stamp tax

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stamp tax,

method of collecting duties on certain transactions by means of a validating stamp attached to the taxable instrument, which may be a judicial act, a commercial document, a transfer of property, or law proceedings. Such a stamp is to be distinguished from a postage stamp, which is not a duty but a simple method of paying the government for a service rendered. Stamp taxes, apparently originating in the Netherlands, were introduced into England in 1694 and extended to the American colonies in 1765. Colonial opposition to stamp taxes contributed to the hostility against England that eventually resulted in the American Revolution. In the United States, stamp taxes, applying not only to legal and commercial acts but also to goods, were used to finance the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Today the federal government imposes stamp taxes on the issue and transfer of stocks and bonds, on deeds, and on playing cards.


See J. Due, Government Finance (4th ed. 1968); J. W. Pyke, ed., An Alphabetical Guide to Stamp Duties (1968).

Stamp Tax


a special government tax collected from individuals and organizations at the time of the official registration of documents concerning civil and legal transactions. The tax is collected through the sale of stamped blanks for drawing up documents or the sale of special stamps. It can be paid either as a set sum for each type of document (simple stamp tax) or in relation to the sum of the transaction decreed in the document (proportional stamp tax). The first stamp tax was introduced in the Netherlands in 1624. In Russia, a stamp tax was established by Peter I in 1699. In the Soviet Union, a stamp tax was collected after Feb. 16, 1922, and abolished by the tax reform of Oct. 1, 1930. A state tax is collected, however, when declarations are presented in juridical bodies.

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