Stamp Duty is a tax on dutiable documents relating to immovable properties in Singapore and stocks and shares.

Dutiable Documents relating to Share Transfers

Dutiable documents relating to share transfers include both the physical and electronic versions of the following:

1. Contract or Agreement (e.g. Sale and Purchase Agreement) and Transfer Instruments for Shares

These are documents that are signed when you buy or acquire shares. Stamp Duty is payable on the actual price or net asset value of the shares, whichever is higher. 

The additional conveyance duties (“ACD”) or share duty chargeable on the following contract/ agreement for the sale of shares may be remitted:

Contract/ Agreement for

Duties remitted

(A) Sale of shares that is not subject to ACD

Share duty

(B) Sale of scripless shares

ACD and share duty

(C) Aborted sale and purchase of equity interests (e.g. shares)

ACD and share duty

There is no need to e-stamp or submit an application for remission to IRAS for (A) and (B). The relevant duties remain payable on the executed transfer instrument, if applicable. 

For more information on the remission, please refer to remission for agreements for sale of equity interests.

2. Mortgages for Shares

These are documents signed when you pledge your shares to obtain a loan from a bank or a financial institution. Stamp Duty is payable on the loan amount.

For exceptions, please refer to exemptions, remissions and reliefs

(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. 

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 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.

FAQs

A. Electronic Documents subject to Stamp Duty

A seller has made an offer to sell shares through a website or a mobile application. If I accept the purchase by clicking “yes”, will my purchase be subject to stamp duty?

Yes. As the purchase was made through the website /mobile application which would have generated and/or stored an electronic record of the transaction, an electronic document chargeable with stamp duty would be created. As such, you would need to pay stamp duty on the purchase of the shares.

I received a physical copy of the Sale & Purchase Agreement (SPA) from a seller of shares. I emailed the seller informing him that I have accepted his offer. Do I need to pay stamp duty on the purchase of the shares?

Yes. Your email to the seller to accept his offer constitutes an electronic record. The physical SPA and electronic record together form an electronic document which is chargeable with stamp duty. As such, you would have to pay stamp duty on the purchase of the shares.

I received an electronic copy of the Sale & Purchase Agreement (SPA) from a seller of shares. I printed out the SPA, signed it and sent the printed SPA to the seller via normal mail. Do I need to pay stamp duty on the purchase of the shares?

Yes. While the offer was made via an electronic record and the acceptance done via a physical document, the electronic SPA and the physical document together form an electronic document which is chargeable with stamp duty. As such, you would have to pay stamp duty on the purchase of the shares.

My friend verbally offered to sell me some shares for $1,000. The next day, I messaged him via WhatsApp to inform him that I was agreeable to his offer. Do I have to pay stamp duty on the agreement?

Yes. Your message to your friend via an Internet-based messaging service, such as WhatsApp, constitutes an electronic record. Where a transaction is effected by a verbal communication and an electronic record, and the transaction is concluded by means of the electronic record, the electronic record forms an electronic document which is chargeable with stamp duty.

I have purchased some scripless shares listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. Would the transfer of scripless shares made by The Central Depository (CDP) via electronic means be subject to stamp duty?

No. The electronic entry made by CDP in its register to effect the transfer of scripless shares is exempt from stamp duty pursuant to the Stamp Duties (Exempt Record) Rules 2018.

B. Time and Place where an Electronic Document is executed

Why is it important to know when and where an electronic document is 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.

I bought some shares in a Singapore company on a website by accepting the seller’s offer from a place in Singapore. When and where is the agreement treated as having been executed?

The agreement is treated as executed at the time when you sent the message to the seller informing him that you accepted his offer to purchase the shares. As you were in Singapore when you accepted the seller’s offer, the agreement is treated as executed in Singapore.

I purchased some shares in a foreign company by accepting the seller’s offer on a website from a place in Singapore. The foreign company is not registered in Singapore and does not maintain a stock register in Singapore. When and where is the agreement treated as having been executed?

The agreement is treated as executed at the time when you accepted the seller’s offer to purchase the shares. As you were in Singapore when you accepted the seller’s offer, the agreement is treated as executed in Singapore. However, the agreement is not subject to stamp duty as the foreign company is not registered in Singapore and does not maintain a stock register in Singapore.

I purchased some shares in a Singapore company by accepting the seller’s offer via an email while I was on a holiday in Thailand. When and where is the agreement treated as having been executed?

The agreement is treated as executed at the time when you sent the email to the seller informing him that you accepted his offer to purchase the shares. As you were not in Singapore when you accepted the seller’s offer, the agreement is treated as executed outside of Singapore (i.e. in Thailand).

C. When an Electronic Document executed outside of Singapore is treated as received in Singapore

I purchased some shares in a Singapore company by accepting the seller’s offer via an email while I was on a holiday in Thailand. I know that the agreement is treated as executed in Thailand at the time when I sent the email to the seller informing him that I accepted his offer to purchase the shares. But when will the agreement be treated as received in Singapore and chargeable with stamp duty?

As you were in Thailand when you executed the agreement, the agreement is treated as executed outside of Singapore. The agreement will be treated as received in Singapore in any of the following scenarios:

  • The electronic agreement is retrieved or accessed by you or the seller when in Singapore. Examples of retrieving or accessing the electronic agreement include downloading a copy or viewing a copy in Singapore.
  • The electronic agreement is stored on a device (e.g. laptop, thumb drive, smartphone) and the device is brought into Singapore.
  • The electronic agreement is stored on a computer, such as a server, in Singapore.