Paying property tax in Singapore? Here's your 2017-2018 guide

06.02.18
8 minute read
Tagged:

Buying a property in Singapore is a major financial commitment. On top of the loan payments, you’ll need to set aside some money for paying the annual property tax. This guide will explain all about the various taxes relating to property transactions, and how to fulfil your tax liability.

What is property tax in Singapore?

Property tax is applied to property ownership or real estate transactions in Singapore. It may come as an annual tax, or as a tax on contracts or agreements, referred to as ‘stamp duty’. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) governs all tax-related matters, including assessment and payment.

(Source 1, Source 2 15 December 2017)

Who has to pay property tax in Singapore?

Property owners are required to pay a property ownership tax in Singapore. For properties with multiple owners, the tax will be split according to their ownership share.

The buyer and seller of a property transaction, and the tenant in a rental agreement are also required to pay a stamp duty upon completion of the deal.

(Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4 15 December 2017)

What kinds of property taxes are there in Singapore?

  • Property ownership tax
  • Stamp duty
  • Property maintenance tax

(Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4 15 December 2017)

What should I know about paying stamp duty for buying or selling my property in Singapore?

After purchasing a property, you’ll be required to pay a buyer’s stamp duty, plus an additional buyer’s stamp duty in some cases. If you’re selling a property within 3 years of purchasing it, you’ll also need to pay a seller’s stamp duty.

For these sales-related taxes, you’ll need to pay it within 14 days upon the signing of the sales and purchase (S&P) agreement.

(Source 1, Source 2, Source 3 26 January 2018)

Buyer’s stamp duty

The buyer’s stamp duty (BSD) is based on a progressive rate and is subject to either the valuation amount or the purchase price, whichever is higher.

Component of purchase price Rate
First $180,000 1%
Next $180,000 2%
Remaining amount 3%

Note that the BSD is paid by the property purchaser. The same rate applies for both new property purchases and resale transactions, and for citizens and non-citizens alike.

(Source 16 December 2017)

Additional buyer’s stamp duty

Certain groups of people are subject to the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD), when they purchase a residential property.

Citizenship Rate (1st property purchase) Rate (2nd property purchase) Rate (3rd property purchase onwards)
Singapore citizen Not applicable 7% 10%
Permanent resident 5% 10% 10%
Foreigner 15% 15% 15%

This is also paid by the property purchaser, on top of the BSD. However, if you're a national or permanent resident of Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, or a national of the United States, you’ll be assessed on Singapore citizen rates as part of their respective Free Trade Agreements.

(Source 1, Source 2 16 December 2017)

Seller’s stamp duty

The seller’s stamp duty (SSD) is a tax imposed on sellers who have sold a residential property within 3 years of purchase. This is meant to discourage speculation on the real estate market.

Time between initial purchase and current transaction Tax rate
Within 1 year 12%
Within 2 years 8%
Within 3 years 4%

If the seller completes the transaction after holding it for 3 years, then the SSD isn't applicable.

(Source 16 December 2017)

What should I know about paying stamp duty for renting my property in Singapore?

Upon the signing of a tenancy agreement, a stamp duty has to be paid to IRAS before the deal is closed. This applies to leases with an average annual rent (AAR) exceeding SG$1,000. It is typically paid for by the tenants regardless of nationality and payment can be made online on the IRAS e-stamping portal.

The table below summarises the rate for rental tax in Singapore.

Annual average rent > $1,000 Tax rate
Lease period of 4 years or less 0.4% of total rent for the period of lease
Lease period of more than 4 years 0.4% of the AAR x 4

(Source 16 December 2017)

Summary: property sales/rental taxes

Buyer Seller Tenant Rate
Buyer stamp duty 1% to 3% depending on purchase price
Additional buyer stamp duty 5% to 15% depending on nationality and number of properties owned.
Seller stamp duty 4% to 12%, if sold within 3 years of purchase
Tenancy stamp duty 0.4% of total rent, or 4x the AAR

Paying property ownership tax for your property in Singapore?

You need to pay the annual property ownership tax if you own real estate in Singapore. This is due annually on 31st of January, and you’ll be informed by mail by the end of the preceding year.

The tax payable is determined by multiplying the annual value (AV) of your property with the property tax rate, which is scaled progressively upwards. This AV amount is equivalent to the annual rent that the property can fetch at market rate, and is calculated by IRAS through market statistics and property type. You can check the AV of your property online.

(Source 1, Source 2, Source 3 16 December 2017)

Residential maintenance tax

If the property is occupied by the owner, a discounted tax rate is applied. Otherwise, a rented or vacant property will be recognised as non-owner occupied. The tables below display the tax rates for both owner-occupied and non owner-occupied properties.

