Do Your Stamp Duty Singapore! A Guide to BSD & ABSD For Properties in Singapore (2020)
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Do Your Stamp Duty Singapore! A Guide to BSD & ABSD For Properties in Singapore (2020)

Joel Koh
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In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
~Benjamin Franklin

As with many purchases in Singapore, buying a property is taxed.

Pay Taxes to The Government
Source: Giphy

On top of the full cost of your HDB flat, Executive Condominiums (EC), or private property which includes costs like legal fees, the interest on your housing/mortgage loan, and option fees; you will have to pay stamp duty.

Every time you buy a piece of property in Singapore, you will need to fork out Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

That’s not all to it.

If you are a foreigner or you are looking to purchase another piece of property, you will need to pay Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD).

So how much exactly does it add to the total price of your property?

We got you.


TL;DR: All You Need to Know About the BSD and ABSD you need to pay when you purchase property(s) in Singapore.
Including how to calculate, exemptions, remissions and more…

What is Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) in Singapore?

As long as you are buying property located in Singapore, you will need to pay BSD.

Zootopia Sloth
Source: Zootopia | Giphy

The amount of BSD you will need to pay is computed based on the purchase price of the property or the market value of the property (the higher value will be used).

Before 20 Feb 2018, the maximum percentage of BSD you will have to pay on all properties was up to 3%.

After or on 20 Feb 2018, there were two main changes implemented:

  1. There are now differentiated BSD rates on residential and non-residential properties (here is how to differentiate between them).
  2. The BSD rate for residential properties went up,. The maximum percentage of BSD you will have to pay on residential properties is now up to 4%.

Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) in Singapore 2020

Purchase Price or Market Value of the PropertyBSD Rates for Residential PropertiesBSD Rates for Non-Residential Properties
First $180,0001% 1%
Next $180,0002% 2%
Next $640,0003% 3%
Remaining Amount4%
*BSD is rounded down to the nearest dollar, subject to a minimum duty of $1.

Buyer Stamp Duty Calculator Example

Let’s say you were to purchase a piece of property that costs $1.5 million at market value.

Market Value of the Property BSD RateCalculation
First $180,0001% = $1,800 (1% x $180,000)
Next $180,0002% = $3,600 (2% x $180,000)
Next $640,000 3% = $19,200 (3% x $640,000)
Remaining $500,0004% = $20,000 (4% x $1,500,550)
BSD Payable (rounded down to the nearest dollar) = $44,600 ($1,800 + $3,600 + $19,200 + $20,000)

Pro tip: No need to do this manually, use the Stamp Duty Calculator from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website to calculate the stamp duty payable for your flat purchase.

What is Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) in Singapore? 

In addition, liable buyers will need to pay ABSD on top of existing BSD.

You are liable to pay ABSD on in addition to BSD residential property purchases if you are a:

  • A Singapore Citizen (SC) who is buying his/her’s second residential property and all subsequent property purchases
  • Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) will need to pay ABSD on all residential properties with a lower rate for first property purchase
  • Foreigners will need to pay a flat ABSD on all property purchases
  • Entities will need to pay ABSD at an almost uniform rate

This is basically an add on to BSD that is tagged to all purchase of residential properties in Singapore.

Kampung Admiralty Exterior
Source: HDB

Like mentioned earlier, ABSD is a tax on residential properties in Singapore designed to cool property prices by discouraging demand from foreigners and entities who were buying up multiple properties and engaging in property speculation.

This measure is to discourage demand for residential properties and make them affordable for all Singapore Citizens buying their first residential property.

This only affects Foreigners, Singapore Permanent Residents, Entities and Singapore Citizens buying more than one property.

What Types of Properties are Considered a Residential Property Under ABSD?

HDB 

HDB Flats

HDB void deck shops with residential floor

Executive Condominiums (EC)

Private Property

Condominiums

Bungalows

Terrace Houses

Shophouses with living quarters

Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) in Singapore 2020

The amount of ABSD you will need to pay is based on your residency status and your nationality at the point of making the property purchase. This is reflected on the date of issue reflected in the IC collection slip.

It is also dependent on whether the buyer is an individual or entity. Entities are defined as the following:

  • An unincorporated association
  • A trustee for a collective investment scheme when acting in that capacity
  • A trustee-manager for a business trust when acting in that capacity
  • The partners of the partnership whether or not any of them is an individual, where the property conveyed, transferred or assigned is to be held as partnership property

*As entities, developers will also be subject to the ABSD rate of 25%. Developers may apply for remission of this 25% ABSD, subject to approval. 

Maybe I Should Invest In Property Meme

The ABSD percentages on the tables shown below will be applicable to the property’s market value or purchase price (the higher value will be used).

Another thing to note is that so long as a buyer owns any interest in a property, that property will be included in the number of properties owned by him.

Let’s say a person were to jointly own a residential property with their partner and own 30% share of another property with his/her sibling. IRAS considers that as the person owning two properties.

Profile of BuyerABSD Rates on/ after 6 Jul 2018
Singapore Citizens (SC) buying first residential propertyNot applicable
SC buying second residential property12%
SC buying third and subsequent residential property15%
Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR) buying first residential property5%
SPR buying second and subsequent residential property15%
Foreigners (FR) buying any residential property20%
Entities buying any residential property 25%
[Plus Additional 5% for Housing Developers (Non Remittable)]

*ABSD is rounded down to the nearest dollar, subject to a minimum duty of $1.

ABSD for Those Buying Multiple Properties

If you were to buy multiple properties at one time, you can choose any one of the properties to pay ABSD on.

For example, if you were to already own a property and wanted to buy two additional properties at one time, you can choose to only pay ABSD for either one of the additional properties.

ABSD for Property Bought With Someone Else

If a property is bought jointly bought by people of different profiles, the profile with the highest ABSD rate will be used.

For example, let’s say you wanted to buy a property with your partner. Your partner owns a property but you do not.

Thus the amount of ABSD you need to pay is the ABSD rate on the purchase of second property at 12% instead of the first time buyer rate of no ABSD.

ABSD for Property Bought for Beneficial Owner

If you (A) are buying a residential property to be held on trust for the beneficial owner (B), the ABSD rate will be charged based on the profile of the beneficial owner (B).

For example, If the beneficial owner (B) owns no residential property, no ABSD is payable.

ABSD Stamp Duty Calculator

Pro tip: No need to do this manually, use the ABSD Stamp Duty Calculator from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website to calculate the stamp duty payable for your flat purchase.

ABSD Exemption

There are a few situations where you will not need to pay ABSD:

  • When you are already contracted to sell your current residential property before you sign the Option to Purchase for your new one. IRAS considers that you only have ownership of only one residential property.
  • When you are selling your private property and buying a HDB resale flat

ABSD remission for married couples

In general, foreigners and Permanent Residents are required to pay ABSD.

However, if you are married to a Singaporean and you do not own any residential property, you are not required to pay ABSD.

Up Couple
Source: Up | Giphy

In addition, you can get a refund on your ABSD if you move house as a married couple.

To obtain the refund, the property that you paid ABSD for needs to be sold within 6 months of purchasing the next property. Terms and conditions apply.

There you have it all your need to know about paying stamp duty on your property purchases in Singapore.

If you have any other questions about property, feel free to raise them with our friendly Seedly Community!

REITs Tool

About Joel Koh
History student turned writer at Seedly. Before you ask, not a teacher. My time as a history student has equipped me with the skills to evaluate the impact societal development has on financial and nonfinancial events, as well as financial transactions and models.
You can contribute your thoughts like Joel Koh here.

Still have more questions after reading the article? Fret not, ask our community here!

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