Stefanie Yuen Thio was quoted in BT: “Property taxes are likely first stop for wealth tax review”

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News

1 March 2021

Stefanie Yuen Thio was quoted in BT: “Property taxes are likely first stop for wealth tax review”

Features Stefanie Yuen Thio

TSMP Law Corporation joint managing partner Stefanie Yuen Thio commented in an article published by the Business Times on 01 March 2020 on the transitioning of the economy as government support tapers off.

Increasing the annual property tax rate on larger properties could also be considered. She said, “If you can afford a S$30 million bungalow in Cluny Road, you can probably afford to pay more annual property tax on it.”

She commented that a capital gains tax on property sales is an option that would be easier to swallow than higher ABSD, since it would be paid at the point of sale and out of a profit.

Such a tax would target the foreign investors behind the recent spike in purchases of luxury properties and good class bungalows, making it a “subtle form of taxing foreign investment”, she said.

Besides property, other options include reintroducing estate duty and following a model of taxation used in the cantons of Switzerland.

She also noted that estate duty would help prevent wealth from becoming concentrated among a few wealthy families, and the government could exempt charitable donations in line with its efforts to encourage philanthropy through means like legacy gifts.

Additionally she agreed with the comments made by Ms Ramachandra of Deloitte and said that “A gradual imposition of taxes that target the super wealthy, so long as they would still be enjoying a more relaxed tax rate than in their home countries, would probably not be a deal-killer for foreign investment. But I would wait to see what other countries do in terms of tax so that Singapore isn’t a first mover in upping tax rates.”