STAMP DUTY ACT

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

CHAPTER I

IMPOSITION OF STAMP DUTY.

2. Instruments chargeable with duty.

3. Instruments relating to several distinct matters.

4. Other enactments saved.

CHAPTER II

EXEMPTIONS

5. Exemptions.

CHAPTER III

TIME AND MODE OF STAMPING.

6. Time and mode of paying stamp duty.

7. Cancellation of adhesive stamps.

CHAPTER IV

HOW CERTAIN INSTRUMENTS ARE TO BE STAMPED

8. Only one instrument to be on a piece of stamped paper.

9. How instruments effecting exchange are to be stamped.

10. Contracts effected by correspondence.

11. Documents in legal proceedings.

12. Stamping of duplicate of certain instruments.

CHAPTER V

COMPOSITION OF STAMP DUTY

13. Composition of stamp duty payable on certain instrument.

CHAPTER VI

SPECIAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO DOCUMENTS FILED IN LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

14. Value of suits.

CHAPTER VII

VALUATION FOR STAMP DUTY

15. Valuation of stamp duty.

15A. Conversion.

16. How certain bonds or mortgages are to be charged.

17. Instruments reserving interest.

18. How consideration consisting of periodical payments to be charged.

19. Stamp duty where value of subject matter is indeterminate.

20. Drawing several instruments to avoid duty.

21. Certain agreements to be chargeable with same ad valorem duty.

CHAPTER VIII

DUTIES OF NOTARIES PUBLIC AND OTHER PERSONS

22. Conditions affecting instruments of conveyance.

23. Obligation to give receipts in certain cases.

CHAPTER IX

PERSONS LIABLE TO PAY STAMP DUTY

24. Duty by whom payable.

25. Liability at other parties for stamp duty.

26. Liability when company is wound up.

CHAPTER X

IMPOUNDING OF INSTRUMENTS

27. Power of certain officers to impound and examine instruments.

28. Impounded instruments to be transmitted to the Commissioner-General.

29. Instruments not duly stamped by accident produced voluntarily.

30. The Commissioner-General to deal with impounded instruments.

31. Endorsement of instrument on which duty has been paid.

32. Non-liability for loss of instruments sent.

CHAPTER XI

ADMISSIBILITY OF INSTRUMENTS

33. Admissibility of instruments.

34. Effect of non-compliance with this Act in case of certain bills of exchange.

35. One bill only of a set need be stamped.

36. Admissibility of receipts in certain cases.

37. Power of payer to stamp bills, promissory notes, cheques received by him unstamped.

CHAPTER XII

ADJUDICATION OF STAMP DUTY

38. Adjudication as to proper stamp duty.

39. Endorsement by Assessor.

CHAPTER XIII

APPEALS

40. Appeals to the Commissioner General.

APPEAL TO THE BOARD OF REVIEW

41. Appeal to the Board of Review.

42. Amount when final.

APPEALS TO THE COURT OF APPEAL AND TO THE SUPREME COURT

43. Appeal on a question of law to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court.

CHAPTER XIV

RECOVERY OF DUTY

44. Duty to include penalties, fines.

45. Provisions regarding payments of stamp duty.

46. Duty to be a first charge.

47. Notice to defaulter.

48. Recovery of duty by seizure and sale.

49. Proceedings for recovery before a Magistrate.

50. Recovery of duty out of debts.

51. Recovery of amount from persons leaving Sri Lanka.

52. Use of more than one means of recovery.

53. Power to obtain information for the recovery of duty.

CHAPTER XV

ALLOWANCES FOR STAMPS AND
REFUND OF STAMP DUTY

54. Allowances for unused and spoiled stamps.

55. Stamp duty or penalty paid inadvertently.

CHAPTER XVI

OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

56. Penalty for executing instruments not duly stamped.

56A. Forging of stamps.

57. Penalty for issue of share certificate or warrant not duly stamped.

58. Notary public failing to act in accordance with provisions of this Act.

59. Penalty for defrauding State.

59A. Non compliance with notice under section 53 or section 64A.

60. Amount of stamp duty or penalty to be payable notwithstanding any proceeding for penalties.

61. Institution of prosecutions.

62. Power of the Commissioner-General to compound offences.

CHAPTER XVII

ADMINISTRATION

63. Officers.

CHAPTER XVIII

GENERAL

64. Signature, service and validity of notice.

64A. Power to call for information.

