1. The Ministry of Finance is seeking public feedback on 8 proposed legislative amendments under the draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2011. We invite you to comment on the proposed amendments.
2. Your views on the legislative amendments that give effect to policies announced in Budget 2011 will help us improve the draft legislation with regard to its clarity or its implications for efficiency of compliance by taxpayers. The policies themselves had been adopted after debate in Parliament.
3. For the legislative amendments relating to the non-Budget changes, we welcome comments on both the policy and drafting aspects of the proposed amendments.
SCOPE OF THE CONSULTATION EXERCISE
4. The draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2011 incorporates 8 proposed legislative amendments to the Stamp Duties Act as follows:
(a) Budget 2011 changes: These are the tax changes announced by Deputy Prime Minister / Minister for Finance Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam in the 2011 Budget Statement. The 2 Budget tax changes are:
- Extension of stamp duty relief to companies that convert to Limited Liability Partnerships to provide flexibility in business restructuring; and
- Removal of most $2 and $10 nominal and fixed duties to reduce the compliance costs for taxpayers.
(b) Non-Budget 2011 changes: These tax changes arose from regular reviews of the stamp duty system and will improve stamp duty administration, with no substantial change in underlying policy. The 6 non-Budget 2011 tax changes are:
- Refinements to stamp duty relief for qualifying mergers and acquisitions (M&As) to align the stamp duty relief for M&As more closely to the grant of income tax allowance for qualifying M&As;
- Provision for the Minister to waive conditions for any relief, remission or exemption of stamp duty to provide more clarity and flexibility for the remission of stamp duties;
- Provision for the Minister to exempt a person in a public office from the need to impound an instrument that is not duly stamped where the need arises;
- Clarification on persons eligible to claim stamp duty refunds for aborted Sales & Purchase agreements, which is specifically that refunds may be claimed only by the person who paid the duty or is liable to pay the duty, instead of the person who solely or first executed the document;
- Consequential amendments following changes to the Land Titles (Strata) Act to update all references on refusals of collective sale applications by a Strata Titles Board, to include refusals of collective sale applications by a High Court, following amendments to the Land Titles (Strata) Act in July 2010; and
- Refinements to relevant sections of the Act to allow for relief of seller’s stamp duty when relief of buyer’s stamp duty is granted.
5. The summary table provides a brief description of the tax changes and explains the amendments to the Stamp Duties Act. Please refer to the draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill and its accompanying Explanatory Statement for details.
6. We would appreciate your support to ensure that the consultation exercise is effective. Respondents are requested to follow these guidelines:
a. Identify yourself as well as the organisation you represent (if any) so that we may follow up to clarify any issues, if necessary;
b. Make your comments clear and concise;
c. Use the prescribed template provided to help us understand your feedback better;
d. Focus your comments on how the legislative amendments can be better and more clearly written; and
e. Explain your points with illustrations, examples, data or alternative formulations of the amendments as far as possible.
7. This draft legislation is released only for the purpose of public consultation and should therefore not be used for individual or business decisions as it does not represent the final legislation or regulations. All comments received during the consultation will be reviewed thoroughly and, if accepted, will be incorporated in the Bill for subsequent introduction in Parliament.
PERIOD OF CONSULTATION
8. The draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2011 is available for public consultation from 3 to 23 August 2011. Comments received after 23 August 2011 will not be considered for incorporation into the final Bill.
9. We encourage all interested participants to submit your comments via our online submission form . Using this online submission form is the easiest and quickest way for your comments to reach us for consideration. You can also send us your comments, using the prescribed template, through:
a. email to firstname.lastname@example.org ; or
b. fax to 6337 4134; or
c. post to: Ministry of Finance
100 High Street, #10-01
SUMMARY OF RESPONSE
10. We will publish on the Ministry of Finance website a summary of the main comments we received together with our responses by September 2011. The summary will not disclose the identity of respondents, and will not separately address or acknowledge every comment received.
DOCUMENTS TO DOWNLOAD
11. For your convenience, the relevant documents relating to this public consultation exercise can be downloaded for further reference. Please click here.