Stamp Duty on Commercial Agreement

Stamp Duty on Commercial Agreements: Understanding the Basics

If you are a business owner, entrepreneur or investor in India, you may be familiar with the term “stamp duty”. It is a tax that is imposed on certain legal documents, including commercial agreements, and is collected by the government. In this article, we`ll provide you with an overview of stamp duty on commercial agreements, why it is important, and how it affects your business.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a type of tax that is levied on certain documents as a proof of their authenticity and legality. The tax is paid by the person executing the document (known as the “payer”), and the amount of duty is calculated based on the value of the document. The term “stamp duty” comes from the fact that historically, a physical stamp had to be affixed to the document to show that the duty had been paid.

In India, stamp duty is governed by the Indian Stamp Act, 1899. The Act defines the types of documents that are covered under stamp duty, the rates of duty applicable to each type of document and the parties who are liable to pay the duty.

Why is stamp duty important for commercial agreements?

Commercial agreements are usually legal contracts that define the terms and conditions of a business relationship between two or more parties. These agreements may include terms related to sale or purchase of goods or services, lease of property, joint ventures, and other business transactions.

Stamp duty is important for commercial agreements because it serves as a legal proof of the transaction. It ensures that the agreement is enforceable in a court of law, and that the parties involved are legally bound to comply with the terms of the agreement. Failure to pay stamp duty can result in the agreement being declared null and void, and legal action being taken against the parties involved.

How is stamp duty calculated for commercial agreements?

The amount of stamp duty payable on a commercial agreement depends on the type of agreement and its value. The Stamp Act specifies different rates of duty for different types of documents. For example, the duty on a lease agreement may be calculated as a percentage of the annual rent, while the duty on a sale agreement may be calculated as a percentage of the sale consideration.

In some cases, the duty may also be charged on an ad valorem basis, which means that it is calculated as a percentage of the total value of the transaction. The stamp duty payable may also vary based on the state where the agreement is executed.


Stamp duty is an important aspect of commercial agreements in India. It ensures that the agreements are legally valid and enforceable, and serves as a proof of the transaction. As a business owner, it is important to be aware of the stamp duty payable on your commercial agreements, and to ensure that it is paid in a timely manner to avoid any legal issues.