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Parliamentary Replies

Number Of Singapore Residents Declared As Property Traders

15 Oct 2012

Date: 15 October 2012

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance: 

(a) in the last five years, how many residents in Singapore have been declared as property traders; and (b) whether they were informed in advance that they had been declared as property traders before they were taxed on their income.

Reply by DPM and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam:

Singapore does not tax capital gains. Only gains which are income in nature are taxed.

Business entities that are in the business of trading in properties are taxed on their property disposal gains as trade income. This tax treatment is no different from income tax on any other type of trade income. IRAS does not track trade income by how the trade income is generated.
For other taxpayers, whether the gain derived from the sale of a property is capital or income in nature is determined based on the actual facts and circumstances surrounding the sale. The facts and circumstances that IRAS considers, similar to other tax authorities and based on case law, include the situation leading to the sale, the holding period of the property and the frequency of such sales. IRAS then informs the taxpayers accordingly if it assesses after its review that their property gains are income in nature and hence taxable. In the recent two years, only 201 individuals (less than 0.05% of total individual taxpayers) and 39 companies (less than 0.1% of total non-individual taxpayers) have been subject to income tax on their property disposal gains.

To assist taxpayers, they can apply to IRAS before selling their properties for an advance ruling to ascertain whether the disposal gains are taxable.