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Stamp Duty

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GRADomestic TaxTax TypesStamp Duty

Stamp Duty

This is a tax imposed on documents or specific instruments which have legal effect. It is not a tax on transactions, but on documents brought into being for the purpose of recording transactions.

The Stamp duty is governed by the Stamp Duty Act, 2005 (Act 689) as amended.

Types of Instruments/Documents Stamped

The duty is imposed on a wide range of instruments listed in the first schedule of the Act which can be classified into:
  • Inspection Cases: These are documents that transfer interest in land namely; conveyance, gifts, assignment of lease, etc.
  • Non-inspection Cases: Examples are leases, sub-leases, mining leases, etc.
  • Financial Documents Examples are Mortgages, Liens, Promissory Notes, Performance Bonds, Guarantees, Agreements, Debentures, etc.
  • Light Documents: Examples include; Power of Attorney, Share Transfers, Certificates, Declarations, Vesting Assent, Probate, etc.

Stamping

Stamping is the making of an impression on a legal document. Under the Stamp Duty Act, all security documents are required to be duly and properly stamped to render them admissible in evidence and enforceable in the courts of Ghana. An unstamped or insufficiently stamped document will therefore not be admitted into evidence in court and a person cannot rely on it to make his/her case.

Benefit of paying Stamp Duty

The payment of proper Stamp duty on instruments makes them legal. Such instruments get evidential value and can be admitted as evidence in a court of law.

Rate and Calculation of Stamp Duty

The amount of Stamp duty payable on the instrument are based on the rates provided under the provisions of the Stamp Duty Act, 2005 (Act 689) which are:
  • Ad valorem tax which ranges between 0.25% - 1% of the value of instruments/Document.
  • Fixed amounts which ranges between GH₵0.05 and GH₵25

Electronic Service of Documents and Assessments

According to Section 48 of the Stamp Duty Act, The Commissioner – General may allow a person to submit particulars or extracts of an instrument which may assist in the assessment of duty to be sent by electronic means. The Commissioner – General on receipt of the particulars or extracts shall assess the duty payable and issue a stamp for the purpose of the instrument on payment of the duty. Where a person has provided the Commissioner General with an electronic address, the Commissioner General may serve an assessment made through that address and therefore the addressee is considered as served. 

For the purposes above, the Commissioner – General may authorise an imprint to indicate the payment of appropriate duty.

Offences and Penalties

Section 40 to 44 of the Stamp Duty Act 2005 (Act 689) specifies activities and actions considered an offence under the Act and the accompanying consequences.

Offences and Penalties

Offence Penalty
Failure to cancel adhesive stamps The person is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than two hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than one thousand penalty units.
Failure to disclose full facts about an instrument The person is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than two hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than one thousand penalty units.
Registering instruments not duly stamped The person is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than one thousand penalty units.
Impeding administration of Act The person is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than one thousand penalty units.
A person who contravenes a provision of this Act for which no offence is provided The person is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one hundred penalty units and not more than two hundred and fifty penalty units.

General Exemptions from all Stamp Duties (Schedule 1)

  • Transfer of shares in the Government stocks or funds of a foreign country.
  • Transfers made as part of divorce settlement or arrangement.
  • Transfers made upon gifts inter vivos (between the living) from one spouse to another or from a parent to a child or from a child to a parent.
  • Transfers of shares in unit trusts.
  • Transfers and covenants to charities.
  • Transfers of loan capital.
  • All bankruptcy or insolvency documents.
  • An agreement, conveyance or other instrument relating to property of a company during winding up.
  • Transfer of property under will or other instruments relating to testamentary dispositions.
  • Probates, letters of administration and vesting assents.
  • Insurance policy and any declaration of any use or trust concerning a life policy, or property representing, or benefits arising under a life policy.
  • Instruments for the sale, transfer, or other disposition, either absolutely or by way of mortgage or otherwise, of a ship or vessel or of a part interest, share or property in a ship or vessel.
  • All instruments on which the duty would be payable by the Government
  • All instruments which are made by, to or with an officer of the Government of Ghana on behalf of the Government where, but for this exemption, that stamp duty would be payable by an officer of the Government in an official capacity.
  • The exemption referred to in point fourteen (14) shall not be construed to extend to any instrument; (a) made by, to, or with a Government officer acting as ex officio administrator or as receiver under an order of court; or (b) made by, to, or with a Government officer in relation to a sale for the recovery of an arrears of revenue or rent or in satisfaction of any order or judgement of court.
  • (a) A conveyance, transfer, lease or other instrument transferring land or an interest in and from the State Housing Company Ltd. to person. (b) A mortgage of land where the mortgagee is the State Housing Company Ltd. (c) A conveyance, transfer, lease or other instrument transferring land or an interest in land from a person engaged in the business of construction of residential accommodation for sale or letting to any other person if the vendor has registered that business with the Commissioner under a law for the time being in force.
  • A transfer of shares in a company.
  • Bills of exchange including cheques, bank drafts or orders and letters of credit issued or written by a banker in Ghana.
  • Bills of lading of or for goods, merchandise or effects.
  • (a) Where it is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioner that an undertaking is to be acquired by a Company incorporated in Ghana and that the consideration for the acquisition (except such part of it as consists in the transfer of, or discharge by the company of the 25 Act 689 Stamp Duty Act, 2005 liabilities of the person formerly carrying on the undertaking) consists as to not less than ninety per centum of it in the issue of shares to the persons formerly carrying on the undertaking, duty shall not be chargeable on a document which transfers the beneficial interest in any of the assets of the undertaking to the company; (b) A document of the kind referred to in sub paragraph (a) shall not be considered as stamped unless it is stamped with the duty to which it would, but for this paragraph, be liable or it has, in accordance with the provisions of section 10 of this Act, been stamped with a particular stamp indicating that it is not chargeable with a duty or that it is stamped.
  • All instruments in respect of which exemption from stamp duty is conferred by Articles 23 and 34 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, as applied by section 1 of the Diplomatic Immunities Act, 1962 (Act 148).
  • All instruments in respect of which exemption from stamp duty is conferred by Articles 32 and 49 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, as applied by section 1 of the Consular Relations Decree, 1967 (NLCD 150).

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