Understanding Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD) for Residential Property in Singapore

January 20, 2022

An Introduction to Buyer’s Stamp Duty

When buying a residential property in Singapore, you need to factor in taxes in the form of stamp duties payable to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), on top of the price of the property you are eyeing.  These include:

    1. Buyer’s Stamp Duty (BSD).  This is payable for all immovable properties in Singapore.
    2. Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) if you have already owned, jointly or partially owned a property as a Singaporean.  For Permanent Residents (PRs) and foreigners, ABSD is inevitable if you are buying your first property.  
    3. If you are taking a loan as part of your purchase, then you will also incur Mortgage Stamp Duty, which is charged at 0.4% of the loan amount and capped at $500.

In this article, we discuss the BSD and mortgage stamp duty payable when buying a residential property.  If you already own a property, you need to add ABSD on top of the other taxes discussed here.  Permanent residents (PRs) and foreigners are also subject to different types of ABSD and rates.  You can proceed to read more in our article Understanding Additional Stamp Duty. once you understand BSD.

Categories of Residential Properties

BSD is levied on all residential properties in Singapore.  Residential properties fall under some of these categories:

    • HDBs including Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats, Executive Condominiums (EC), HDB terrace houses, etc…
    • Condominiums
    • Apartments
    • Landed properties
    • Shophouses, etc… 

Other types of residential properties subjected to BSD include those acquired properties through bloc purchase, purchased and leased (i.e., sale and leaseback), etc…


Amount of Buyer’s Stamp Duty Payable

The amount of BSD payable is calculated based on the higher of:

    • The purchase price of the property or
    • The current market value of similar properties 


Count as Residential Property

When and what exactly do the counting of residential property work? 

  • The count starts from the day of signing S&P to buy a residential property. If you have an existing property, you need to sell it off within six months of signing the S&P of your new unit for a resale unit or six months from TOP / CSC (whichever is earlier) if you buy a new launch unit from a developer
  • Partial or joint ownership of any local property will add to the count
  • Property held in trust goes into the count for the beneficiary. Example A is holding the property in trust for B. This property will count for B even though it is held in trust.
  • Purchasing of two or more properties in one contract.

How to Calculate Buyer’s Stamp Duty

As of 20th February 2018, the rate of BSD is:

  • First $180,000 – 1%
  • Next $180,000 – 2%
  • Next $640,000 – 3%
  • The remaining amount – 4%

We will use two examples to illustrate:

(1) Property less than $1,000,000

Suppose X wants to buy a resale HDB at $630,000.  Calculation for BSD will be:

  • 1% of the first $180,000 = $1,800
  • 2% of next $180,000 = $3,600
  • 3% of next $270,000 = $8,100
  • Total BSD: $13,500

Alternatively, you can use this formula If the property you intend to purchase is less than $1,000,000: 

3% Purchase Price – $5,400
= (3% x $630,000) – $5400
= $18,900 – $5,400
= $13,500

(2) Property at or above $1,000,000

Suppose Y wants to buy a new condominium unit from a developer at $1,800,000.  Calculation for BSD will be:

  • 1% of the first $180,000 = $1,800
  • 2% of next $180,000 = $3,600
  • 3% of next $640,000 = $19,200
  • 4% of remaining $800,000 = $32,000
  • Total BSD: $56,600

Alternatively, you can use this formula If the property price is at or more than $1,000,000: 

4% Purchase Price – $15,400
= (4% x $1,800,000) – $15,400


Or, just use our calculator here to do the math for you: 

Why Do You Need to Pay Buyer’s Stamp Duty?

It is illegal in Singapore to avoid paying BSD and the penalty is heavy if you are late in paying or caught by the Inland Revenue of Singapore (IRAS).

For missing the deadline to pay stamp duty and if less than three months, the penalty is $10 or the amount of your stamp duty payable, whichever is higher.  if you miss the deadline by more than three months, the penalty is $25 or four times the amount of stamp duty, whichever is higher.  IRAS may also appoint your bank, employee, tenant, or lawyer to pay on your behalf.  It is definitely not worth delaying the payment of stamp duties.

Finally, BSD can be used in court as evidence if there are any disputes regarding the purchase of the property,


When To Pay Buyer’s Stamp Duty

BSD must be paid within 14 days of signing the S&P. If the buyer is based overseas, he/she has 30 days to pay upon signing the S&P.


How to Pay Buyer’s Stamp Duty

  • e-stamp and pay the duties using the corresponding e-form from the IRAS’s e-Stamping website
  • eNets, cheque, or a cashier’s order. 
  • e-Terminals at the IRAS Surf Centre, and SingPost Service Bureaus. 


Using CPF to pay Buyer Stamp Duty

If you are purchasing a new launch, you can use CPF to pay for your stamp duty. 

However, if you are purchasing a resale unit, you’d need to pay for your BSD in cash first and then apply for a one-time reimbursement from your CPF account. 


Exemptions from Stamp Duty For Residential Purposes 

In a few cases, BSD could be exempted:

  • if the sale and purchase of a property is aborted 
  • if the transfer of property is a HDB flat within the family 

If your property purchase falls under any of these categories, you can write to the IRAS within 14 days of acquiring the property. 

You will need to send in a copy of the acquisition, the original letter of undertaking to comply with the remission conditions, and other documents or evidence necessary for the application.

Mortgage Stamp Duty

When you need to get a loan for your residential property (which most people will), mortgage stamp duty on the loan amount is payable.  It is calculated at 0.4% of the loan amount capped at $500.

Example 1: Loan of $100,000 is taken, mortgage stamp duty will be:

$100,000 x 0.4% =$400


Example 2: Loan of $300,000 is taken, mortgage stamp duty will be:

$300,000 x 0.4% =$1200 

In this case, only $500 is payable.