Guide to Seller’s Stamp Duty When Selling Property in Singapore

Last updated on December 15, 2021

house model with key, calculator and papers

Selling your property in Singapore can be exciting if you are moving to a new location or upgrading your property. You may also be thinking of making a profit from the sale of your property.

While preparing to sell your property, however, you should check if you need to pay Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) and if so, how much. This article will cover:

What is Seller’s Stamp Duty? 

SSD is a tax that a property seller must pay to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) when selling any residential property or residential land acquired on or after 20 February 2010, and within the holding period for owning the property or land where SSD is payable.

The holding period is the period between the date of acquisition and date of sale or disposal of property (a more detailed explanation can be found below).

When Do You Need to Pay Seller’s Stamp Duty?

Types of properties SSD applies to 

As mentioned, SSD applies to residential properties and land. Residential properties include HDB flats and private properties and can also be building units under construction. However, most HDB flat owners would not need to pay SSD since they typically sell their properties after the Minimum Occupation Period of 5 years, and there is generally no SSD due for properties sold after a holding period of 3 years.

SSD can also apply to the residential portion of mixed-use properties, such as an HDB shop with living quarters.

There is also SSD for industrial properties, such as those permitted to be used as showrooms, business parks, laundry services. However, a different SSD rate will apply to industrial properties compared to the SSD for residential properties.

Is SSD payable during en bloc sales? 

En bloc sales (or collective sales) are essentially property sales where homeowners collectively agree to sell their properties at the same time to a buyer, usually through a sale and purchase agreement.

In en bloc sales, the sale and purchase agreement is binding on all owners once the statutory majority consent has been reached. This means that individual owners who object to the sale will also be bound by the agreement. Thus, as an owner, you will have to pay SSD regardless of whether you had consented to or opposed the sale so long as the property is being sold within the holding period where SSD is payable.

Exemption from paying SSD 

Certain individuals can be exempted from paying SSD when selling residential properties in certain situations. Such individuals include:

  • Property owners whose property is being acquired by the government under the Land Acquisitions Act.
  • Property owners who have been adjudged a bankrupt and are required to dispose of their residential properties due to bankruptcy.
  • Foreigners do not need to pay SSD if they are required to sell their properties under the Residential Property Act (RPA). For instance, under the RPA, a foreigner needs to obtain approval from the Singapore Land Authority before acquiring certain types of residential property, such as landed property. If a foreigner acquires landed property but fails to obtain the requisite approval, then that person would have to sell his property. When doing so, however, he will not have to pay SSD.
  • Owners of HDB flats that they had acquired on or after 30 Aug 2010, and where such flats have been identified for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS), but these owners sold their flats in the open market before HDB claimed them.
  • HDB flat sellers who return their flats to HDB as a result of re-possession by HDB or under the SERS.
  • HDB flat owners who inherit another HDB flat, and are now required to dispose of either the inherited HDB flat or their existing HDB flat.
  • Property owners of non-HDB flats who inherit an HDB flat, and are now required to dispose of the inherited HDB flat.
  • A HDB flat owner who marries a person who also owns an HDB flat, and the couple is required to dispose of either one of the HDB flats.

How to Calculate Seller’s Stamp Duty in Singapore

To determine your holding period of the property, the first thing you have to find out is the date of acquisition of the residential property you want to sell. The date of acquisition of property can refer to:

  • Date of Acceptance of the Option to Purchase (unless the option is subject to the execution or signing of the Sale and Purchase Agreement);
  • Date of Sale and Purchase Agreement;
  • Date of Agreement for Lease (for new HDB flat); or
  • Date of Transfer (where the other options above are inapplicable).

In some instances, the date of acquisition may be different:

  • Transfer pursuant to divorce: Date of the ending of the marriage or date that the interest was acquired by the person transferring the property, whichever is later
  • Transfer pursuant to inheritance: Date that the deceased had acquired the interest in the property
  • Transfer of HDB flat within the family: Earliest date of acquisition of the flat by any of the existing owners, and who continually holds an interest in the flat from the time of acquisition to disposal

Next, determine the date of sale or disposal of the property, which refers to:

  • Date of Acceptance of the Option to Purchase by the buyer to the seller’s offer to sell (except if the option is subject to the execution or signing of the Sale and Purchase Agreement);
  • Date of Sale and Purchase Agreement; or
  • Date of Transfer (where the other options above are inapplicable).

