INTRODUCTION

Service locations
Service Standards
How You Can Help

MAIN FUNCTIONS

Stamping Documents
Deadlines:

DOCUMENTS NORMALLY STAMPED

Agreements:
Addendum:
Bill of Sale:
Bill of Lading:
Cheque Leaves:
Composition Agreements (Pre-Stamped Documents):
Deed Poll:
Insurance Policies:
Intestate:
Land Title Application:
Leases:
Loan Agreements:
Articles of Incorporation:
Mortgages:
Power of Attorney:
Promissory Notes:
Property:
Releases of Assignment/ Discharge of Mortgage:

ESTATE MATTERS

Revenue Affidavit:
Testate:
Transfer Tax on death:
Valuation of Property:
Property ownership:
Sole Proprietorship and Tenants in Common:
Joint Tenants:

TRANSFER TAX ALLOWANCES & EXEMPTIONS

Allowances: (under Paragraph 13 of the 1st Schedule)
Calculation of Tax
Calculation of Interest

EXEMPTIONS:

The Principal Place of Residence
Trust (where the deceased is a Trustee):
To value Shares for a Public Company (Regulations d/d 30/07/1971)
To Value Shares for a Private Company (Regulations d/d 30/07/1971)

OBTAINING A COMMISSIONER GENERAL’S STAMP CERTIFICATE

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

 

INTRODUCTION

The Stamp Duty & Transfer Tax Section of Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) is popularly but misleadingly known as the “Stamp Office”. Some people have misinterpreted this title and have been surprised to learn that postage stamps are not sold at any of three offices island wide, and that one is also unable to send telegrams from the offices – as persons have tried to do!

 

Service locations

Service is offered from three (3) locations:

111 Harbour Street, Kingston

May Pen Revenue Service Centre

7 Windsor Avenue

May Pen, Clarendon

Montego Bay Revenue Service Centre

18B Howard Cooke Boulevard

Montego Bay, St. James

 

Service Standards

Telephone calls will be answered within 3 rings.

Letters will be answered within 2 weeks of receipt.

Office visits - you will receive attention within 15 minutes.

Refunds, with complete documentation made within 90 days.

 

How You Can Help

We recognize your desire for excellent service. To help us deliver this level of service, we need your cooperation. How?

Provide complete & accurate information

Reply promptly to correspondence

Pay your tax on time

Always quote the Reference Number on your Document Receipt(s) when in communication (written or oral) with us.

Comply with all the requirements of the tax laws.

 

MAIN FUNCTIONS

The main functions of the Stamp Duty & Transfer Tax Section are to assess and collect on behalf of the Government of Jamaica:

Stamp Duty on a range of commercial and legal document according to the act

Transfer Tax on properties being transferred through a sale, gift, or death.

 

Stamping Documents

Documents are stamped as proof of the payment of Stamp Duty & Transfer Taxes, to make them legal and binding under the Law.

 

Deadlines:

Most legal documents must be stamped within a specified time. The general rules outlined below apply.

Documents with a fixed rate of duty must be stamped within 7 or 14 days after the date of signing (execution).

Documents subject to an ad valorem rate of duty (based on the value of the transaction) – within 30 days after the date of execution.

Other documents subject to ad valorem rate must be stamped within 7 – 14 days. E.g. Promissory notes; Life Insurance Policies.

 

DOCUMENTS NORMALLY STAMPED

Agreements:

These include Sale Agreements for the transfer of property. These agreements attract an ad valorem duty/tax known as “Conveyance Duty” or Transfer Tax.

Transfer Tax is borne by the Vendor. In cases where the portion of a property (gift or sale) is being transferred, Transfer Tax is chargeable on the market value of the property being transferred.

Properties cannot be legally transferred unless the Transfer Tax & Stamp Duty have been paid.

There are provisions in Law for the exemption of certain transactions e.g. a church site, or documents on behalf of a Co-operative Society.

Addendum:

This is a form which provides additional information for the Department’s valuators when valuing a deceased’s estate.

