India: Uniform Stamp Duty for Financial instruments

November 19, 2018


Levying of duties on various transactions being carried on within the country fetch a significant amount of revenue to the Government which equips them with adequate resources to conduct the socio-economic welfare of the country by development proper infrastructure, education, medical facilities, agriculture, employment, etc. Various types of taxes are collected from the taxpayers which serve as the largest source of income for the Government to work for the betterment of the country. Some of these include income tax, goods and services tax, customs duty, educational cess, etc. One such tax is also Stamp Duty.

Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty is the tax payable on financial instruments such as bill of exchange or promissory notes drawn or made out of India on or after that day and accepted or paid, or presented for acceptance or payment, or endorsed, transferred or otherwise negotiated. It is regulated under the provisions of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 (hereinafter referred to as the “Act”). Non-payment of the due stamp duty as per the provisions of the said act entails penal liability on the defaulting party.

Government’s modification

Stamp duty’s amount varies from State to State and also property type i.e. old or new. The Government is in the process to devise a uniform stamp duty mechanism all over the country in respect of transfer of financial instruments. [1]

This step comes in furtherance to facilitate the ease of doing business in the country on the pattern of the implication of goods and Services Tax which subsumed various State and Central levies.

Differential composition of rates in terms of Stamp Duty often cause confusion amongst the tax payers and may lead to arbitrariness. Many entities may take recourse to the states offering lower stamp duty rate.

In order to tackle the problems attributable to the separate rates of stamp duty prevalent in different States of the country, the Government is formulating a uniform taxation system which will help the recovery of tax on similar business operations at a uniform rate. The process would require all the States to come on board and help in the amendment of the existing act. This would reduce the procedural hurdles for the various entities assisting them to carry out their routine activities, thereby contributing towards the vision of the Government for promoting business activities in India

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