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Second Reading Speech by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of State for Finance and Transport on The Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2013, at The Parliament, 14 Jan 2013

14 Jan 2013

Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move, “That the Bill now be read a second time”.

2. The Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2013 comprises seven amendments. One amendment gives legislative effect to a Budget 2012 initiative, while the remaining six amendments arose from the periodic review of the stamp duties regime to improve stamp duty administration and legal clarity.

3. In the Budget 2012 Statement, the Minister for Finance announced enhancements to the income tax and stamp duty concessions under the Mergers and Acquisitions, or M&A, Scheme. These tax concessions will apply for M&As completed between 17 February 2012 and 31 March 2015 to facilitate corporate restructuring, especially amongst small and medium size enterprises. In line with these enhancements, Clause 2 of the Bill provides for stamp duty relief to be extended to acquisitions carried out through multiple tiers of entities, and not just through one tier of wholly-owned subsidiaries. 

4. I will now explain the remaining six amendments in the Bill.

5. First, Clause 3 of the Bill will update the Act to clarify that stamp duty is not chargeable on the conveyance of any type of property other than immovable properties such as land, stocks or shares and interest thereof.

6.  Secondly, we will amend the Act to clarify that property that may be the subject of Seller’s Stamp Duty, or SSD, is to be described by its zoning or its permitted purpose under the Planning Act. The amendment will also provide that the consideration used for computing Seller’s Stamp Duty is to be reduced by an amount attributable to the part of the property that may be used for a non-prescribed purpose. This is so that the Seller’s Stamp Duty is levied only on the sale of the part of property used for a prescribed purpose which is liable for the Seller’s Stamp Duty. Clauses 4 and 5 of the Bill provide for this change.

7. Thirdly, clauses 6, 8, 9 and 10 of the Bill makes technical amendments to various provisions of the Act as a result of the decommissioning of franking machines and adhesive and impressed stamps, after the implementation of electronic-stamping.

8. Fourthly, clause 7 of the Bill amends section 40 of the Act to extend the period for filing an appeal to the High Court against a decision of the Commissioner of Stamp Duties on a notice of objection from 21 days to 30 days. This is to align the appeal deadline with those of other tax types such as Income Tax and Goods and Services Tax.

9. Sir, the final two legislative changes are technical amendments. Clause 13 will enable the Minister to make subsidiary legislation to modify the application of specific sections of the Act when amendments are made to the First or Third Schedule. Clause 11 will allow “Rules” to be made to amend past remission instruments which were termed as “Orders”.


10. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move.