65. Exercise of discretions in regard to penalties.

66. Persons paying duty or penalty may recover same in certain instances.

67. Orders.

68. Stamp Ordinance not to apply to instruments executed on or after the appointed date.

69. Regulations.

70. Amendments to certain enactments.

71. Interpretation.

43 of 1982,

71 of 1988,

27 of 1991,

29 of 1993,

63 of 1993,

6 of 1996,

38 of 1996,

25 of 1999,

27 of 2000,

11 of 2002,

12 of 2006.

AN ACT to provide for the imposition of Stamp Duty on instruments and documents and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

[Date of Commencement: 14th December, 1982]

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Stamp Duty Act.

CHAPTER I

IMPOSITION OF STAMP DUTY

2. Instruments chargeable with duty.

There shall be charged on—

(a) every instrument which is executed, drawn or presented in Sri Lanka;

(b) every document presented or filed, in civil proceedings instituted in the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal or a District Court or in admiralty or civil proceedings instituted in the High Court or civil proceedings instituted in any other court created or established by law;

[S 2(b) am by s 2 of Act 71 of 1988.]

(c) every bill of exchange, cheque or promissory note drawn outside Sri Lanka and accepted or paid or presented for acceptance or payment or endorsed, transferred or otherwise negotiated in Sri Lanka;

(d) every instrument (not being a bill of exchange, cheque or promissory note) executed outside Sri Lanka and received in Sri Lanka, being an instrument which relates to any property situated, or any matter or thing done, or to be done, in Sri Lanka; a stamp duty at the prescribed rate. Different rates may be prescribed in respect of different classes or categories of instruments;

[S 2(d) am by s 2 of Act 27 of 1991.]

(e) every document in relation to any transaction which a person enters into with any bank in Sri Lanka for the withdrawal or transfer of money.

[S 2(e) ins by s 2 of Act 27 of 1991.]

3. Instruments relating to several distinct matters.

Any instrument comprising or relating to several distinct matters shall be chargeable with the aggregate amount of stamp duty that would have been chargeable had each of such matters been dealt with by a separate instrument.

4. Other enactments saved.

Nothing in this Act shall affect or be deemed to affect any provision of law providing for the stamping of any instrument or document or the exemption of any instrument or document from stamp duty.

[S 4 am by s 3 of Act 71 of 1988.]

CHAPTER II

EXEMPTIONS

5. Exemptions.

The following instruments and documents shall be exempt from the payment of stamp duty—

(1) affidavit or affirmation made on the request of any public officer or in compliance with any requirement imposed by any written law;

(2) agreement or covenant secured by a mortgage contained in the same instrument therewith, such instrument being duly stamped as a mortgage;

(3) agreement to marry, not containing any settlement or transfer of property;

(4) bail bond in criminal proceedings;

(5) bond or mortgage made in pursuance of covenants or other agreements in that behalf, contained in some other instrument, and without additional money consideration, if such other instrument has been stamped with an ad valorem stamp duty on the amount of the consideration for such bond or mortgage;

(6) bond of indemnity given to a public officer in the execution of his duty;

(7) bond or mortgage given by any public officer or his sureties for the due execution of his office;

(8) cheque drawn by any person in the service of the State in the execution of his duties;

(8A) document in relation to a transaction entered into with any bank for the transfer of money from an account in the name of a person to another account in the name of the same person in such bank;

[S 5(8A) ins by s 3 of Act 27 of 1991.]

(9) conveyance or transfer by the Government or by any person, for or on behalf of the Movement where no consideration was received;

[S 5(9) am by s 3 of Act 27 of 1991.]

(10) debenture issued by a company or other corporate body in terms of a mortgage deed, duly stamped in respect of the full amount of debenture to be issued thereunder, whereby the company or body borrowing makes over, in whole or in part, their property to the trustee for the benefit of the debenture holder:

Provided that the debenture so issued is expressed to be issued in terms of that mortgage deed;

(11) deed of partition of any land held in common;

(12) instrument, other than an application for a letter of credit made to an approved credit agency, trust receipt or a letter of trust or declaration of a trust in respect of corporal movables in favour of any such agency or any contract mentioned in paragraph (ee) of section 24, executed by, or on behalf of, or in favour of, the Government in cases where, but for this exemption, the Government would be liable to pay the duty chargeable in respect of such instrument;

[S 5(12) am by s 4 of Act 71 of 1988.]

