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PRESS RELEASE

(Source : Government Information Centre)

Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 2002

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The Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill 2002, which seeks to amend the Stamp Duty Ordinance (Cap. 117) to provide a legal basis for an alternative system of stamping, was gazetted today (November 29).

"Under the proposed system, the Collector of Stamp Revenue may receive applications for stamping through electronic means and may stamp certain chargeable instruments by way of a stamp certificate. The new system helps to streamline the present stamping process, which is largely manual, by removing the need to handle the original instruments as far as possible. The existing stamping system will remain in use after the alternative method of stamping has been introduced," a Government spokesman said.

The new system of stamping is proposed to apply to instruments relating to property transfer and simple tenancy agreements, which account for over 90% of all landed property transaction-related instruments handled by the Stamp Office.

Under the proposed system, any person who wishes to stamp a specified instrument may submit an application in a form, paper or electronic, and make payment of the stamp duty chargeable thereon. There is no need to present the original instrument unless required to do so by the Collector.

Upon receiving the application and the proper amount of stamp duty, the Collector will issue a stamp certificate in respect of the instrument manually or via a new electronic stamping system. The stamp certificate will have the same legal status as a conventional stamp on the original instrument.

"It is an international trend to provide e-stamping service which is more user-friendly and efficient. We expect that the overall stamping time of property transfer instruments can be shortened from the current six working days to immediately after the duty is received by the Stamp Office when the new system is implemented," the spokesman said.

The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on December 11, 2002. If approved, the Inland Revenue Department will proceed to develop the necessary system with the target of implementing the new stamping service around mid-2004.

End/Friday, November 29, 2002

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