Buyer’s Stamp Duty Guide for Property Buyers: What It Is and How Much to Pay (Up to 4%)

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
Property in Singapore is not exactly what one would use the word “cheap” to describe. They are major financial transactions, and buyers will need to account for a variety of additional payments, such as buyer stamp duties.
As a buyer, you’re not just factoring in the cost of the property itself. You’ll also need to work out how much the associated taxes will cost.
These taxes are known as buyer stamp duties, and are payable to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). Stamp duties are taxes on documents related to either the purchase or lease of a property.
If you’re purchasing residential property in Singapore, these properties are almost always subject to stamp duties, with the occasional rare exemption.
Man holding model house and a stacks of coins
Buying property doesn’t mean having enough for just the property itself, since you need to account for Buyer Stamp Duty.

What Exactly Is Buyer’s Stamp Duty?

Buyer’s Stamp Duty, or BSD for short, is a tax levied on all purchases of property, even HDB flats, within Singapore. This tax applies only to the buyer.
The amount of BSD you have to pay depends on whichever is the higher of the following:
  • Purchase price of the property (as stated in the signed sale and purchase agreement)
  • Market value of the property (based on the property’s valuation reports)
Even if you manage to negotiate a condo unit valued at $2 million down to $1.8 million, your BSD rate will still be calculated based on the original $2 million, since it’s the higher of the two amounts.
It’s an offence to use a document that hasn’t had its stamp duties paid, and should you ever find yourself in court over any property disagreements, only documents that have had their stamp duties paid will be accepted as evidence.

How Much Is Buyer’s Stamp Duty Now?

For properties bought on or after 20th February 2018, Buyer’s Stamp Duty rates are as follows:
First $180,000
Next $180,000
Next $640,000
Remaining am
BSD is also rounded down to the nearest dollar.
For example, if you’re a Singapore Citizen buying a condominium valued at $2 million, your BSD calculation would then go something like this
1% of the first S$180,000
$180,000 x 1% = S$1,800
2% of the next S$180,000
$180,000 x 2% = $3,600
3% of the next S$640,000
$640,000 x 3% = $19,200
Remaining Amount of S$1,000,000
$1,000,000 x 4% = $40,000
So, the BSD payable would be a total of $64,600.
If the property you are buying is being sold for or is valued below $1 million, this is an alternative formula you can use to quickly calculate the BSD:
(3% x purchase price or market value) – $5,400 = BSD you have to pay
For example, a $500,000 HDB flat would incur (3% x $500,000) – $5,400 = $9,600 in Buyer Stamp Duty.
We also have a handy Stamp Duty Calculator if you need to work out duties payable.
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What Were the Changes to Buyer’s Stamp Duty in 2018?

Before 20th February 2018, the BSD rate was up to 3%, and it applied across the board, whether to residential or non-residential properties. As part of the property cooling measures introduced on 20th February 2018, BSD has been revised to add an extra tier of 4% for amounts above $1 million, for residential properties only.
The Buyer Stamp Duty rates for residential properties under $1 million, and for all non-residential properties, remained the same as before.
The 1% hike on Buyer Stamp Duty was meant to target big-ticket purchases, such as expensive private condominiums, bungalows, and land or en bloc property purchases by developers.
For those buying HDB flats that fall below or close to the $1 million mark, there would be little impact on your purchase.

Are There Any Other Buyer Stamp Duties I Need to Pay?

As a buyer, another stamp duty that you may have to pay is called Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD), which is one of the property cooling measures introduced by the government to prevent property prices from going sky-high.
ABSD depends on several criteria such as your residency status and how many properties you’re buying.
The core difference between ABSD and BSD is that while BSD is levied on every property purchase, ABSD only applies to you if you’re a foreigner or permanent resident. If you’re a Singapore Citizen, ABSD applies to you only when you buy more than one property.
  • For Singaporean Citizens, ABSD will be levied on the second property purchased, and all subsequent properties you buy.
  • Permanent Residents will have it levied on their second purchase onwards.
  • Foreigners and corporate entities pay ABSD on all purchases, including their first one.
Also, an HDB flat or property counts towards your first property in ABSD computation.
Just like BSD, the amount of ABSD you need to pay is based on the same factors. It’s based on whichever is the higher of the two: the property’s purchase price or market value.
One additional factor in the computation of ABSD is your residency status. The ABSD rate you will need to pay is factored on your nationality at the time of your property purchase.
By the way, when you sell your property, you’ll also need to pay Seller’s Stamp Duty or SSD. Check out our guide to SSD to learn more about this.

