1. My 3 sons and I are the joint owners of a property. How should I state my share of ownership?
You should treat the total ownership as 100% and divide it equally amongst the owners. This means each person's share of ownership is 25%.
Please note a property ownership under joint owners (the legal term is "joint tenants") must be in equal shares as illustrated on the above example. While an ownership under co-owners (the legal term is "tenants-in-common") may be in equal or unequal shares. For example, you might own 40% and your 3 sons own 20% each.
2. I have received a Property Tax Return for a property owned by my parents and myself. My mother passed away on 1 August 2004. How should I complete the Property Tax Return for 2004/05?
The death of your mother gives rise to a change of ownership.
If your parents and you are the joint owners (the legal term is "joint tenants") of the property concerned, your mother's share of ownership will be passed to you and your father. In order to distinguish new ownership from old ownership, a new Property Tax file will be opened in the name of you and your father.
If your parents and you had owned the property as co-owners (the legal term is "tenants-in-common"), your mother's share of ownership will be passed to the beneficiary named in her will or according to the law of intestacy. Again, in order to distinguish the new ownership from the old ownership, a new Property Tax file will be opened in the name of you, your father and the personal representative / executor of the estate of your mother. When the legal title is passed to the beneficiary, another new Property Tax file will be opened in the name of you, your father and that beneficiary.
Two Property Tax returns will be issued for the year of assessment 2004/05. You should report the total rental income for the period from 1 April 2004 to 1 August 2004 in the tax return for the 1st ownership (before the death of your mother), and the total rental income for the period from 2 August 2004 to 31 March 2005 in the tax return for the 2nd ownership (after the death of your mother).
Suppose your father is not one of the owners while you and your mother were the only joint owners of the property concerned, you (as the surviving owner) will become the sole owner of the property on 2 August 2004. As the rental income of any sole-owned property should be reported in a Tax Return - Individuals (B.I.R.60) , the rental income from that property for the period from 2 August 2004 to 31 March 2005 should be reported in your own B.I.R.60.
3. My parents are joint owners of the property. If they are unable to write, how can they sign the Tax Return (B.I.R.57)?
If the owner is unable to write, the affixing of a name-chop, thumbprint or mark (such as "x") as the owner's signature can be accepted, if properly witnessed by a person aged 18 or above . The witness should sign and date the form, and state his/her full name and Identity Card number beside his / her signature.
An alternative to the above is that if you have a written authorization from the owners, you can complete the Return on their behalf. You should attach a copy of the relevant Power of Attorney or Letter of Authorization to the tax return if this is the first time you act as the agent or representative for them.
4. My spouse and I let out a flat and a parking space together to the same tenant at one lump sum rental. However, I received two separate Property Tax Returns, how should I fill in Part 4 of the Return?
You must complete and submit both Property Tax Returns. The rental income can be apportioned by reference to the rateable values per demand for rates issued by the Rating and Valuation Department.
5. My husband and I jointly own a flat and a parking space. The flat is let for rental income and the parking space is used for parking our own car. The Property Tax Return shows the location of property as consisting of both the flat and the parking space. How should we report this situation in the Tax Return?
When a flat and a parking space constitute a single unit of property and it is partly let, the owner should put a " " in the box against "Yes" in the top portion of Part 4 and report the rental income of the flat in Part 4.2 of the Return.