“You mean I have to pay stamp duty when selling my house?” The answer is yes. Apart from your property agent’s commission fees and the administrative costs involved in selling your house, you may have to pay the Seller Stamp Duty introduced in 2010. (Read also: The Costs of Selling Your Property in Singapore)

The thought of giving up even more money from your sale proceeds is painful, particularly when the amount could easily cover the cost of renovations for your next home.

Today, we’ll cover details such as how to calculate stamp duty and when you’re exempted from paying Seller Stamp Duty in Singapore:


1. What is Seller Stamp Duty (SSD)?

The Seller’s Stamp Duty is a property-related tax payable to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). This applies to all residential properties sold within the first three years of the purchase date.

This includes all HDB flats, condominiums, bungalows, terrace houses, semi-Ds, and so on. But minus a few exceptional cases, sellers of HDB flats typically won’t incur the SSD given the 5-year Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) they have to follow.

2. What is the purpose of the Seller Stamp Duty (SSD)?

The SSD is meant to deter people from flipping houses in the market, thereby keeping property prices in a reasonable range.

House flipping (i.e., buying cheap homes and quickly reselling them for profit) is a popular practice in markets like the United States, but the Singapore government wants to keep housing affordable in our little city-state.

Other property cooling measures include the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty and the HDB resale levy.


3. How much is Seller Stamp Duty (SSD)?

The following SSD rates apply for properties bought from 14 Jan 2011 onwards. Your SSD is calculated based on the selling price or estimated market value of your property, whichever is higher. These are the two important rate charts you should know:

Here are a few examples on how to calculate stamp duty.


Case 1: Seller Stamp Duty for Condo Sold 17 Months Later

Mr. Choo bought his condominium on 1 Jan 2017 and sold it on 1 Jun 2018 for $1,550,000. His 3-bedroom condo was valued at $1,520,000.

Case 2: Seller Stamp Duty for Condo Sold 28 Months Later

Mr. Lim bought a similar condominium on 1 Apr 2017 and sold it on 1 Aug 2019 for $1,550,000. Like Mr. Choo’s place, Mr. Lim’s 3-bedder condo was valued at $1,520,000.

If you look at these two cases, you’ll notice that waiting just one more year can make a huge difference. In the second scenario, he saved $124,000 by waiting 11 more months to sell his condo.


4. How do I avoid / get a remission for stamp duty?

Waiting out the minimum holding period is the main way to avoid the tax.

But there are also multiple scenarios in which you won’t have to pay SSD:

  1. You and your spouse are getting married and you each own an HDB flat. Either spouse can dispose of his/her respective flat without incurring stamp duty.
  2. You inherit an HDB flat but you already own a flat. You can pick one to sell off tax-free.
  3. You inherit an HDB flat but you already own a non-HDB property of your own. You’re required to dispose of the inherited HDB flat. No negotiations there.
  4. You return your  flat due to repossession or as a result of the Selective Enbloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) by HDB.
  5. You bought your flat from 30 Aug 2010 onwards and your flat was later on identified for SERS. However, you sell it on the open market before HDB claims it.
  6. You have declared bankrupt and are disposing of your residential property as a result (with prior approval from your Official Assignee, of course).
  7. You own residential properties that are claimed by the government as a result of the Land Acquisitions Act.
  8. You’re a foreigner. You won’t have to pay SSD when you sell your residential properties.
  9. You’re a licensed housing developer. You don’t have to pay the SSD for residential properties you developed.
  10. Public authorities like HDB & JTC, need not pay SSD when selling residential properties. Well, you can’t be HDB but you can dream.


5. When is the Seller Stamp Duty payable?

You’ll have to pay the Seller Stamp Duty within 14 days of signing the contract to sell your property. We detail the entire timeline & all the costs related to selling your property here.


6. How can I pay the Seller Stamp Duty in Singapore?

You can make payment via the e-stamping portal. Modes of payment include NETS, eNETS, cheque, cash card, cash, Internet Banking Fund Transfer (For POSB, UOB & OCBC account holders only), or Internet Banking (for the rest of the banks)

Concluding Thoughts

If you don’t urgently need those liquid funds, we recommend waiting out the minimum 3-year holding period. At minimum, this will save you tens of thousands — which could potentially be enough for the downpayment on a new place!

If you really need the money, you can always create additional income streams by subletting spare rooms. (Read also: The Newbie Landlord’s Guide on How to Rent Out Your Condo)

Bluenest – Your trusted advisor, all the time.

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