Property Tax Act is an Act to provide for the levy of a tax on immovable properties and to regulate the collection thereof. In this post, I will share with you on how to determine if a property or an item in a property is taxable. I will share with you the determination of land, building and tenement as defined by the Singapore law. You will also understand the difference between a fixture and a chattel.

What is Land In Law Terms?

Land is an immovable and indestructible 3-dimensional area consisting of the earth’s surface, the space above it, the space below it, and everything growing on it or permanently affixed to it such as buildings and improvement. Chattels which are annexed to the land will become fixtures that form part of the land. Land includes:

  • Land covered with water
  • Airspace above the land
  • Underground space
  • Tree and vegetations and all site improvement on land such as building and fixtures

What Are Fixtures?

It is always hard to determine what is a fixture. It is also very controversial and depends on the situation itself. If you think about it all fixtures evolve from a chattel and it is because of these factors that it becomes a fixture. Here are some of the ways to determine if a chattel is a fixture.

  • The degree and purpose of annexation
  • Intent to be permanently placed in that position
  • Helps to promote the enjoyment of the land rather than the chattel itself
  • Amount of destruction/work needed if the chattel is removed
  • They are an integral and functional part of the land/property

Some examples

  • An item that is built-in to or affixed to the property.
  • A chattel that rests on its own weight but is intended for permanent and substantial enjoyment of the property/land
  • The chattel is the pith and marrow of the business conducted on the property
  • Item improves and enhances the value of the property

Is there any of such items that you know of?

Property Tax Charges

Section 6(1) of PT Act

A property tax shall .… be payable at the rate or rates .… upon the annual value of all houses, buildings, lands and tenements whatsoever included in the Valuation List and amended from time to time in accordance with the provisions of this Act 

Definition of A “Building” In Singapore

S2(1)- Building means any structure erected on land, and includes any house, hut, shed or similar roofed enclosure, whether used for the purpose of human habitation or otherwise, any slip, dock, wharf, pier, jetty, landing-stage, underground or overground tank for the storage of solids, liquids or gases, and any oil refinery

Deemed Buildings

S10(4)- Each part of a building divided laterally or horizontally into parts in such a manner that the owner, either solely or jointly with other owners, of one part is not also the owner either solely or jointly with the other owners respectively of any other part, shall for the purpose of this Part be deemed to be a building

S10(5)- Each part of a partially completed building divided laterally or horizontally into parts shall for the purposes of this Part be deemed to be a building if it is used for human habitation or otherwise.

This means that if there is a strata-titled property each strata title will be deemed as one building and will incur property tax for each unit.

Tenements Are Also Included In Property Tax

Halsbury’s Law of England states that “Tenements” meaning primarily that they are subjects of tenure although the word is not thus restricted”. Anything capable of distinct and separate occupation. Example of tenements are ATMs, Pushcarts, Advertisement panel.

Deemed Tenements

Prescribed Structural Networks are deemed tenements under S1A of PTA

Section 2(1) Definition of “structural network”

“Structural network” means a network (whether closed or otherwise) or any part thereof —

  • used or intended to be used for any propose, including for circulation, distribution, transportation or transmission; and
  • comprising one or more of any of the following:
    1. railway or rapid transit system lines;
    2. pipelines;
    3. cables (including those situate within pipelines, ducts or conduits);
    4. ducts; or
    5. any other type of conduit or channel,

including the settings and supports thereof and any related machine, apparatus or equipment.

PT(Prescribed Structural Network) Regulations 2008:

  1. Electricity System
  2. Gas supply System
  3. Water System
  4. Telecommunication System
  5. Rapid Transit System
  6. District Cooling System
  7. Cable Car or Chairlift System
  8. Any network by which any product, material, waste or utility is conveyed between –
    • plants;
    • any storage terminal and any plant;
    • any storage terminal and any jetty; or
    • any plant and any jetty;
    • whether such plants and storage terminals are underground or overground
  9. Any service corridor
  10. Any pipeline, whether underground or overground, by which fuel is conveyed to the fuel hydrant system of any airport (as defined in the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore Act (Cap.41))

The statues may change anytime as deemed necessary. The prescribed structural network number 10 was only effective from 1 Jan 2015.

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