Bills of Sale:

Documents which are prepared by Financial Institutions issuing a loan to purchase goods.

Bill of Lading:

Document relating to the importation or exportation of goods.

Cheque Leaves:

These are pre-stamped in most instances.

Composition Agreements (Pre-Stamped Documents):

Companies/Institutions requiring large numbers of documents to be stamped on regular basis may enter into a Composition Agreement with the Commissioner General. This would enable the Companies to print the “Stamp Duty Paid Medallion” on the documents and make periodic returns to the Commissioner General, such sums as would have been chargeable as stamp duty on such instruments issued during the period to which the account relates.

Deed Poll:

These are documents formalizing a change of name other than through marriage.

Insurance Policies:

These include life, home, health, accident, marine, motor vehicle, etc.

Intestate:

This occurs where a person passes (dies), without leaving a Will, and the administration for the disposal of his/her assets is done through the Courts.

 (See explanation of “Testate”, for additional information).

Land Title Application:

Where the owner of unregistered land applies to bring the property under the Registration of Title Act to be registered in his name, no transfer tax is payable and only one-third (1/3) Conveyance Duty is payable.

Leases:

These include the leasing of equipment as well as property (land, a dwelling house or a place of business). Equipment leases attract a fixed duty. Leases for real property attract an ad valorem duty, depending on the lease. Transfer of a Lease is treated similarly to the transfer of property.

Loan Agreements:

Agreements made regarding the repayment of a sum of money at a particular rate of interest, over a specified period of time.

Articles of Incorporation:

These are documents relating to the formation of a Company. These documents must be stamped before they are processed by the Companies of Jamaica.

Articles of Incorporation now attract a fixed duty.

Mortgages:

Whenever a loan agreement is entered into for the purchase of property which is in turn given as security, it attracts an ad valorem duty called “Mortgage Duty”, based on the amount of the loan.

Power of Attorney:

This is a legal document giving an individual authority to transact business on behalf of another person. Document must be registered at the Records Office in Spanish Town, after being stamped.

Promissory Notes:

A promise in writing made by one person to another to pay at a fixed time, a fixed sum of money owed.

Property:

Section 3(4) of the Transfer Tax Act defines property as follows:

Land

Lease of land

Securities

Beneficial Interest under any settlement of -

Property in any class mentioned above

Beneficial interest derived by way of settlement for property in any such class, whether through one or more settlements.

This includes properties owned locally and/or overseas, depending on the domicile of the deceased.

Releases of Assignment/ Discharge of Mortgage:

Documents releasing interest in asset held as security/collateral for loan given on repayment of the said loan by person(s) who borrowed the money.

ESTATE MATTERS

Revenue Affidavit:

This is a prescribed form to be completed and submitted by the personal representative (Executor/Administrator) of the deceased, along with accounts annexed thereto on particulars of all property of which the deceased was competent to dispose at his death and value thereof, in respect of which tax is payable. This, in addition to other specific documents depending on whether or not the deceased died leaving a Will, is the principal document required by the Stamp Duty & Transfer Tax Section. (Paragraph 17(1) of the 1st Schedule offers guidelines on completing the Revenue Affidavit).

Testate:

This is where an individual dies leaving a Will. This document specifies how property is to be shared. The person given responsibility for administering the deceased’s wishes is known as the “Executor”. (See explanation of “Intestate”).

Transfer Tax on death:

This is the amount payable on a deceased person’s estate. The amount due is to be paid to the Government for the transfer of the property from the estate to the beneficiaries. On the death of an individual domiciled (permanently residing) in Jamaica, all property including those owned overseas, is subject to tax in Jamaica. Section 5(1) of the Transfer Tax Act states that:

“… on the death of any individual after 31st May 1974, all property of which he was at his death competent to dispose shall, for the purpose of taxation in conformity with Subsections (2) & Section (3) of Section 12, be deemed to be, for a consideration equal to the market value at the date of his death to the persons to whom such property passes on his death”.

