About S$22 million in resale levies are paid to the Housing and Development Board every year.
National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said HDB receives close to 3,000 appeals to waive or reduce the levy every year.
Several Members of Parliament rose to ask if help can be extended to those who have problems paying the levy.
Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC Pritam Singh asked if the ministry would consider allowing the levy to be paid in instalments, especially for low-income families.
Mr Khaw said for deserving cases, HDB allows the levy to be incorporated into the price of the new flat, so it can be paid in instalments, or out of CPF.
MP for Nee Soon GRC Dr Lim Wee Kiak said the levy represents a significant barrier to home ownership, for some.
Dr Lim said: “I have a resident who sold his flat before that, and understood he was to pay S$46,000 in resale levy. But he booked a new flat last year, and was told he has to pay S$72,000. The reason is because there’s an interest rate accumulated to it. I hope Minister can comment on this, whether he can consider to harmonise this resale levy for the entire market, to see how to help those who have problems with the resale levy, to have home ownership.”
Mr Khaw responded: “It’s hard to harmonise because many have paid using the old formula. When policy changes it will not be fair to all those tens of thousands of people who’ve already paid on the previous formula. But we try to be as helpful as we can. Upon appeal, we have approved many such cases. We will have to take into account the family situation, circumstances, and there’re many ways to help them. Sometimes we reduce or even waive the interest charges, because if the transaction happened many years ago the interest charges can be very large. That’s where we try to help.”
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 5 Feb 2013