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Big-ticket homes to feel harsher tax heat

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Owners of high-end homes will face higher taxes, with investment properties bearing the brunt of the increase.

In a shift towards a more progressive tax structure, the tax band for owner-occupied homes was expanded from the current 0 per cent, 4 per cent, and 6 per cent tax rates, to encompass a a wider range of rates, ranging from 0 per cent to 16 per cent.

Under the new tiered rates, an owner-occupied landed property in the central area with an annual value (AV) - estimated annual rent - of $150,000 will see an increase in property tax of $5,120 per year.

Marginal property taxes for residential properties that are not owner-occupied and, therefore, owned for investment purposes, will be increased to 12 per cent to 20 per cent, from the current 10 per cent.

At the high end, a landed property in the central area with AV of $150,000 will see an increase in property tax of $9,000 a year (60 per cent increase). Suburban condominiums, on the other hand, will see a smaller increase of about $100 to $300 per year.

Indeed, the more aggressive wealth tax means that the majority of owner-occupied residential properties will enjoy lower tax rates.

Specifically, some 950,000 owner-occupied properties will enjoy tax savings, with the widening of the 0 per cent property tax rate band from the first $6,000 of annual value, to $8,000. This means that homes with annual values of $12,000 (such as a five-room HDB flat) will experience tax savings of $80 (33 per cent of their current property tax bill).

All one- and two-bedroom HDB flats will continue to pay no property tax.

The new tax structure for residential properties will be phased in over two years starting from Jan 1, 2014. The revised rates will take full effect from Jan 1, 2015.

Separately, the concession which provides tax refunds on vacant properties has been abolished, and will take effect from Jan 1, 2014.

Credit from Business Times - 26 February 2013
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