Exempt all first-time house buyers from paying stamp duty

THE Finance Minister had announced during his Budget 2019 speech that first-time house buyers can enjoy 100% exemption on stamp duty on residential properties if the sales and purchase agreement (SPA) is signed between Jan 1 and June 30.

It was good news for young people aspiring to purchase their first home. This good news was repeated by the Finance Minister sometime in January and reported in the media.

My son took advantage of this benefit and went ahead and purchased a house from the secondary market. On signing the SPA, the lawyer informed him that the 100% stamp duty exemption was limited to first-time purcha­sers who bought the property from a developer. 

I would like to know what is the rationale in limiting this exemption to only purchases from developers.

Is the government and Finance Minister interested in the welfare of the poor citizens or the developers?

Shouldn’t the first-time house buyer enjoy the exemption irrespective of whom he buys the house from?

With regard to real property gains tax (RPGT), is it fair to a property owner who bought it 10 or 15 years ago to be asked to pay tax on the profit derived from the sale?

He should be entitled to claim deductions on capital expenditure he incurred during the tenure of his ownership. 

How do you expect a homeowner to keep receipts of the capital expenditure after five years, when at that time RPGT was not applicable to homeow­ners who had exceeded five years? 

If the government wants to continue collecting the RPGT, then the law should be there so the buyer is aware.

Another unfair condition is that RPGT must be paid up front based on the selling price. 

House buyers should know the RPGT implications at the point of buying the property so they can make informed decisions accor­dingly.



stamp duty , letters , housing