Valuation of Property:

Property should be valued at Market Value at the date of death. Section 5(1) of the Transfer Tax states:

“… be deemed to be for a consideration equal to its market value at the date of his death , transferred by him at the death of the persons to whom such property passes on his death”.

Property ownership:

Persons may hold property as either a Sole Proprietor, Joint Tenant or as a Tenant in Common.

Sole Proprietors

This type of property owner has sole rights to the property; as such the disposal/sale/transfer of the property is left to his discretion alone.

Joint Tenant/Owners

With this type of ownership the law of Survivorship obtains. That is to say, where, in the event of death of one party, the property shall transfer to the surviving party.

Tenants in Common

Where each owner owns his /her portion independent of the other.

The manner in which an Estate is administered/ processed will depend on how the deceased held property.

Sole Proprietorship and Tenants in Common:

Where all the beneficiaries are adults, then the Courts may allow them to nominate someone to administer the Estate.

Where minors are involved, the Administrator General has the responsibility to administer the Estate. In this instance, the estate will be administered in accordance with the “Intestate Estates & Property Charges Act”. (See the Definitions section of this Guide for meaning of Intestate and Testate.)

Where a Sole Proprietor or Tenant in Common dies Testate

The following documents are required to execute the transfer of property:

Copies of:-

Will & Probate

Inventory filed in the Courts / Oath of Executor or Administrator

Land Title

Share Certificates

Securities

Financial Statements (nearest to the date of death)

Death Certificates

Receipts for funeral Expenses/Mortician bills

Declaration of principal place of residence (Voluntary Declaration Act)

Where a Sole Proprietor or Tenant in Common dies intestate the following documents are required to execute the transfer of property:

Copy of

Inventory filed in the Courts

Land title

Death Certificate

Share Certificates

Financial Statements (Private Companies)

Receipts for funeral expenses/Mortician bills

Letters of Administration

Declaration of Principal place of Residence.

Joint Tenants:

On the death of a Joint tenant, the following documentation is required to execute the transfer of property:

Death Certificate

Copy of Title

Share Certificate

Declaration of Principal place of Residence (if applicable)

 

TRANSFER TAX ALLOWANCES & EXEMPTIONS

 

Allowances: (under Paragraph 13 of the 1st Schedule)

Following are allowances under Paragraph 13 1st Schedule -

Funeral expenses (must be reasonable)

Just debts and encumbrances (must be reasonable)

Mortgage Debts

Trust Deed

Note carefully:

These expenses will be allowed provided the deceased did not make specific provisions, or the debts will not be reimbursed from any other person or his Estate (e.g. Insurance proceeds). The Commissioner General must be satisfied that such expenses cannot be discharged out of such of the deceased’s assets, as are not included in the property aggregated as aforesaid.

No allowance will be given for debts incurred outside of Jamaica, except out of value of property held abroad.

Where any property passing on death is situated outside of Jamaica and the Commissioner General is satisfied that by reason of death, any tax, duty or other imposed in respect of that property is payable in the country wherein assessed, an allowance will be made for such tax.

If there is an expense for administering or in realizing property which is abroad, an allowance may be granted but not exceeding 5% of the value of the property.

Calculation of Tax

For persons who died June 1, 1974 – to present

For every dollar of the first $100,000.00 of value: Nil

For every dollar of remaining value: 1.5%

Calculation of Interest

Interest is calculated as per Paragraph 17(3) First Schedule of the Transfer Tax Act:

“6% per annum shall be paid upon any of the tax outstanding from and after the expiration of twelve (12) months of the date of death of the deceased, to the date of payment”.

NB: as per Paragraph 12(1) of the Transfer Tax Act, “property must be aggregated”.

 

EXEMPTIONS:

 

The Principal Place of Residence

(Paragraph 11(5) & (6) Amendment d/d 10/9/1997) – The law provides for exemption from the duty for the principal place of residence provided that it was occupied as such, by the deceased and spouse immediately prior to the death – and that more than one residence of the deceased shall not be accepted as being his principal residence.

