In an attempt to enhance conveyancing transactions, the Ministry of Law has launched new rules to simplify the payment of stamp duties and depositing of monies into conveyancing accounts.

Announced on 29 December, these additional rules aim to enhance the measures launched on 1 August to protect conveyancing monies from scoundrel real estate lawyers.

Effective 1 January 2012, the Singapore Land Authority’s (SLA) Electronic Payment Instruction (ePI) service will enable lawyers to automatically notify banks of the details of money paid into conveyancing accounts, rather than relying on hard copy forms.

In addition, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) will accept electronic stamp duty payments through the ePI service, which can minimise processing time.

“Hopefully, the new rules that take effect 1 January will help us save time and a lot of administrative hassle,” said Elsa Chai, Partner with Rajah & Tann LLP.

“After 1 August, law firms would usually request clients to issue a cheque payable to the Commissioner of Stamp Duty, and then bring the cheque to IRAS. After IRAS has cleared the payment, it will generate a certificate of stamp duty and send it electronically to the law firm’s inbox.”

However, beginning 1 January, stamp duties can be deposited into a law firm’s conveyancing account with designated banks and a lawyer can instruct the bank to make electronic payment to IRAS.

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