August updates

wow, just realised what i long time i haven’t actually blogged.  past few months have been quite trying; job wise not so smooth sailing due to the current weakness in oil price, hence  jobs have been far and few. (in fact, only once to the Middle East, but that didn’t turn out too well either) Hope things get better in the 4Q. Otherwise, income will be taking a pretty big hit for 2016

So let me see, what have i been doing for the past few months?

  1. tidied up up excel portfolio, currently trying to streamline. excel sheet is getting too messy.
  2. still contemplating if I should move my shares from CDP to SCB? (basically, to take advantage of the 0.18% comms. but the sucky thing is there is a 10.70 per counter for transferring in. still in discussion if can get SCB to waive that bloody charge)
  3.  divestment on my counters that ran up
  4. divested some CPFIS UT that i bought during my early working years
  5. took up rights issue
  6. bought some bonds
  7. due to restricted cashflow, could not invest in more counters than i wanted
  8. read up on couple of  books while at work/travel/nua-ing
  9. renewed my term life policy
  10. set up a tiny family portfolio, with contributions from interested family member
  11. identified a few potential 3 or 4-rm HDB resale


since it was my birthday month;

  1. treated myself to a Synology NAS.
  2. transferred $24,000 from OA to SA (in anticipation for my 55th birthday when i retire)


Dividends YTD: $18,088( cash+SRS)                                                                                                    not too shabby, but also nothing to shout about either. unlikely to have much improvement from last year, since most of the companies i am vested in have cut their dividend payout. still a long way from my immediate target of $36,000 p.a.

Total (stocks): $423,599.38
portfolio is in the red due to the O&G counters i am vested in

Total (CPF+SRS): $253,846.53
growing slowly but surely.


last but not least, thanks for Rolf  for your kind advice =)





Decoupling; Part II

well, there you go.. the ST article on the so-called loophole, though HDB refuses to admit that it was a tactic used by 6000 HDB dwellers every year, since the ABSD rule came into effect in 2012.

lets low ball this figure and assume only 1000 dwellers out of the 6000 every year, bought a modest $1m private property. A quick calculation will show that the $210m (7% ABSD) of  ADSB lacking from the tax coffers. The paper-pushing president scholar sitting in the housing ministry should be promoted for discovering this loophole and thus saving millions for the government.

I blogged a short post on this a few weeks back. Decoupling loophole; plugged.

HDB trsfr

Hedge on ABSD removal?

Signs of cracking in the developers market is slowly, but surely, beginning to show. This has appeared few times in the various papers and media in the past few weeks. And, goes to show how aggressive they are trying to push units out. As I have mentioned in my previous posts here and here. I kinda expected them to come up with ways to increase sales, and  I believe there will be more of such moves by other developers.

Below shows the strategy adopted by OUE to move units at their Twinpeaks. It is essentially the Deferred Payment Scheme from years ago: pay 20% upfront, and then worry about the 80% years later.

As you can see, in the below graphics, if the ABSD indeed gets removed with the 24/36mths, the owner will save easily a few hundred grand (depending on the size and what number of property he/she already holds)

Apparently, according to reports, after they launched this scheme, they managed to sell a few units based on this new strategy. Though it doesn’t say, whether the new buyers are buying for their own stay or renting it out.

so, are you actually tempted by this, and would you utilize this scheme to move into your “dream home”?

Decoupling loophole; plugged.

Chances are, if you know what “decoupling” is, you are  either a property agent or above a certain, ahem, middle age. =)

To put it very  simply, married couple (husband + wife) of HDB will have one spouse transfer the co-ownership to the other spouse. The spouse who transferred it, will have the his/her name “cleared”, and eligible to buy a private property under his/her own name. There will be no ABSD, since it is technically your first property. Hence a married couple can still own their HDB + private  property. (without paying ABSD)

Of course, you are solely dependent on each other’s trust,  don’t  end up in  divorce, and complicate the entire situation when time comes to splitting up the asset.  Personally, I don’t think couples who just got married, should consider this . (moot point now anyway, since the rule has changed)

I am not advocating any moves here. The purpose of the post is just to show how creative we , Singaporeans, are to able look for loopholes, and the Govt’s proactive approach to plug any loopholes that may benefit any particular group of people.

The above rules don’t apply to me, as  I am going down the same route as SMOL here =) hopefully, the oversupply of ECs will cause the Govt to open up the net and cater to the single citizens. ( doesn’t hurt to dream, isn’t it)

oh oh! time of the year (deductibles you may not know about)

“there are only two things in life that are certain – death and taxes”                                                           – unknown

Time of the year to file your taxes! I usually just claim the usually stuff, NSman, SRS, blah blah. Then, I came across this article by Ryan Ong:regarding income tax deductibles that you may not know about. I just regurgitate the article below,  in block quotes. Read below to find out more.

Personally, i found point #2 quite intriguing. I didn’t realise that you can claim rental income and stuff such as: Utility expenses that the tenants didn’t reimburse you for, including Internet access., fees paid to the property manager, if there is one (this includes property agents) – **ps: not sure if this include the one/half month commission to the agent? 

For those with a second property, depending on how much your property is being rented out for,15%  seems quite a hefty deduction, it should at least bring you to the next lower tax bracket? saving you a couple hundreds, perhaps.