Are There Any Exemptions Where I Don’t Need to Pay Buyer’s Stamp Duty?

There are some instances where Buyer Stamp Duty won’t be applicable:
  1. Aborted sale and purchase of properties
  2. Transfer of HDB flat within the family
  3. Transfer of assets between associated permitted entities
  4. Transfer of assets upon reconstruction or amalgamation
  5. Acquisition of a residential property on, or before 19th February 2018 (the Option to Purchase is granted on or before 19th February 2018, and is exercised before 12th March 2018)
  6. Acquisition of residential land for non-residential development
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.

When and How Do I Go About Paying My Buyer’s Stamp Duty?

You have 14 days to pay your Buyer Stamp Duty, from the date of the execution of the sale. If the transaction happens overseas, the BSD will need to be paid within 30 days of the documents being received in Singapore. You can’t pay for the BSD in instalments, so you’ll need to make sure you have enough to cover the full amount.
Information that you should prepare beforehand includes the personal particulars of both seller and buyer, the address of the property, and the value/price of the property.
You can e-stamp and pay the duties using the corresponding e-form from the IRAS’s e-Stamping website, using eNets, cheque, or a cashier’s order. Other avenues to pay for your BSD include e-Terminals at the IRAS Surf Centre, and SingPost Service Bureaus.

Can I Pay My Buyer’s Stamp Duty Using CPF?

You might also be eligible to use your CPF to pay for BSD. You’ll have to pay for your BSD first, and then apply for a one-time reimbursement from your CPF account together with your application to use your CPF savings to buy the property.
A man holding on to a few late payment notices
You should always ensure stamp duties are paid on time.

What If I’m Late in Paying My Buyer’s Stamp Duty?

If you don’t pay your stamp duty by the deadline, the IRAS will take action against you. A Demand Note will be sent to you as a reminder when the payment is not made by the due date.
If you’ve missed the deadline, but it’s been less than three months, you’ll have to pay a penalty of either $10 or an amount equal to the duty payable, whichever is higher.
If your delay exceeds three months, then the penalty is whichever is the higher of the two: $25, or a whopping four times of the duty payable.
The IRAS may take legal action against you if you ignore the Demand Note and miss the stipulated deadline. They may also appoint your bank, employer, tenant or lawyer to pay it on your behalf.

More FAQs About Buyer’s Stamp Duty

How Many Percent Is Buyer’s Stamp Duty?

Buyer’s Stamp Duty is a progressive tax, so the more expensive the property is, the higher it costs. The BSD rate is 1% on the first $180,000, 2% on the next $180,000, 3% on the next $640,000, and 4% on everything else over and above this amount.

Can You Avoid Paying Stamp Duty?

In some instances, such as transferring HDB flat within the family, buyer stamp duty does not apply. But in regular property buying scenarios, you can’t avoid paying stamp duty as it would be considered tax evasion. The IRAS can take legal action against those who fail to pay their buyer stamp duty.

Can You Get Stamp Duty Back?

You cannot get a refund for Buyer’s Stamp Duty as it is levied on all property purchases. However, if you incur Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) in the course of moving to another home, you can get an ABSD waiver or refund provided you dispose of your additional property within the stipulated timeframe.

How Much Would Stamp Duty Be on a $500K House?

A $500,000 home would incur 1% on the first $180,000 ($1,800), 2% on the next $180,000 ($3,600), and 3% on the remaining $140,000 ($4,200) = $9,600 in total. Alternatively, you can calculate BSD on properties under $1 million by taking (3% x price) – $5,400, which works out to $9,600 as well.
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