The time period between the date of acquisition and date of sale or disposal of property is the holding period. The SSD amount you need to pay is calculated by applying the applicable SSD rate on the actual selling price of the property or current market value of the property, whichever is higher. The rates applicable are as follows:

Date of purchase Holding period SSD Rate applicable
Between 20 Feb 2010 and 29 Aug 2010 (all inclusive) Up to 1 year  1% on first $180,000
2% on next $180,000
3% on remainder
More than 1 year  No SSD payable
Between 30 Aug 2010 and 13 Jan 2011 (all inclusive) Up to 1 year  1% on first $180,000
2% on next $180,000
3% on remainder
More than 1 year and up to 2 years  0.67% on first $180,000
1.33% on next $180,000
2% on remainder
More than 2 years and up to 3 years  0.33% on first $180,000
0.67% on next $180,000
1% on remainder
More than 3 years No SSD payable
Between 14 Jan 2011 and 10 Mar 2017 (all inclusive) Up to 1 year 16%
More than 1 year and up to 2 years 12%
More than 2 years and up to 3 years 8%
More than 3 years and up to 4 years 4%
More than 4 years No SSD payable
On and after 11 Mar 2017 Up to 1 year 12%
More than 1 year and up to 2 years 8%
More than 2 years and up to 3 years 4%
More than 3 years No SSD payable

SSD payable is to be rounded down to the nearest dollar.

Where parts of the residential property had been acquired by the seller at different times, the holding period for each part acquired will be computed from the respective acquisition date. Where the sale or disposal involves only a partial interest in the residential property, SSD payable will be based on the higher of the selling price or market value of the partial interest.

Example of how to calculate SSD

Mr ABC bought his residential property on 21 March 2020 and sold it on 14 March 2021 for $1,800,000. The market value of the property is $1,500,000. As the holding period is less than 1 year, the corresponding SSD rate is 12%. The value of the property to be used in calculating SSD is the selling price of $1,800,000 as it is higher than the $1,500,000 market value of the property.

The SSD payable is hence $1,800,000 x 12% = $216,000. If Mr ABC were to sell his property after 3 years (i.e. on or after 21 March 2023), he would not have to pay any SSD.

How to Pay Seller’s Stamp Duty

SSD must be paid within 14 days from the date of the executed sale contract. Otherwise, you will face a penalty for late stamping and payment. You cannot defer payment of stamp duty and you must pay it in full (rather than in instalments).

Payment of SSD can be done via the e-Stamping Portal. Alternatively, you may go down to the Service Bureaus at designated SingPost offices or use the e-Terminals at IRAS Taxpayer and Business Service to pay the SSD.

When using the e-Stamping Portal, you will have to select the SSD option, and fill in your personal particulars, document reference number and property information. Once you have indicated all the necessary details on the form, the system will calculate and generate the SSD amount payable.

You may then make payment using several modes of payment, including FAST (for DBS/POSB accounts), eNETS, GIRO and AXS. If you have hired a conveyancing lawyer, SSD can be deposited into the firm’s Conveyancing Account with a bank. The lawyer’s bank will then pay the SSD to IRAS on your behalf. However, the lawyer’s bank may charge a fee for providing this service.

Are There Any Other Fees You Can Expect to Pay When Selling Your Property in Singapore?

Apart from SSD, there may also be other fees you can expect to pay when selling your property. These include legal fees to your conveyancing lawyer, property agent fees (for the commission and GST) and any renovation costs or moving costs.

You should also note that until you sell your property and the purchase has been “completed”, you will still be required to pay for the upkeep of the property, as well as property tax.

If you are selling your residential property on or after 20 February 2010 and within the holding period where SSD is payable, then you will be required to pay SSD. This is unless you fall under any of the exemptions mentioned above.

The applicable SSD rate depends on when you bought the property, and how long you held it for before selling it. The total SSD payable is obtained from applying the applicable SSD rate to the selling price or current market value of the property (whichever is higher). SSD must be paid within 14 days from the date of the executed sale contract and can be paid via the IRAS portal. There may also be other costs involved in selling your property.

You may wish to consult a conveyancing lawyer if you need help with the conveyancing matters involved in selling your property. The lawyer can assist you in paying the right amount of SSD in addition to handling all the documents required for the sale. A conveyancing lawyer can also advise you on any other fees you have to pay when selling your property, and ensure the entire sale process is conducted smoothly.

You may get in touch with experienced conveyancing lawyers here.

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