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Demystifying Stamp Duty on Transfer of Shares in India

By - King Stubb & Kasiva on July 4, 2023

Stamp duty is a fee imposed on various legal documents, including share transfer agreements. It serves two primary purposes: generating revenue for the government and granting legal validity to the documents bearing its mark.

In India, the stamp duty laws are governed by the Indian Stamp Act of 1899. This legislation encompasses provisions, rates, and procedures related to stamp duty. According to the Companies Act of 2013, stamp duty must be paid for any transaction involving a transfer deed, whether it's the exchange or transfer of shares or a change in property ownership. It applies to a wide range of financial instruments, including debentures, promissory notes, bills of exchange, share transfers, associated forms, letters of credit, bills of lading, and proxies.

Applicability of Stamp Duty on Transfer of Shares

When it comes to stamp duty on the transfer of shares, it can be levied in a variety of situations such as:

  1. Stamp duty is levied on the transfer of physical shares, which occurs when the real share certificates are transferred from one party to another. This covers the sale or transfer of shares employing a transfer deed.
  2. Even if these shares exist in electronic form, stamp duty applies to the transfer of dematerialized shares. Stamp duty applies to transactions involving shares held in a dematerialized account and transferred through the depository system.
  3. Stamp duty is levied in cases of share transmission. When shares are transferred owing to a shareholder’s death or insolvency, the procedure is known as transmission, and it is subject to stamp duty. The shares are transferred to the lawful heirs or the chosen representative.

Calculation of Stamp Duty

Stamp duty on the transfer of shares is calculated using numerous parameters. The approach for computing stamp duty generally comprises determining a percentage of the transaction value or consideration involved in the share transfer. The applicable rate is established by the precise terms of the relevant state’s stamp duty statutes. Several factors determine the stamp duty rate such as the location of the transfer, the entity engaged in the transfer, and the value of the shares being transferred.

In general, larger-value transactions incur higher stamp duty rates. For example, consider a transfer of physical shares valued at Rs. 5,00,000 in Maharashtra, where the stamp duty rate for share transfers is 0.25%. In this situation, the stamp duty would be Rs. 1,250. (0.25% of Rs. 5,00,000). Similarly, a transfer of dematerialized shares worth Rs. 10,00,000 in Delhi, where the stamp duty rate is 0.1%, would necessitate an Rs. 1,000 stamp duty payment (0.1% of Rs. 10,00,000).

Stamp Duty Rates and Exemptions

Stamp duty rates for share transactions in India vary by state and union territory. Every jurisdiction has its own set of rates. There should be distinctions in stamp duty rates for intra-state and inter-state transactions. Some states may charge different rates for transfers within the same state vs. transfers between states. This is significant for people and businesses participating in cross-border share transfers since it affects stamp duty liabilities based on the type of transaction.

Concessional stamp duty is applied in specific circumstances, resulting in a lower rate of stamp duty payment. When a trustee transfers their security to a beneficiary, when a trustee transfers their security to another trustee, and when a bank transfers shares owned by them to their name, these are examples of such transactions. Individuals or companies involved in these instances may benefit from paying a lower stamp duty amount, providing some respite from the regular stamp duty payments.

Compliance and Procedural Requirements

Stamp duty payment and procedural requirements must be met for share transfer procedures to go smoothly. Several critical factors must be considered. Stamp duty is normally due before or at the time of the share transfer, with the particular payment timing differing depending on the stamp duty legislation of the relevant state or union territory. It is critical to meet deadlines and make timely payments to avoid penalties and legal difficulties. Along with the payment of stamp duty, required documents such as the transfer deed must be lodged with the appropriate authorities.

These documents are stamped to signify payment of stamp duty, and getting stamping certificates is critical as proof of the share transfer’s legality and legitimacy. Depending on the jurisdiction, additional regulations and considerations may exist. Stamp duty refunds may be available in some states in the event of a transfer cancellation or revocation. Stamp duty payments are greatly facilitated by stock exchanges and depositories. They work with government agencies to collect stamp duty during share transfers or dematerialization operations.

Stamp Duty on Electronic Transfer of Shares

To address the stamp duty on electronic share transfers, the Indian Stamp Act of 1899 was revised. Provisions were included in the amendment to allow for the transfer of dematerialized shares. Physical stamping of share certificates is no longer required because shares are now held and transferred in dematerialized form. Instead, issuers of securities must pay a combined stamp duty based on the whole value of the shares being transferred. This modification simplifies the stamp duty process for electronic transfers and eliminates the requirement to stamp each share certificate individually.

Stamp Duty Payment and Cancellation

Stamp duty can be paid in a variety of ways, including demand draught, online payment methods such as NEFT/RTGS, or cash in certain circumstances involving minor value transactions. It is critical to select the proper way of payment following Section 17 of the Indian Stamp Act. Stamp cancellation is an important step in preventing their reuse. It is often advised to cancel stamps by writing the executor’s initials or name on them at the moment of affixation. Under current norms, failure to properly cancel stamps renders the instrument unstamped. As a result, it is critical to secure the correct cancellation to maintain the instrument’s legal validity and admissibility under Section 12 of the Indian Stamp Act.


The stamp duty on transfer of shares is an important component of the Indian financial system. It applies to a variety of financial products, such as shares, debentures, and promissory notes. Stamp duty laws are governed by the Indian Stamp Act, of 1899, and the Companies Act of 2013. Concessional rates are available for particular transactions such as trustee transfers and bank transfers, with costs varying across states and union territories. Payment choices include demand draught, online methods, or cash, and compliance with payment and procedural standards is critical.

Stamp cancellation is critical to preventing misuse. Consolidated stamp duty is levied on electronic share transfers based on the total value of the shares. Understanding the complexities of each country and adhering to the specific rules of each jurisdiction is critical for a seamless and legally compliant share transfer process.


What types of transactions are subject to stamp duty on the transfer of shares?

Stamp duty is levied on a variety of transactions, including the physical transfer of shares via a transfer document, the transfer of dematerialized shares maintained in electronic form, and share transmission in the event of death or insolvency.

How is stamp duty on the transfer of shares calculated?

Typically, stamp duty is computed as a percentage of the transaction value or consideration included in the share transfer. The stamp duty statutes of the applicable state or union territory, as well as considerations such as location, entities involved, and the value of the shares being transferred, determine the specific rate.

Are there any exemptions or concessional rates for stamp duty on share transfers?

In India, stamp duty rates differ between states and union territories. Certain transactions, such as trustee transfers to beneficiaries or other trustees, and bank transfers of shares to their name, may be eligible for reduced stamp duty rates. Each jurisdiction may have its own set of rules and exceptions.

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