that took effect from April and May 2021.
The Government will continue to closely monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the construction sector, such as supply chain and manpower disruptions, and progress of work at construction sites. The Government will continue to support the stakeholders as necessary and appropriate, as we transition to a new normal where COVID-19 becomes endemic.
What if the tender for a site had closed on or before 7 May 2021 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 7 May 2021, requests for extensions to the ABSD timelines will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Why aren’t projects on land purchased after 7 May 2021 accorded the extensions to ABSD timelines?
The extension to the ABSD commencement and completion timelines is intended to provide targeted relief to housing developers which have ongoing development projects that are affected by the industry-wide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and associated public health measures, in particular the tightened border measures from April and May 2021 that are significantly limiting the inflow of migrant workers. Housing developers of projects on land purchased after 7 May 2021 would have been able to factor in the potential impact from the tightened border measures when taking on the residential development projects.
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.