Understand tenancy stamp duty when renting a flat

Stamp Duty for Rental Properties: A Simple Guide

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Just moved to the sunny island of Singapore? Be assured, renting a property without an agent is pretty straightforward here, thanks to tight industry regulations.

Aside from the monthly rent, one of the one-off costs associated with renting a place is the stamp duty, which we shall tackle here.

What is stamp duty? 

Stamp Duty is payable on documents relating to leases of immovable properties in Singapore.

The duty on leases is payable based on the contractual rental or the market rental, whichever is higher, at the below rates.

Rates and computation

Average Annual Rent (AAR)Rates
AAR does not exceed $1,000Exempted
AAR exceeds $1,000
Lease period of 4 years or less0.4% of total rent for the period of the lease
Lease period of more than 4 years or for any indefinite term0.4% of 4 times the AAR for the period of the lease

Here’s a sample computation if your rent is $4,000 per month and the lease duration is 24 months.

Total rent $96,000
Stamp Duty Rate0.40%
Stamp Duty Payable$384

Who pays?

The party who is liable to pay the stamp duty is usually stated in the agreements. For example, if you rent a property, the tenancy agreement should state who is liable to pay stamp duty.

In actual practise, it is usually the tenant who pays for this duty.

How to pay?

Stamp duty can be paid using FAST (for DBS/ POSB accounts), AXS Kiosk, AXS Mobile, AXS Website, eNETS, GIRO, among other options. There is no instalment payment for this duty; it must be paid in full.

For more details about the payment options, click here.

E-stamping 

It used to be that a physical revenue stamp had to be attached to or impressed upon a document to show that stamp duty had been paid before the document was legally effective. Not anymore.

e-Stamping has replaced adhesive stamps for a while now and gives users the convenience of stamping documents at home, in the office or at the service bureaus. There is no subscription or transaction fee to do this – all you need to do is key in your document details and the system will calculate the stamp duty that needs to be paid.

To pay, you will need an existing bank account. The full amount will be deducted through eNETS for a non-registered user (general public) or through interbank GIRO for a registered user.

All documents liable to stamp duty will have to be stamped through the e-Stamping system.

Where to e-stamp documents?

1. e-Stamping Online

The e-Stamping Portal allows you to carry out the following e-Services:

  1. e-Stamp your document
  2. Pay additional stamp duty
  3. Retrieve your stamp certificate
  4. Amend stamp certificate
  5. Request for refund
  6. Seek adjudication or appeal

2. Service Bureaus

SingPost has four Service Bureaus where you can get assistance to stamp your documents for a fee.

The locations and operating hours of the Service Bureaus are here.

3. Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s Taxpayer & Business Service Centre

You can also visit the IRAS Taxpayer & Business Service Centre to e-Stamp your documents at their e-kiosks.

These are located at the main lobby of Revenue House which is in the Newton/Novena area.

A stamp certificate will be issued once the payment is successful. To check the authenticity of a stamp certificate, visit the e-StampingPortal.

When to pay stamp duty

You are required to stamp a document before you sign it. If you sign a document before stamping, you must have it stamped within the following time frame without incurring a penalty.

  1. Within 14 days after signing if it is signed in Singapore or
  2. Within 30 days after receiving the document in Singapore if the document is signed overseas.

Penalties will be imposed on late payments.

In case you haven’t found your new home away from home, here’s a guide to condo renting. Want to rent an HDB flat instead? Check out this article.


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