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PRESS RELEASE

(Source : Information Services Department)

Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 2012 to be gazetted tomorrow

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     A spokesman for the Transport and Housing Bureau said today (December 27) that the Government would publish the Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 2012 in the Gazette tomorrow (December 28). The Bill seeks to introduce Buyer's Stamp Duty (BSD) for residential properties acquired by any person (including companies) except a Hong Kong permanent resident (HKPR), and to enhance the Special Stamp Duty (SSD) by extending its coverage period and adjusting the SSD rates.

     "The Bill aims to implement the new demand-side management measures approved by the Chief Executive in Council and announced by the Financial Secretary on October 26 to address the overheated property market. Subject to enactment of the Bill, the enhanced SSD and BSD will be applicable to all residential properties acquired on or after October 27, 2012," the spokesman said.

     The adjusted SSD will have three levels of regressive rates for different holding periods:

(i) 20 per cent of the amount or value of the consideration if the residential property has been held for six months or less;
(ii) 15 per cent of the amount or value of the consideration if the residential property has been held for more than six months but for 12 months or less; and
(iii) 10 per cent of the amount or value of the consideration if the residential property has been held for more than 12 months but for 36 months or less.

The BSD will be charged at a flat rate of 15 per cent for all residential properties, on top of the existing stamp duty and the SSD, if applicable, acquired by any person or entity, except a HKPR.

"In drafting the Bill, we have taken into account views expressed by different sectors of the community since the announcement of the measures.

"Our policy intent is that the BSD should not hinder redevelopment. We have therefore put in place a refund mechanism for redevelopment projects in the Bill," the spokesman said. "There are also views that companies whose shareholders are all HKPRs should be exempted from BSD. However, after careful consideration, we conclude that it is extremely difficult to put in place a mechanism that can effectively plug all the loopholes identified. As such, we maintain that BSDs would apply to all companies in order not to compromise the effectiveness of the BSD," the spokesman said.

     The Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 2012 will be introduced into the Legislative Council on January 9, 2013.

Ends/Thursday, December 27, 2012
Issued at HKT 17:00

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