ABSD boosts taxman's collection

By Romesh Navaratnarajah:Over half a billion dollars was collected by the taxman from additional stamp duties for property purchases, of which S$450 million came from the additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) introduced last December, according to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

In a Straits Times report, IRAS noted that S$51 million was contributed by the seller's stamp duty (SSD), which was imposed in February 2010.

On the other hand, S$2.5 billion in stamp duties was collected from sale and purchase agreements (SPA) for the full year ended 31 March last year.

Of the ABSD's share, approximately S$261 million was attributed to non-PR foreigners who bought around 1,400 homes within nine months; representing one in four buyers who paid additional tax.

Analysts feel that the figures show renewed buying interest after an initial cooling period when the measures were first implemented.

Meanwhile, the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) Realis data revealed that non-PR foreigners bought 358 homes in Q1, representing 5.4 percent of private home purchases, while they accounted for 6.7 percent (637 units) of private home sales in Q2.

Nonetheless, the figures are still lower compared to the quarterly sales average of 1,369 foreign-bought units last year.

Ku Swee Yong, Chief Executive of International Property Advisor, noted that while foreign buying was affected by the ABSD, uncertainties in the global economy have led them back to Singapore.

"Singapore is still a safe haven, and for high-net-worth individuals, their goal of wealth preservation might have overridden their concerns of the ABSD," he added. Related Stories:Thomson Line spells boom for nearby propertiesPrince Charles Crescent site attracts 8 bidsForeign home buying sees slight increase in Q2

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