(13) instrument executed by, or on behalf of, or in favour of, the Government of any country, being a country in respect of which an Order under section 67(3) is in force;

(14) the following documents filed in legal proceedings—

(a) all documents filed in Magistrates' Courts and Primary Courts and all documents filed for the purposes of criminal proceedings in any other court;

(b) documents filed in any court, by public officers suing, or being sued or intervening, virtue official, in any proceedings in such court;

(c) documents filed in any court, by a person duly admitted to sue, defend or intervene, as a pauper in any proceedings instituted in such court;

(d) documents filed in any court, by a person applying to be declared as insolvent by such court;

(e) all documents filed in any court for the purposes of an application for an order in the nature of a writ of habeas corpus;

(ee) all documents filed by or on behalf of any person, who is certified by a prescribed officer as suing, defending or intervening with legal aid provided under The Legal Aid Law, No. 27 of 1978;

[S 5(14)(ee) ins by s 4 of Act 71 of 1988.]

(eee) all documents filed in any court by, or on behalf of any person claiming damages arising from death or damage caused by a motor vehicle; and

[S 5(14)(eee) ins by s 4 of Act 71 of 1988.]

(f) motions filed in any court;

(g) warrants issued by any court, whether on application or on its own motion;

(15) letter of credit, whether in sets or not, sent by any person in Sri Lanka to any person outside Sri Lanka authorising drafts on Sri Lanka;

(16) mortgage of food crops;

(17) receipts given for money or securities for money deposited in a bank;

(18) receipt or discharge given for any money or other property amounting to less than one hundred rupees;

(19) share certificate issued upon a sub-division or consolidation of existing shares in any company;

(20) share certificate issued in lieu of share certificate lost or destroyed, or new share certificate for a greater or less number of shares in lieu of existing share certificates but not exceeding the value of the existing share certificates;

(20A) share certificate issued in respect of any share, in any quoted public company or the Credit Information Bureau of Sri Lanka, established by the Credit Information Bureau of Sri Lanka Act, No. 18 of 1990;

[S 5(20A) subs by s 2 of Act 29 of 1993; am by s 2 of
Act 63 of 1993; s 2 of Act 38 of 1996.]

(20B) instrument executed for the transfer of any share, in any quoted public company or the Credit Information Bureau of Sri Lanka, established by the Credit Information Bureau of Sri Lanka Act, No. 18 of 1990;

[S 5(20B) subs by s 2 of Act 29 of 1993; am by s 2 of
Act 63 of 1993; s 2 of Act 38 of 1996.]

(20C) convertible debenture certificate or such other instrument of a similar character as shall be determined by the Minister, issued in respect of any convertible debenture or other convertible security as the case may be, in any quoted public company and any instrument executed for the transfer of such debenture or of such other convertible security, where such sue was made or transfer was deem or after April 21, 1993; and

[S 5(20C) ins by s 2 of Act 29 of 1993.]

(21) will, testament or codicil, whether notarial or otherwise.

(22) instrument executed in pursuance of the provisions of the Farmers Pension and Social Security Benefit Scheme Act, No. 12 of 1987.

[S 5(22) ins by s 4 of Act 71 of 1988.]

(23) certificate of deposit (other than any such certificate which bears the name of the depositor or his nominee) issued on or after April 1, 1993 for a period not less than four years and which is not enchased at any time prior to the expiry of that period.

[S 5(23) ins by s 2 of Act 29 of 1993.]

(24) debt security or any instrument executed for the sale or transfer of a debt security;

[S 5(24) subs by s 2 of Act 25 of 1999.]

(25) instrument executed by, or on behalf of, or in favour of, a registered co-operative society within the meaning of the Co-operative Societies Law, No. 5 of 1972, or document filed in a court of law in pursuance of the provisions of section 59 of that Law; and

[S 5(25) ins by s 2 of Act 6 of 1996.]

(26) instrument executed by a member of a registered co-operative society within the meaning of the Co-operative Societies Law, No. 5 of 1972, in favour of, and relating to the business of, such registered society.

[S 5(26) ins by s 2 of Act 6 of 1996.]

(27) repurchase agreement, relating to Treasury Bills or Government Securities entered into with any primary dealer.

[S 5(27) ins by s 2 of Act 25 of 1999.]

(28) a forward contract between a buyer and a seller, for the sale of agricultural produce;

[S 5(28) ins by s 2 of Act 27 of 2000.]

(29) a bill of exchange or inland bill of exchange drawn in connection with a contract referred to in paragraph (28).

