Property owners forced to sell by court orders and people transferring home ownership to siblings will be exempted from the additional stamp duty introduced by the government to curb property speculation.
The government has agreed that the exemptions should be added to proposals being studied by a Legislative Council bills committee.
Under the special stamp duty measure, announced on November 19, homes sold within two years of being purchased will incur a stamp duty of 5 to 15 per cent, in addition to the existing stamp duty, capped at 4.25 per cent.
The initial announcement said transfers of property ownership between associated companies, spouses, and parents and children would be exempt.
'It is in line with our anti-taxevasion policy. We agree that the transfer of property ownership among siblings can be exempted because the relations of siblings are easy to verify and there is a low chance of the system being abused through this exemption,' Annette Lee Lai-yee, deputy secretary for transport and housing, told legislators at the bills committee meeting yesterday.
Properties sold involuntarily by court order would also be exempted, she said. This would cover the minority owners of buildings who are forced to sell their flats by the Land Tribunal to facilitate redevelopment.
But the government has refused to set up an appeals mechanism for the special stamp duty, which lawmakers have been demanding. 'It is not feasible and will create loopholes for tax evasion,' Lee said.
People selling their properties due to bankruptcy and businesses doing so due to involuntary winding up were already exempted under the original legislative proposal.
Under the new rules to curb property speculation, property owners could pay stamp duty of up to: 15%