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PRESS RELEASE

(Source : Government Information Centre)

New e-Stamping Service launched today

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The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) today (August 2) launched a new e-Stamping service for tenancy agreements, agreements for sale and assignments of landed properties (property documents).

People can now submit a stamping application, make payment of stamp duty and obtain a stamp certificate in respect of the property documents via the Internet at ESD website (www.esd.gov.hk).

An IRD spokesman said stamping was traditionally a manual process with the imprinting of a stamp on an original instrument. It is comparatively costly and time consuming.

"To improve efficiency, IRD is offering an electronic stamping service to the public which provides a more convenient and faster alternative to the traditional manual stamping service," the spokesman said.

"E-stamping is very safe. End-to-end encryption methodology is adopted to ensure data security and secrecy in the course of transmission to IRD."

Applicants may submit stamping applications for property documents via the Internet instead of delivering the original instruments in person to IRD. Instant stamping is now possible after online payment of stamp duty. For tenancy agreements, the relevant statutory notification to the Rating and Valuation Department can also be submitted online in one go.

To facilitate concurrent use of e-Stamping service by staff of bulk users (e.g. solicitor firms, property agency companies etc.), they can apply for E-Stamp Accounts free of charge as a new means of authentication. The application form for E-Stamp account can be downloaded from IRD website (www.ird.gov.hk). For individuals, they can use their Taxpayer Identification Number and Password for authentication when using the new service. Digital certificates are also acceptable.

The Stamp Duty (Amendment) Ordinance 2003, which introduces the electronic mode of stamping, was passed by the Legislative Council in June, 2003, and comes into operation today. An instrument is properly stamped if a stamp certificate has been issued in respect of it. A stamp certificate has the same legal status as a conventional stamp.

Details of the new service are available at IRD website (www.ird.gov.hk).

Ends/Monday, August 2, 2004

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