Town club loses appeal over value of property

It had asked review board to slash Chief Assessor's figure to $3.12m from $7.3m

The Valuation Review Board has dismissed a town club's appeal that the total annual value of its property for the years 2003 and 2004 was set too high, at $7.3 million.

The Legends Fort Canning Park, a restored historical building, wanted the court to slash the total assessment by the Chief Assessor (CA) to $3.12 million instead. The annual value is used for the purpose of computing the property tax payable.

"It is the potential annual rental that the property can fetch and the annual property tax payable could be up to 10 per cent of this annual value based on official prescribed rates," said property consultant Nicholas Mak.

The Legends comprises a three-storey building with swimming pool and other club facilities. Sitting on a land area of 11,768.4 sq m, the property had a 30-year lease from November 2002.

The annual value was priced at 5 per cent of the estimated capital value of the property, which for the two years was found by the CA to be $71.47 million and $76.1 million respectively.

The review board, comprising Mr Chiah Kok Khun, a judicial officer; Mr Wan Fook Kong, a veteran appraiser; and NUS don Chan Chuen Fye, found there were "good grounds" for the CA's assessment.

It had taken into account the sale price of Pinetree Town and Country Club, which had a similar size, location and use, to support the estimated capital value assessment of The Legends, said the board.

The land value and building value of The Legends were also added to derive the estimated capital value.

The CA used the land sale price of Raffles Town Club as a comparison and the actual construction cost of the Legends to complete the assessment, added the board.

Legends had based its case, among other things, on a comparison with the sale of a site at Fairy Point Hill, in Changi, but the board found this comparison unsuitable as Legends is in the Civic District.

In addition, the board found the valuation report provided by Legends did not "provide details on the computations and valuation assumptions adopted in arriving at the estimated value".

The CA's estimated annual values showed a rental rate comparable to the nearby Singapore Recreation Club, next to Raffles City.

"The burden of proving that the CA's valuations are erroneous lies squarely with (Legends)", which it failed to do, the board ruled last week.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2015, with the headline 'Town club loses appeal over value of property'. Print Edition | Subscribe