[S 5(29) ins by s 2 of Act 27 of 2000.]

CHAPTER III

TIME AND MODE OF STAMPING.

6. Time and mode of paying stamp duty.

(1) The stamp duty with which any instrument is chargeable shall be paid before or at the time of execution of the instrument and such payment shall be indicated on such instrument by means of adhesive stamps or impressed stamps except as otherwise permitted in this Act.

(2) The following instruments shall be deemed to have been stamped before or at the time of execution of the instrument—

(a) share transfers executed in Sri Lanka which are stamped within one month of execution;

(b) any instrument, not being a bill of exchange, cheque or promissory note, executed out of Sri Lanka which is stamped within one month after it has been first received in Sri Lanka;

(c) any bill of exchange, cheque or promissory note drawn or made out of Sri Lanka which is stamped before the first holder of such instrument presents it in Sri Lanka for acceptance or payment or otherwise negotiates it;

[S 6(2)(c) am by s 3 of Act 29 of 1993.]

(d) a certificate of deposit referred to in paragraph (23) of section 5 of this Act, and which is enchased prior to the expiry of the period referred to therein and stamped on the date of such encashment.

[S 6(2)(d) ins by s 3 of Act 29 of 1993.]

(3) Where it is not practicable to use adhesive or impressed stamps, to indicate the payment of the stamp duty with which such instrument is chargeable, the Commissioner-General may, on payment to him of an amount equal to the stamp duty with which such instrument is chargeable, endorse on the instrument the amount paid and date of payment of such duty. An instrument so endorsed shall be deemed to be duly stamped.

7. Cancellation of adhesive stamps.

(1) Where the payment of stamp duty with which an instrument is chargeable is indicated by means of an adhesive stamp the person executing such instrument or in the case of a notarially executed instrument, the notary and the person or any one of the persons executing such instrument shall cancel the stamp by writing his name or their names respectively across and initialing it in ink so as not to admit of it being used again.

(2) Where an instrument executed outside Sri Lanka has been duly stamped, a person referred to in section 25(2) shall cancel the adhesive stamp affixed on such instrument by writing his name across and initialing it in ink so as not to admit of it being used again.

(3) Where an instrument boars an adhesive stamp of the value of fifty rupees or more such stamp, shall, in addition to the writing referred to in subsection (1) or (2), be cancelled by cutting it with a prick, punch, cutter or nipper.

(4) Any instrument bearing an adhesive stamp which has not been cancelled in the manner set out in subsections (1), (2) or (3) shall be deemed to be unstamped to the extent of the value of that stamp.

[S 7 subs by s 5 of Act 71 of 1988.]

CHAPTER IV

HOW CERTAIN INSTRUMENTS ARE TO BE STAMPED

8. Only one instrument to be on a piece of stamped paper.

No second instrument chargeable with stamp duty shall be written upon a piece of stamped paper upon which an instrument chargeable with duty has already been written:

Provided that nothing in this section shall prevent any endorsement which is duly stamped or is not chargeable with stamp duty being made upon any instrument for the purpose of transferring any right created or evidenced thereby or of acknowledging the receipt of any money or goods the payment or delivery of which is secured thereby or for extending the time for payment of a bill of exchange or promissory note.

9. How instruments effecting exchange are to be stamped.

Where there are several instruments of conveyance or transfer for effecting an exchange of property, the instrument first executed shall be stamped with the stamp duty, if any, with which such exchange is, chargeable, and all the other instruments shall be stamped with a stamp duty of five rupees:

Provided, however, that the preceding provisions; of this section shall not apply to any such subsequent instrument executed after a period of three months from the date on which the first instrument was executed.

10. Contracts effected by correspondence.

Where a contract of agreement of any kind is effected by correspondence consisting of two or more letters, and any one of the letters bears a stamp of the proper value the contract or agreement shall be deemed to be duly stamped.

11. Documents in legal proceedings.

Every document filed in any legal proceedings and chargeable with stamp duty shall be treated as duly stamped if the proper duty payable on every such document is affixed to the list of such documents and cancelled in the manner provided for in this Act.

12. Stamping of duplicate of certain instruments.

Where any instrument chargeable with stamp duty (not being a draft, order, or promissory note for the payment of money or a receipt or discharge for or upon the payment of money) is executed or acknowledged before a notary public or fiscal in the execution of his office, the stamp duty chargeable on such instrument shall be chargeable on the duplicate or counterpart thereof, instead of on the original instrument and the original instrument shall bear a stamp or stamps to the value of one rupee.