For those who have actually done it in the previous years, if you don’t mind sharing with us, if it actually is true?


by Ryan Ong

INCOME tax in Singapore is straightforward. Most of the time, we fill in a form (or the boss does it for us), and pay whatever number the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) comes up with. If IRAS inserted a clause that signing off also means we agree to hand-scrub their toilets, we’d probably be cursing and scrubbing at tiles right now. My point: we don’t really pay attention. Here are some deductibles we often ignore:

1. Some of the expenses you incur from work can be deductible

If you need to spend money for work reasons – and your company doesn’t compensate you – you may be able to deduct this expenditure from your employment income. These are “allowable expenses”, and you should check with IRAS to see whether yours count.

There are three conditions that make something an allowable expense:

  • The expense was incurred while carrying out your official duties (e.g. a secretary paying a courier to deliver something for her boss)
  • The expense was not reimbursed by the employer
  • The expense was not capital or private in nature (If you treat your colleagues to lunch, that’s not claimable; if you had to treat a client to lunch, it may be.)

Remember that you can also make a claim if you weren’t fully reimbursed. For example: if you spent $800 on catering for an office function but you were reimbursed only $700, you can claim the remaining $100.

For travel expenses, you can make a claim for public transport only. However, you cannot make a claim for travelling expenses between home and work; only for the extra trips your employer requires you to make.

You need to make the claim under “Employment Expenses”, and you need to keep the receipts for five years.

No, that’s not as inconvenient as people seem to think. Just staple or glue your receipts into an exercise book; it takes five seconds. I’m as organised as a last minute hurricane evacuation, but I still have most of my receipts going back seven or eight years this way.

2. You can make claims for rental income

If you have a property that you rent out, your rental income is taxable. But there are costs you can claim for tax deductions. Some of the often overlooked ones include:

  • The premiums for fire insurance
  • Utility expenses that the tenants didn’t reimburse you for, including Internet access
  • Fees paid to the property manager, if there is one (this includes property agents)
  • Repair costs that occur while the property is rented

Note that, if you have a friend or relative paid to act as the property manager, you can still make a claim. However, IRAS will decide if you are declaring a fair amount based on the market rate. For example, you can’t claim that you pay your uncle $25,000 a month to manage the other tenants, in order to get a massive tax deduction.

You also need to have the proper paperwork, which shows you engaged the property manager. No verbal agreements, vague emails or scribbles on the back of a 4D ticket.

For repair costs, these cannot cover improvements. So if a tenant puts a hole in a partition wall, and you get an interior designer to re-do it as a $5,000 feature wall with hidden cabinets, it may no longer be claimable.

Alternatively, use a flat 15 per cent

You can now claim a flat 15 per cent of your rental income, plus loan interest, instead of making claims for all the individual costs (wi-fi, repairs, fees for the manager, etc.)

So say your rental income for the year is $50,000, and your loan interest is $8,000. You can claim a tax deduction of $7,500 (15 per cent of the rental income), plus $8,000 for the loan interest. That would give you a total tax deduction of $15,500.

The problem is that sometimes, your costs incurred can go above the 15 per cent. In the above example, if a tenant blows up your kitchen and causes $20,000 worth of damages, you obviously wouldn’t want to use the flat 15 per cent.

You’ll have to do some maths to see if it’s worth using the flat rate.

3. Tax deductions for charity donations have gone up

I bet you thought tax deductions for donations are dollar-for-dollar. You give $50, you get a $50 tax deduction right? It’s actually better than that.

In 2009, tax deductions for charity donations were raised to 250 per cent. It was meant to be temporary, but later the policy was extended to 2015, and then extended again to December 2018.

So for every dollar you donate to charity, you get a $2.50 tax deduction.

For 2015 (the year of SG50 celebrations), tax deductions for charity donations were 300 per cent instead of 250 per cent. This is valid for all donations made between January 1 and December 31 of last year.

You can check the Charity portal to see which charities qualify.

ABSD and QC charges (again?)

Updates from the previous post here.

What was interesting from the tables below was that the smaller property developers ie Hock Lian Seng (HLS) and KSH are in net cash for their debt-to-equity ratio (HLS was recently came under my watchlist. There was a bit of buzz around it but I will leave that for another post later)

Singapore Land (SL) has  two projects – Pollen & Bleu and Mon Jervois. These are in good districts aka atas area (CCR and OCR), hence selling price is beyond the reach of the masses. SL will take a ABSD hit in 2017 of 75% and 12% respectively of their revenue. (fyi, SL belongs to UIC)

Wheelock (WL) also has a few atas projects under its belt, Le Nouvel (dont understand why all these atas project need to have Le this or Le that. ), Ardmore 3, The crest.

Furthermore, the budget last week, did not have any goodies for the property developers, which they were, somewhat, hoping for.

So what does all these mean? For myself, I will be looking closely at the smaller cap property developers. I believe, some of the property plays have been beaten down and worth to take a look, although there are also some of them which actually did run up abit but whether they have more legs to run, will depend  in the coming weeks/months, and see what unravels.

ABSD and Developer’s Major Shareholders

These few months, i have been particularly interested in the ABSD and share buyback of the developers, for a couple of reasons.

  1. potentially looking for a good deal for a condo (in a hope of a fire sale, to clear their existing stock. unfortunately, this is an unlikely scenario in 2016. since the amount that they need to pay is probably not a lot, relatively. most of the fees are only due in 2017-18, so there is still plenty of time for the developers to sell their units)
  1. privatisation (from the last figure below. my opinion is that those owners with > 70% stands a high chance of it happening. e.g. HBL, GL, WL

so, any one working with developers got a super duper good deal for condos in the west? drop me an email =)