MOF Accepts For Further Review 3 of 5 Suggestions on the Draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2012
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has accepted for further review 3 of the 5 suggestions on the draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2012 received during the public consultation exercise held from 20 September 2012 to 10 October 2012. The other 2 suggestions are not accepted for implementation as one is inconsistent with the policy objectives for the proposed legislative changes, and the other is inconsistent with the legislative drafting conventions.
Draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2012
2. The draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2012 proposed legislation to put into effect the
enhancement of the stamp duty concession under the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Scheme announced in the in Budget 2012, as well as changes arising from the periodic review of the stamp duty tax system to improve legislative clarity or stamp duty administration. Details of the tax changes are as follows:
Budget 2012 change
• Extend stamp duty relief to acquisitions carried out through multiple tiers of entities, and not just through one tier of wholly-owned subsidiaries.
Non-budget 2012 changes
• Extend the appeal deadline for stamp duty from the current 21 days to 30 days to align with the deadlines for other tax types such as Income Tax and Goods and Services Tax;
• Enable the Minister to make subsidiary legislations to clarify the application of specific sections of the Act when amendments are made to the First or Third Schedule;
• Clarify that stamp duty is not chargeable on a conveyance on sale of any type of property other than immovable property (such as land), stock and shares;
• Remove references to physical revenue stamps with the decommissioning of franking machines and revenue stamps after the implementation of e-stamping;
• Clarify that in the case of a property where part of it may be used for a non-prescribed purpose1 , the SSD is reduced accordingly, so that SSD is levied only on sale of the part of property used for a prescribed purpose. (Currently, residential purpose is the only prescribed purpose for which SSD is leviable.) The change also makes clear that the definition of properties liable for SSD is based on what the property may be used for as permitted under the Master Plan or the Planning Act.
• Clarify that Rules may be made to amend stamp duty remission Orders made before 1 January 2012.
Public Participation in the Consultation Exercise
3. A summary of the key suggestions received on the draft Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2012 and MOF’s responses are as follows:
(I) Clarification on chargeability of stamp duty on securities
Suggestion: To defer the point of duty on bonds and notes convertible into equity until the actual conversion occurs. To remove stamp duty on securities over shares in a non-Singapore company.
MOF’s response: Accepted for further study.
(II) Clarification on chargeability of stamp duty on application to Registrar of Titles
Suggestion: To provide clarity on stamp duty treatment regarding an application to the Registrar of Titles for subdivision and amalgamation of lots which results in the creation of any additional or new common property.
MOF’s response: Accepted for further study to see how best to provide tax clarity on the treatment for such transactions.
(III) Update the definition of “stock” in the Stamp Duty Act
Suggestion: To update the definition of “stock” within the Act or remove the definition.
MOF’s response: Accepted for further study on whether and how the definition should be revised.
(IV) Clarification to Mergers & Acquisitions Scheme
Suggestion: To remove the qualifying condition that the acquiring company has to be a Singapore company or to provide a provision to allow this condition to be waived at the Minister’s discretion.
MOF’s response: Not Accepted. The policy was intended to benefit acquiring companies that are Singapore companies.
(V) Clarification to chargeability of stamp duty
Suggestion: To amend the phrase “any property” in Section 22(1) to read as “immovable property, stock and shares” (whichever is applicable).
MOF’s response: Not accepted as doing so may impact on the interpretation of other occurrences of the phrase “any property” in other parts of Act. The phrase “any property” is not inaccurate.
1Prescribed purpose refers to the property use for which SSD applies.