SINGAPORE — Owners of non-residential property will soon be required by law to pass on property tax rebates to their tenants.
The Singapore government will introduce new legislation at the next Parliament sitting, on or around 7 April, to place an obligation on property owners, according to a statement from the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on Thursday (2 April).
During his Budget and Supplementary Budget speeches last month, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat announced a property tax rebate of up to 100 per cent for non-residential properties, for the tax payable in 2020.
The rebate is intended to help businesses deal with the impact from COVID-19. For most properties, the 100 per cent property tax rebate works out to more than one month of rent. The rebate is granted to the owner of the property, who is liable for the property tax, in respect to each property tax account.
In his speech, Heng had strongly urged landlords to pass on the property tax rebate to their tenants by reducing rentals.
However, the MOF said they have received feedback that some property owners have yet to pass on the rebate to their tenants.
The ministry said that the proposed new legislations will make it mandatory for property owners to pass on the tax rebates in full to their tenants, and they must do so in a timely manner.
It will also prohibit property owners from imposing conditions when passing on the property tax rebate and allow a Valuation Review Panel, comprising members from the Valuation Review Board constituted under the Property Tax Act, to adjudicate disputes between landlords and tenants.
Property owners who fail to fully pass on the property tax rebate attributable to the rented property unconditionally to the tenant concerned, without reasonable excuse, will be guilty of an offence, the MOF said.
Details of the conditions for the passing of the rebate to tenants will be made available via the subsidiary legislation and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore’s website.
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