27 September 2018
On 10 September 2018, the Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill (“Bill”) was passed in Parliament. The Bill is not yet in force. The main categories of changes to the Stamp Duties Act (“Act”) are outlined below:
- Levying of stamp duty on electronic records: To ensure it keeps pace with digitalisation, the Stamp Duties Act will be amended to provide for stamp duty to be levied on electronic records that effect a transfer of interest in immovable properties and shares. Currently, such transfers are done via physical records and stamp duty is levied where applicable.
- Recovering interest from taxpayer who fails to comply with remission conditions: The Act will be amended to provide that the Minister for Finance (“Minister”) will be able to recover interest from a taxpayer who fails to comply with the remission conditions, in respect of upfront stamp duty remission that had been granted to him. While it is an established practice currently that remissions are granted on the basis of certain conditions and that failure to fulfil these remission conditions would result in recovery of the stamp duty that had been remitted, with interest, the Act is being amended to make clear the Government can recover interest when a taxpayer fails to comply with any of the remission conditions.
- Relief from stamp duty for corporate restructuring: Section 15 of the Act provides relief from stamp duty for corporate restructuring where there is no substantial change in beneficial interest of the transferred assets. Section 15 will be amended to align the Act with changes made to the stamp duty regime in recent years. For example, a firm is currently not able to enjoy relief from share duty if its conversion to a limited liability partnership attracts the additional conveyance duty. Section 15 will be amended to provide relief from stamp duty under such circumstances.
- Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill
- Second Reading Speech by Mr Lawrence Wong, Second Minister for Finance