Non owner-occupied maintenance tax rates:

Annual value Tax rate Tax payable (by component)
First $30,000 10% $3,000
Next $15,000 12% $1,800
Next $15,000 14% $2,100
Next $15,000 16% $2,400
Next $15,000 18% $2,700
Above $90,000 20% Remaining amount x 20%

Owner-occupied maintenance tax rates:

Annual value Tax rate Tax payable (by component)
First $8,000 0% $0
Next $47,000 4% $1,880
Next $15,000 6% $900
Next $15,000 8% $1,200
Next $15,000 10% $1,500
Next $15,000 12% $1,800
Next $15,000 14% $2,100
Above $130,000 16% Remaining amount x 16%

(Source 1, Source 2 16 December 2017)

Non-residential maintenance tax

For non-residential properties, a flat 10% rate is imposed on the AV of the property. This includes commercial and industrial properties.

(Source 16 December 2017)

Summary: property maintenance taxes

Residential Non-residential Tax rate
Non owner-occupied residential maintenance tax 10%- 20% depending on property annual value
Owner-occupied residential maintenance tax 0%- 16% depending on property annual value
Non-residential maintenance tax 10%

Are there any property tax deductions I can claim in Singapore for 2017-2018?

There are no property tax deductions for the sales or rental tax in Singapore. For the annual residential maintenance tax, owner-occupied properties enjoy a discounted tax rate.

(Source 17 December 2017)

When do I pay my property taxes in Singapore?

Upon signing a sales and purchase contract or a tenancy agreement, you'll need to pay the stamp duty within 14 days.

For the annual property ownership tax, you have until 31st January to pay the tax for the year of assessment. If you have purchased a property, you'll be issued an ad-hoc property tax notice that needs to be paid within 1 month.

(Source 1, Source 2 17 December 2017)

How do I pay my property taxes in Singapore?

Once you’ve completed a sale, your conveyancing lawyer will arrange for payment of all applicable stamp duties.

If you signed a tenancy agreement to rent a place, you’ll need to visit the IRAS e-stamping portal and make payment online using eNETS (for unregistered users) or GIRO (for registered users).

For the annual ownership tax, the best way to make payment is using automatic bank deductions via GIRO. If you’re a DBS, POSB, OCBC or UOB customer, you can get set it up instantly through internet banking. Otherwise, you can use the following alternatives:

  • Internet banking bill payment
  • Phone banking
  • AXS machine
  • ATM
  • SAM kiosk
  • Singapore Post Branch (NETS payment only)
  • Fill in and mail a hard copy application form.

(Source 1, Source 2, Source 3 17 December 2017)

Property tax calculator

To find out how much to pay annually for your ownership tax, you can use the IRAS property tax calculator.

Stamp duty for sales and rental agreements can be calculated using the IRAS stamp duty calculator.

Paying property taxes online

Login to the IRAS myTax portal with your Singpass credentials to view your tax notices and payment records. Most information is automatically submitted to the system by your property lawyer or the respective government authority. However, keep all original documents handy (sales and purchase contract, tenancy agreement etc) as IRAS may request them during a tax audit.

To pay for stamp duty, you can do it online using eNETS or GIRO. Both services require a local bank account to complete the payment. For property ownership tax, you can set up a GIRO payment, or do an internet banking bill payment to the following details:

  • Payee: Commissioner of Inland Revenue
  • Bank/Account type: DBS Current Account
  • Account number: 0010468669
  • Bank SWIFT code: DBSSSGSG
  • DBS Bank Code: 001
  • Reference information: Tax Reference Number or 14 digits Payment Slip Number

(Source 1, Source 2, Source 3 18 December 2017)

If you’re transferring money from an overseas account, you can transfer it internationally using a traditional money transfer service or a bank. However, these services generally convert your money at poor exchange rates, usually with a 4-5% markup. You also need to inform the bank that you’ll cover the transfer fees, as you're liable for incomplete settlement of the tax liability.

To save on these fees, consider using Transferwise to send money to Singapore at the real exchange rate - the same you find on Google. TransferWise also always lets you know ahead of time what the fees included with the transfer will be, taking out the guesswork in how much money will hit your destination bank account.

You can either transfer money with TransferWise straight to your Singapore bank account, or if you don’t have one yet, you can open a borderless multi-currency account in Singapore dollars, as well as in another 28 different currencies, and use the debit card attached to access your money with ease.

Navigating the various property taxes in Singapore is complex since all transactions attract a tax or stamp duty. You’ll need to know what tax is payable and within the permitted time frame.

To help you out if you’re paying from abroad, Transferwise can help facilitate cross-border money transfers, saving you time and money that can be spent on more pressing matters. Just remember to pay on time - the penalty for tax evasion is severe in Singapore!

(Source 1, Source 2, Source 3 18 December 2017)

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content is the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more