[S 12 am by s 6 of Act 71 of 1988.]

CHAPTER V

COMPOSITION OF STAMP DUTY

13. Composition of stamp duty payable on certain instrument.

(1) The Commissioner-General may authorise—

(a) any person issuing insurance policies;

(b) any company issuing shares, whether such issue is original or increased or creating debenture stock;

(bb) any company supplying proxy forms to shareholders of such company;

[S 13(1)(bb) ins by s 4 of Act 29 of 1993.]

(c) any bank doing business in Sri Lanka;

(d) any employer making payments to employees who are liable to give stamped receipts in respect of such payments;

(e) an officer of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the High Court, a District Court or any other court created or established by law;

(f) any credit card company making payment on the presentation of a claim, demand or request;

(g) any institution encasing travellers cheques;

(h) any other person issuing instruments of a category having regard to the fact that it is impracticable or inexpedient to stamp instruments of that category at the time, or in the manner, prescribed by this Act,

to compound for the payment of the stamp duty payable, as the case may be, on the insurance policies issued by such person or on the shares or debenture stock issued or created by such company or on proxy forms supplied by such company or on cheque forms supplied by such bank or on documents in relation to any transaction which any person enters into with such bank for the withdrawal or transfer of money or on the receipt given by employees to such employer or on the documents presented or filed in any civil or admiralty proceedings instituted in such court or on any claim demand or request presented to such credit card company or on the travellers cheques encashed by such institution or on the instruments issued by such other person, on all or any of the following conditions—

[Am by s 4 of Act 29 of 1993.]

(i) that such person, company, bank, employer, officer, credit card company, institution or other person, as the case may be, enters into a bond with the Commissioner-General substantially in the prescribed form;

(ii) that such person, company, bank, employer, officer or other person, as the case may be, maintains a record as the case may be, of the insurance policies issued by such person or the shares or debenture stock issued or created by such company or on proxy forms supplied by such company or the cheques drawn or issued on forms supplied by such bank or the receipts given by such employees or the documents presented or filed in civil or admiralty procedure instituted in such court or the instruments issued by such other person;

[S 13(1)(ii) am by s 4 of Act 29 of 1993.]

(iii) that such person, company, bank employer, officer, credit card company, institution, or other person, as the case may be, remits to the Commissioner-General, at the end of such periods as may be specified by the Commissioner-General, the aggregate stamp duty payable, as the case may be, on—

(a) the insurance policies issued by such person;

(b) the shares or debenture stock issued by such company;

(bb) the proxy forms supplied to shareholders by such company;

[S 13(1)(iii)(bb) ins by s 4 of Act 29 of 1993.]

(c) the cheque forms supplied by such bank; or documents in relation to any transactions which any person enters into with such bank for the withdrawal or transfer of money;

(d) the receipts given by such employees;

(e) the documents presented or filed in civil or admiralty proceedings instituted in the court to which such officer is appointed;

(f) the claims, demands or request presented, to such credit card company;

(g) the traveler's cheques encashed by such institution; or

(h) instrument issued by such other person, during that period.

[S 13(1) subs by s 4 of Act 27 of 1991.]

(2) Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this section—

(i) any person making payments to one hundred employees or more in respect of their employment shall collect stamp duty payable on the receipts for such payment:

(ii) every bank, approved credit agency, institution, company or licensed stock broker shall collect the stamp duty payable in respect of every bill of exchange (other than a cheque), promissory note, trust receipt, letter of trust or declaration of trust taken by it every pledge in respect of corporeal movables made to it. every application made to it for a letter of credit (other than an application in respect of which a letter of credit is opened on or after April 1, 2000. solely for the purpose of import of goods into Sri Lanka from another country including imports on entrepot terms) every certificate of deposit issued by it, any one of the documents of payment presented to it in respect of any corporeal movable (being any corporeal movable in respect of which a letter of credit has not been opened with it), share certificate issued by it and the instrument effecting a transfer of shares in a quoted public company effected by him or it; and

(iii) The Director-General of Customs shall collect stamp duty on every invoice presented to him for the purpose of import of goods into Sri Lanka including imports made on entrepot terms.

and shall, in every such case, unless otherwise directed, remit to the Commissioner-General quarterly, within fifteen days of the end of each quarter ending on March 31, June 30. September 30 and December31 of every year, the sums payable as stamp duty during each preceding quarter, together with a certified statement of collection.

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