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HMRC internal manual

Stamp Taxes on Shares Manual

Scope of stamp duty on shares: stamp duty: basics of a charge: extent of the charge

Stamp Duty (SD) is a charge on instruments (documents) that transfer interests in stock or marketable securities. This covers:

  • instruments executed anywhere in the UK
  • instruments executed outside the UK that relate to UK property, or to ‘any matter or thing done or to be done’ anywhere in the UK

Foreign securities are therefore not exempted from stamp duty but in practice an instrument to transfer them would usually be executed and kept outside the UK and therefore not require stamping.

For the documents to be effective in law they must be executed (signed or sealed) by the appropriate parties to the document. For the majority of documents dealt with under the SD regime it is only necessary for them to be executed by the vendor (seller)

An executed instrument needs to be dated. From a Stamp Duty perspective this is because:

  • the duty payable is calculated by reference to all the facts and circumstances known at the date of the document
  • so that it can be stamped in accordance with the legislation in force at that date
  • so that it can be determined whether the document been presented for stamping within the time limits prescribed by law. Documents presented for late stamping may attract both a penalty and interest. STSM151020

Stamping is carried out by embossing stamps to the value of the duty paid on the instrument that attracts that duty. Documents that are chargeable with SD are not, generally, available for any purpose until they have been stamped STSM151010.