Cheok Doris v Commissioner of Stamp Duties

JudgeChoo Han Teck J
Judgment Date15 January 2010
Neutral Citation[2010] SGHC 17
Plaintiff CounselGan Hiang Chye and Harleen Kaur (KhattarWong)
Docket NumberOriginating Summons No 1263 of 2008
Date15 January 2010
Hearing Date11 September 2009,24 July 2009,12 November 2009,22 October 2009
Subject MatterRevenue Law
Citation[2010] SGHC 17
Defendant CounselFoo Hui Min and Jimmy Oei (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore)
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Published date15 January 2010
Choo Han Teck J:

This was a case stated pursuant to s 40 of the Stamp Duties Act (Cap 312, 2006 Rev Ed) (“The Act”) to determine, on appeal, the correctness of the respondent’s decision concerning an appeal to it by the purchasers in a rescinded contract of sale of a property known as 96 Sophia Road. The property consisted of a number of flats, but the contract was not an en bloc sale contract. The purchasers were the appellant and her husband Aw Cheok Huat. The purchasers paid a sum of $60,000 as option fee for the contract. The option was granted on 26 May 2004 and served on the vendor on 27 May 2004 after execution by the purchasers. The purchase price was $6,000,000. Disputes arose between the vendor and purchasers and on 27 August 2004 the parties settled by rescinding the contract and refunding the $60,000 option fee to the purchasers. However, the respondent assessed the contract of sale to be chargeable with a sum of $174,600 being the ad valorem stamp duty. The purchasers objected and argued that the respondent was obliged to refund the duty paid (the sum of $174,600 had been paid pending the outcome of the appeal to this court) by virtue of s 22(6)(a) of the Act. The respondent took the view that the duty was not waived. Section 22(6)(a) provides as follows:

Subject to subsection (7), the ad valorem duty paid under this section upon any contract or agreement for the sale of property shall, on application, be refunded by the Commissioner where the contract or agreement is later rescinded or annulled on the ground that (a) the vendor is unable to prove his title to the property

Mr Gan, counsel for the appellant submitted a technical argument as to why the vendor was unable to prove a good title in this case. The argument was advanced on the claim that the parts of the flats, namely, the designated family areas had far higher ceilings than the rest of the flats. However, the vendor had calculated the space where the floors were omitted to make way for those high ceilings and counted it as part of the total strata area. The purchase price thus included “empty space”. Counsel submitted that the vendor was unable to prove title in the void space. Indeed, that was the allegation against the vendor – that he had breached his obligation to deliver a good title. This might have been a fascinating issue had the dispute between the vendor and purchasers come to trial. The matter was settled without a determination of the issue in...

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1 cases
  • Cheok Doris v Commissioner of Stamp Duties
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 11 August 2010
    ...Act (Cap 312, 2006 Rev Ed) (“the SDA”) in connection with an aborted property transaction (see Cheok Doris v Commissioner of Stamp Duties [2010] SGHC 17). The proceedings in the High Court were brought in the form of a case stated dated 13 May 2009 (“the Case Stated”) under s 40(1) of the S......
1 books & journal articles
  • Revenue and Tax Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2010, December 2010
    • 1 December 2010
    ...stamp duty, if any, was it liable. 22.76 The High Court dismissed the taxpayer“s appeal (see Cheok Doris v Commissioner of Stamp Duties [2010] 2 SLR 371). Choo Han Teck J held she had not discharged the burden of proof on two issues: (1) whether there was an enforceable agreement; and (2) w......

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