DSF to revise stamp duty regulations to soothe landlords

The Financial Services Bureau (DSF) is planning to amend the stamp duty regulations in order to reduce pressure on landlords leasing their properties in the wake of the implementation of the new rental law.
Given that the new rental law extends rental contracts from two to three years, a DSF response to an interpellation made by legislators Chan Meng Kam and Song Pek Kei is that the DSF’s preliminary plan is to return the amount of paid stamp duty according to the ratio if the leasing relationship has ended prior to the expiration of the lease term.
The two legislators stated in their interpellation that landlords are not pleased with DSF that paid stamp duty is not to be returned to them when tenants decided to rent for a year or shorter periods while contracts were signed for three years.
Meanwhile, asked by the legislators whether DSF would consider lowering the taxation rate for housing, DSF replied in its document that there is yet a consideration of lowering the rate.
‘Owing to the achieved consistency between the current housing tax rate and other income taxes, with also the consideration of the balance of the taxation system, there is no plan of lowering the housing tax rate and related policy should be further studied,’ stated DSF in its reply.
Currently, the tax rate for property leasing is 10 per cent while the rate for non-leasing property is 6 per cent.