STAMP DUTIES

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					                      STAMP DUTIES
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Stamp Acts, 1894 to 1930:-
    Stamp Act, 1894 (58 Vic. No. 8)   ..    ..     ..    ..              1108
    Stamp Act Amendment Act of 1904 (4 Edw. V I Z . No. 14)              1172
    Stamp Act Amendment Act of 1918 (9 Geo. V, No. 11) . .               1173
    Stamp Acts Amendment Act of 1926 (17 Geo. V. No. 10) . .             1175
    Stamp Acts Amendment Act of 1928 (19 Geo. V. No. 13) . .             1175
    Stamp Acts Amendment Act of 1929 (20 Geo. V.No. 21) . .              1176
    Stamp Acts Amendment Act of 1930 (21 Geo. V. No. 49) . .             1176

                      PRELIMINARY NOTE.
     Limits of Legislative Power.-The Parliament of this State is
 empowered to legislate for the peace, welfare and good government of
this State (Constitution Act of 1867, s. 2, title CONSTITUTION).        This
authority extends only to taxation of persons, things and circumstances
within the limits of the territory of this State (C‘ommissioner of S t a m p s
v. Wisnholt (1915), 20 C.L.R. 531 ; [1914] St. R. Qd. 249). See further,
as to territorial limitations on the taxing power, the Preliminary Note
t o the title INCOME TAX.
     There is a strong presumption that the Legislature intends its Acts
to be effective and a Stamp Duties Act will accordingly be construed, so
far as the language will allow, as attempting to impose duty only to the
extent of the legislative powers. Such an Act will therefore be
construed, where that can be done, as applying only to instruments
executed in or coming into this State (Comr. of Stamps v. Wienhott,
supcm). Such appears t o be the intention of The Stamp Act, 1894, post.
See the words “executed in Queensland . . . . done in Queensland” in
s. 4~ thereof.
     The Commissioner of Stamp Duties.-Provision is made f o r the
appointment of a Commissioner of Stamp Duties and Deputy Commis-
sioners and for the administration of the Act by them, by The Stamp
Act, 1894, ss. 5, 7, post. Branch offices of the Commissioner may be
opened (ibid., ss. 6, 8). The Commissioner is also charged with the
collection of certain other duties and taxes and the administration of
the Acts relating thereto. These are succession and probate duties (The
Succession and Probate Duties Act, 1892, s. 11, title SUCCESSION),    gift
duty (The Gift Duty Act of 1926, ss. 24 (1), (2) , 10, title GIFT DUTY),
taxes imposed on bookmakers and stamp duty on betting tickets (The
Racecourses Act of 1923, s. 8, title GAMING), taxes payable in respect
                                             and
of totalisators (The Totalisator Tax Act, 1892, s. 3, title G.IMING).
                                    1105
1106

