SARS announces abolition of stamp duty

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pretoria - The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has announced the abolition of the Stamp Duty Act with effect from midnight on 31 March 2009.

The Stamp Duties Act levied a duty on certain documents such as leases of immovable property and unlisted marketable securities, however, over the past few years the scope of stamp duties were whittled down until only property leases of over five years required stamp duties to be paid.

This is now done away with from Wednesday, 1 April.

The abolition forms part of the ongoing efforts to reduce the administrative burden on taxpayers and to simplify the tax system.

The scrapping of the Act is, however, not retrospective and taxpayers remain liable for stamp duties due up to 31 March 2009 and any outstanding stamp duties must still be paid.

Adhesive revenue stamps will only be demonetarised from 1 November to allow time for other government departments which utilise them to introduce alternative measures.

From November they may not be used for any purpose.

Holders of existing stocks of revenue stamps have until 31 October 2010 to claim a refund for the stamps from their nearest SARS branch.

Revenue franking machines will also be scrapped on 1 November and any value remaining on these machines can be refunded until 31 October 2010 at a SARS branch.

Procedures for the claiming of refunds were published in a Government Gazette on 27 March 2009 which is available on the Stamp Duty Page.