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HMRC internal manual

Stamp Taxes on Shares Manual

Stamp Duty and SDRT Administration: Stamp Duty Administration: section 14 SA1891 - duly stamped

HMRC Stamp Taxes has no direct power of enforcement relating to stamp duty (though it does for Stamp Duty Reserve Tax) but an unstamped document cannot be relied upon nor can it be used for legal purposes. The effect of Stamp Act 1891/S14(4) is that an unstamped document cannot be used for legal purposes (except as evidence in a criminal action) if it is executed in the UK or if it relates to property in the UK or anything done or to be done in the UK such as registration of a transfer of ownership by a Company Registrar. Under Section 14(4) a document is not “duly stamped” unless it has been stamped with the proper stamp duty, penalty and interest with which it is chargeable.

Section 14 is supported by Stamp Act 1891/S17 which provides for a maximum £300 penalty for anyone who registers or records a document which is not “duly stamped” within the meaning of Section 14(4).

It is sometimes remarked that the assessment and stamping of a document is provisional unless and until it is formally adjudicated under the terms of Stamp Act 1891/S12 (see STSM012020). In practice, Company Secretaries, Public Servants and generally all persons having responsibility for recording and registering documents are prepared to accept the assessment of Stamp Taxes without the need for formal adjudication unless it is specifically required by legislation.