                            Stamp D U t ies.               [Vol. VIIIm
      The Stamp Acts, 1894 to 1930.-Stamp duties are imposed upon
the instruments and a t the rates set forth in the First Schedule to
The Stamp Act, 1894, post (s. 4). Duties become due and owing, for
the most part, upon execution of the instrument chargeable, and liability
f o r payment is upon every person signing o r executing an instrument
 (s. 413). Provision for recovery of duties is contained in The Stamp
Act, 1894, ss. 4 ~ 77, SA, 80, post, and The Crown Remedies Act of 1874,
                    ,
ss. 2, 2 ~ 6, et seq., title CROWN.
      The payment of duties is denoted by stamps, which, unless express
provision is made f o r use of an adhesive stamp, are t o be impressed upon
the instrument chargeable (The Stamp Act, 1894, s. 13). When an
instrument carries either a stamp that it is not liable to duty or that it
has been duly stamped, it is t o be available for all purposes irrespective
of any objection relating t o duty (s. 22 ( 5 ) ) . A n instrument stamped
with an adhesive stamp is not to be deemed duly stamped unless the
stamp is cancelled in the manner described by s. 18.
      The Commissioner of Stamp Duties may be required to give a
decision as to whether a particular instrument is liable to duty, or as to
the amount of duty payable (The Stamp Act, 1894, s. 22, p o s t ) . His
decision rnay be made the subject of appeal t o the Supreme Court by
way of a special case (s. 24).
     Dutiable instruments must, for the greater part, be stumped within
thirty days after execution or receipt within this State where executed
outside; but in the case of certain instruments specified the document
must be stamped prior to execution (ss. 26, 43). Failure t o stamp as
required is punishable by the penalty provided by s. 26, as to the
imposition of which, however, the Commissioner is clothed with some
discretion. The effect on the instrument of failure to stamp it as
required does not appear t o be t o invalidate it but t o render it unavail-
able in civil proceedings (see s. 4~ and notes thereto; Evidence and
Discovery Act of 1867, ss. 45-48, title EVIDENCE), unstamped instru-
                                                    and
ments cannot be registered in any books or records, whether by a public
officer o r in the share register of a company (ss. 30, 31, 44).
      The Stamp Acts apply to the Insurance Commissioner and the
business conducted by him (The Insurance Act of 1916, Sched. I, r. 15,
title INSURANCE).
      Exempted Instruments.-In addition to the exemptions contained
 in The Stamp Acts, 1894 to 1930, post, exemptions of specific types of
 instruments are to be found in a number of Acts. The most important
of these appear t o be the following: mortgages, securities, releases of
mortgages and securities, and other documents executed foy the purposes
of The Agricultural Bank Act of 1923, The State Advances Act of 1916
 (title BANKING)      and The Co-operative Agricultural Production and
Advances to Farmers Acts, 1914 t o 1919 (title AGRICULTURE)             (The
Agricultural Bank Act of 1923, s. 24; The State Advances Act of 1916,
s. 17 ( 3 ) ) ; claims of lien under The Contractors’ and Workmen’s Lien
Act of 1906, title LABOUR ibid., s. 28) ; agreements and instruments
                               (see
under The Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act of 1932, title
IJABOUR (ibid.,s. 78) ; documents executed for purposes of The Workers’
Homes Act of 1919, title LABOUR         (see ibid., s. 2 4 ~ ; contracts and
                                                             )
documents executed under The Closer Settlement Act of 1906, title LAND
(ibid.,s. 37) ; receipts for payments made by members in respect of their
shares in building societies (The Building Societies Act of 1886, R. 33,
                                                                           1107
                                    Note.
                           Prdirninw~
title SocIErIEs) ; certain documents in respect of the business of
registered friendly societies (The Friendly Societies Act of 1913, s. 27,
title SOCIETIES) ; leases, licenses, agreements and contracts entered into
by the Commissioner of Irrigation and Water Supply under The Water
Act of 1926, title WATER     SUPPLY N D
                                      ~   SEWERAGE  (ibid.,Sched., Part I,
r. 28 (3) ) . The Governor in Council is empowered to exempt from duty
documents relating to the settlement of Crown lands (The Land Acts
Amendment Act of 1929, s. 78, title LAND).
        Other Provisions.-Other provisions of the statute law relating to
stamp duties are The Criminal Code (1899), ss. 491, 507, 511, 488 I11
 ( b ) , 642, title CRIMINALLaw (various offences with respect t o stamps) ;
The Companies Act of 1931, ss. 15, 21 ( c ) , 54 ( 2 ) , 52 ( 3 ) , 99 (5), title
 COMPANIES       (duty on various documents) ; The Racecourses Act of 1923,
s. 4 and The Racing Regulation Amendment Act of 1930, s. 22 ( 4 ) , title
GAMING(duty on betting tickets) ; Common Law Practice Act of 1867,
s. 46, title PRACTICE new trial for incorrect ruling that instrument
                          (no
not liable or sufficiently stamped).
       Construction of Stamp Acts.-" The consensus of opinion nom
appears to be that the same rules of construction are t o be applied
to all statutes. Whether the statute be a taxing statute or otherwise, it
is the duty of the Court to give effect to the intention of the Legislature,
and that intention is t o be found in the language used in the statute as
applied to the subject matter of the enactment, and if there be a fair
and reasonable doubt, the subject should get the benefit of that doubt,
and should not be charged with a tax unless the language by which the tax
is imposed is perfectly clear and free from do,ubt " (Chubb J. in Conzrs..
of Stamps v. Bank of NEW             Wales, [19091 St. R. Qd. 249, at p. 271).
                               Soi~tZi.
See also Comrs. of Stamps v. Wiertholt (1915), 20 C.L.R. 531; [1914]
St. R. Qd. 249, at p. 264. The Court will lean towards a construction
which imposes equality of taxation (Robwts v. Collector o f Imposts,
 [ 19191 V.L.R. 638, at p. 645). As t o principles for construction of taxing
i4cts, see also the Preliminary Note to the title INCOME Halsbury's
                                                            TAX;
Laws of England (2nd ea.), Vol. 28, p. 446.

				
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