The Indian Stamp Act, 1899 (2 of 1899) is a fiscal statute laying down the law relating to tax levied in the form of stamps on instruments recording transactions & Stamp duties on instruments specified in Entry 91 of the Union List (viz. Bills of Exchange, cheques, promissory notes, bills of lading, letters of credit, policies of insurance, transfer of shares, debentures, proxies and receipts) is levied by the Union. Stamp duties on instruments other than those mentioned in Entry 91 of the Union List above are levied by the States as per Entry 63 of the State List. Provisions other than those relating to rates of duty fall within the legislative power of both the Union and the States by virtue of Entry 44 of the Concurrent List. Stamp duties on all the instruments are collected and kept by the Concerned States.
Because of large scale changes in the usage of the instruments since the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 was introduced, a need to amend a good number of provisions of this Act is being felt for quite some time. Law Commission in its 67th report submitted in 1976 has made extensive recommendations in this regard. Serious efforts are now being made to bring in large scale amendments in Indian Stamp Act, 1899 to bring this law in tune with the times.