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Property Inheritance in Singapore: Things You Should Know


To many of us, inheriting a property is akin to winning the lottery. Before you start celebrating your windfall, there are a few key points to take note. There are also different rules for inheriting a private property and a HDB flat.

Firstly, if you currently own a HDB flat and your inherited property is a HDB flat, you will have to dispose of one. No one is allowed to own two HDB flats concurrently. However, if you own a private property and you inherit a HDB flat, you are allowed to keep both properties if the HDB was bought without government subsidies before 30th August 2010. If the HDB flat is bought after that date or with government subsidies, then you must sell either the HDB flat or the private property.

If you decide to keep the inherited HDB flat, you must sell your private property within 6 months and you must also live in the HDB flat. But if you decide to keep your private property instead, then you must sell the HDB flat within 6 months, provided it has completed the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). In the instance that the inherited flat has not met the MOP, HDB will assign an officer to assist you.

Duties and Taxes

According to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), you do not need to pay estate duty with effect from 15 February 2008 if the property is inherited via a valid will, the Intestate Succession Act, or the Administration of Muslim Law Act.

If you decide to sell the inherited property, you may be have to pay Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD). If the deceased bought the property after 20 February 2010 and the property is sold within the stipulated holding period, you will be required to pay SSD. The holding period refers to how long the property has been owned by the deceased. The SSD payable varies according to the holding period and when the property was acquired.

However, if you inherit a property and you want to buy another property, it will be considered as an additional property and therefore, Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) would be payable in this case. For Singapore Citizens, buying another property after you inherit one would incur a 12% ABSD.

If you are keeping the inherited property, property tax is payable annually. Property tax is assessed as a percentage of the annual value of the property. The annual value is based on IRAS’ assessment of the market rental rate of your property. If the property owner-occupied, then the tax rate is lower.

Then there are also conservancy fees for HDB flats or maintenance fees for private condominiums. Condominium maintenance fees usually costs several hundreds of dollars monthly and can go up to above thousand dollars for some high-end luxury projects. These are all additional costs you have to be aware of.

So whatever you decide to do with the inherited property, be it a HDB flat or private property, bear in mind the duties payable, taxes and hidden costs that come with it.

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