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MOF proposes changes to Stamp Duties Act; amendments provide for stamp duty to be levied on electronic records

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) introduced the Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill 2018 in Parliament on Monday, with key amendments providing for stamp duty to be levied on electronic records that enable a transfer of interest in properties and shares.

Presently, transfers of immovable properties and shares are typically done through physical records, and stamp duty is levied.  MOF said in a release: “With the more pervasive use of digital technology, there is potential for more of such transactions to be effected electronically, bringing greater convenience to citizens and businesses. To ensure that our laws keep pace with digitalisation, the key amendments provide for stamp duty to be levied on electronic records that effect a transfer of interest in immovable properties and shares.”

MOF added that the move safeguards Singapore’s revenue base, and ensures that revenue continues to be raised from a variety of sources, including from asset transfers.

It went on to highlight that there will be no change to tax rates or rules on property buyers and sellers.The other changes are technical amendments to improve tax policy and administration. These include making it clear that the Finance Minister can recover interest from taxpayers who fail to fulfil the conditions for stamp duty remission. The provisions for relief of stamp duty for corporate restructuring will also be updated to align the legislation with changes made to the stamp duty regime in recent years.

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