Don't impose Seller's Stamp Duty on those who opposed collective sale

The Seller's Stamp Duty (SSD) for residential properties was introduced in 2010 to discourage the speculative buying of properties.

However, the Stamp Duties Act recognises certain scenarios where the speculative element is absent, and where the SSD should not apply.

These include the acquisition of property by the Government under the Land Acquisitions Act and HDB flats being acquired for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme.

But there is no exemption for private properties being sold pursuant to a collective sale agreement.

This is unfortunate for non-consenting owners of such properties.

These owners clearly lack the speculative mindset and should not be treated differently from owners whose properties are compulsorily acquired by the authorities.

These owners may have been seeking a long-term home, and could have had costly renovation done to their property, especially if it is a resale one.

They risk not being able to recover the total cost of their home in the event of a collective sale.

Imposing the SSD in such circumstances may also deter home seekers from considering the resale market.

It may be necessary to consider an "en-bloc discount" for properties which may potentially undergo a collective sale.

Alternatively, the authorities should not impose the SSD on property owners who did not consent to the collective sale.

Peter Heng Teck Wee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2017, with the headline 'Don't impose Seller's Stamp Duty on those who opposed collective sale'. Print Edition | Subscribe