Estate Duty

Posted in Labels:

Estate Duty is a tax imposed on the open market value of all movable and immmovable property in Singapore that is passed on upon the death of a person. In the case where the deceased is domiciled in Singapore at the time of death, estate duty is also payable on all movable property outside of Singapore. The word 'domicile' is not defined in the Estate Duty Act and can be taken to refer to people who intend to live permanently in the country.

The chargeable property that is passed on at death includes:

  • property which the deceased was competent to dispose of at the time of death;
  • property in which the deceased had a life interest;
  • gifts made within five years or 12 months of death in the case of gifts for public or charitable purposes;
  • property which at any time belonged absolutely to the deceased but which the deceased has transferred to a joint investment;
  • life assurance made for the benefit of a donor;
  • annuity purchased by the deceased;
  • settlements with reservations
The following are allowable deductions:
  • legally enforceable debts incurred by the deceased. If neither the Executor nor anyone else is liable to repay the debt, nor is it charged to any property, then no deduction is allowed;
  • funeral expenses not exceeding $1000 or 5 percent of the ascertained value of the estate, which ever is the smaller;
  • income tax payable by the deceased on the income arising up to the date of death;
  • foreign duty paid on property situated overseas. Duty paid in a non-Commonwealth country is deductible from the value of that property chargeable to Singapore estate duty. Duty paid in a Commonwealth country is allowed as a credit against the estate duty payable in Singapore on the same property;
Many types of property are exempt from estate duty. They include:
  • annuities of less than $200;
  • pensions granted under teh Widows' and Orphans' Pension Act;
  • deposits and balances with the Asian Currency Units of approved banks;
  • negotiable certificates of deposits issued by the Asian Currency Units of approved banks;
  • Asian Dollar bonds and government bonds, stocks and securities;
  • gold deposited with approved banks, deposits and balances in gold savings accounts with approved banks, deposits and balances in gold savings accounts with approved banks and gold certificates issued by approved banks;
  • deposits and balances with members of SIMEX;
  • gifts to the National Museum in the lifetime of the deceased;
  • bequests made to the National University of Singapore, Institute of Certified Accountants of Singapore, Board of Legal Education and the Law Society of Singapore;
  • any number of residential properties up to a maximum aggregate value of $9million;
  • full balance with the CPF;
  • the first $600000 of property otherwise chargeable to duty or the balance in the deceased's CPF account, whichever is the greater.