: The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) has made several clarifications on the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) in its revised e-Tax Guide.

One concern was the quantum of stamp duty to be paid by a foreigner if a price discount in the form of vouchers and cash rebates were offered by the developer selling the property. This practice has become prevalent as developers try to lure more buyers amid the latest cooling measure, according to a report in The Business Times.

IRAS replied that the foreign buyer should declare the pre-discount price as well as pay a stamp duty based on the amount, if the discount was not offered to all buyers and the final price is significantly lower than the market value paid by the majority of buyers.

It also highlighted that the ABSD is only applicable to sites zoned residential in the Master Plan.

“This clarification makes clear that IRAS looks at the current zoning of the property to determine whether ABSD applies. It also widens the ABSD to capture ‘develop-ment charge’ which is often payable in a change of use,” said Lee Liat Yeang, Partner at Rodyk & Davidson LLP.

On purchasing development sites with four units at most, remission of the ABSD may also be allowed if the developer goes through developing the residential properties for sale and is “lawfully carrying on the business of housing development.”

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