By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The stamp duty revision was finally passed at the legislature yesterday and will have its effective date traced back to January 1 of this year.
That means all real estate transaction contracts, no matter of whether the 0.5 percent tax for the intermediate transfer of title has been paid, that are made or finalised on or after January 1 will be subject to the new stamp duty structure.
The passage was backed by a majority of support. Among the 25 lawmakers attended the plenary meeting, 23 cast a favourable vote while Leonel Alves and Chui Sai Cheong abstained from voting.
The progressive tax rate from one to three percent relative to the property values will be put in use at a later time this month when the amendments are gazetted.
Real estate worth two million patacas or below will have a one percent stamp duty, over two million to four million patacas the tax rate will be at two percent, whilst for over four million patacas the stamp duty is set at three percent.
The second and final reading of the bill was withhold on April 2 as some lawmakers suggested that it violated the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Assembly.
The lawmakers said that the final version of the bill, which proposed a progressive stamp duty structure, contradicted to the one presented in the first reading in which a standard tax rate of one percent was introduced.
In addition, Tsui Wai Kwan, Leonal Alves and Chow Kam Fai said at that time that the newest provisions were unfair to middle class and wealthy people, because they were a “punishment for those who have a higher purchasing power to buy a more expensive property”.
A legislature special committee was then assigned to study the bill again.
On April 7 it cleared the lawmakers’ suspicion and announced that the bill did not breach the assembly’s Rules of Procedure.