The principal place of residence does not have to be the matrimonial home. The exemption for this is given when it is the principal residence of the deceased and his spouse and owned by the deceased, or the deceased and his spouse jointly, or a Tenants in common.

Prior to November 17, 1988, where the deceased was the sole owner of the property, exemptions were not given. The effect of the Amendment is that property – whether jointly or separately owned – is now exempted. Since September 1997, additional beneficiaries, who must all be resident on the subject property include:

Mother or step-mother

Father or step-father

Son or step-son

Daughter or step-daughter

Grandfather or grandmother

Brother and/or sister (including half-brother/sister)

Grandson or granddaughter

 (A marriage certificate and Statutory Declarations must be submitted as proof).

Life Interest

(Sec 6(4) – Life Tenant)

A “life tenant” is a person who is left to occupy a property until his/her death. At his/her death, no tax is chargeable, provided the life interest was given by the person to whom the Life Tenant was married. In every other circumstance the Transfer Tax of 4% is chargeable.

Trust (where the deceased is a Trustee):

The deceased held the property on behalf of another person

To value Shares for a Public Company (Regulations d/d 30/07/1971)

Public Companies use the lower of the ASK and BID price added to ¼ of the difference of both.

Where there are special prices, average the price, and then use the lower of the two.

NB: Market value shall be ascertained by reference to the latest previous date, or earliest subsequent date on which the Stock Market was last opened and the prices are listed on the Stock Exchange – whichever affords the lower market value.

To Value Shares for a Private Company (Regulations d/d 30/07/1971)

Private Companies use the Company’s net asset divided by the number of shares issued and paid up.

 

OBTAINING A COMMISSIONER GENERAL’S STAMP CERTIFICATE

The Representative of the Estate – Executor, Administrator or surviving Joint Tenant – is required to present to the Commissioner General the following documents:

A Revenue Affidavit

Addendum

Copy of Certificate(s) of Title, Indenture of Conveyance

Copy of Probate & Will / Letters of Administration

Copy of Inventory showing a list of personal and real properties

Copy of Death Certificate from the Registrar General’s Department

Valuation Report of property (if available)

Declaration (In applications for principal residence).

It may be necessary that further enquiries are made by the Stamp Duty & Transfer Tax Section to verify the validity of the documents presented. For example, where a valuation report is not available, the division may dispatch a Valuator to inspect the property to determine its market value as at the date of death. Based on this valuation, the division determines the tax chargeable on the deceased’s estate. After the tax has been paid by the personal representative of the estate, Transfer Tax & Commissioner General’s Stamp Certificates are issued to show that the tax has been paid. Please note that it is only after the relevant duties have been paid that the property may be transferred. This transfer may be to the Executors who will hold the Estate in trust for the beneficiary, or directly to the Surviving Joint Tenant.

Please note the following carefully:

After a person dies the Revenue Affidavit should be filed within 12 months of the person’s death

Interest accrues at the rate of 6% commencing on the 1st Anniversary of the date of death

Valuation of property is at the market value at the date of death

It takes approximately 6 weeks for properly completed documents to be processed.

Documents to be “Upstamped” or Stamped:

Probate

Letter of Administration*

Transfer Tax Certificate

Documents to be Denoted:

Transfer on transmission (for property to be passed to the Executor/Administrator)*

Assent to Devise (for property to be passed to the Beneficiary)*

Application to note Death (Joint tenancy)*

*All documents so indicated will be returned.

On completion of the Assessment and where the tax has been paid, a Commissioner General’s Stamp Certificate & Transfer Tax Certificate will be issued.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

If you are the beneficiary of an Estate, the transfer process begins at the Stamp Duty & Transfer Tax Section.

Land, Buildings and Shares are liable for Transfer Tax.

Commissioner General’s Stamp Certificate is issued only in estate cases involving land/realty.

GART Rates