Property tax law amended to boost Smart Nation move

Oct 3, 2017

Chia Yan Min

Parliament yesterday passed changes to the law to allow more people to get property tax notices digitally. This is part of Singapore's move to becoming a Smart Nation, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah told MPs.

Existing regulations require taxpayers to explicitly consent before the Comptroller of Property Tax can issue them with digital tax notices instead of hardcopy notices.

Amendments to the Property Tax Act will allow digital notices to also be sent to taxpayers who did not opt out after being notified that they will get digital notices.

Amendments to the Income Tax Act were also passed yesterday.

One key change involves making it mandatory for businesses to maintain transfer pricing documentation with effect from the 2019 year of assessment. Transfer pricing documentation refers to records kept by businesses to show they have priced their transactions with related parties at the equivalent of what they would have transacted with unrelated parties in similar circumstances. This arm's length principle is an internationally accepted tax standard.

To limit the compliance burden for smaller businesses, this requirement will apply to businesses only if they have gross revenue exceeding $10 million and significant related-party transactions. This requirement is expected to apply to under 5 per cent of firms, many of which are already maintaining such records, Ms Indranee said.

Another change raises the maximum amount an employer can voluntarily contribute to his employee's Medisave account under the Additional Medisave Contribution Scheme. From Jan 1, 2018, the amount will be raised from $1,500 to $2,730 per year. Tax-exempt contributions and deductions will be adjusted accordingly.

Also passed were amendments to improve the administration of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act. The changes will see customer accounting extended to certain goods and services that have seen more GST fraud, such as mobile phones sold without mobile subscription plans, memory cards and off-the-shelf software.