New Delhi: India may soon have a uniform stamp duty rate across the country in an attempt to boost the ‘ease of doing business’ initiative. 
The move is being seen as a logical consequence of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that was launched last year that dissolved a slew of cascading state and state taxes. 

Stamp duties are usually levied on documents and some transactions such as buying and selling of land. Parliament has the powers to levy stamp duty on financial instruments such as bills of exchange, cheques, promissory notes, bills of lading, letters of credit, insurance policies, stock transfer, and much more. 
However, if it involves any other financial instrument, the onus of setting stamp duty rates lies with the states.  The duties differ from state to state. 

Sources said the Centre and the states have finalised changes to the outdated stamp duty Act that’s more than a century old. The Act is likely to be tabled during the Winter Session of the Parliament.

Many attempts have been made to amend the 1899 Act to bring about uniformity but states have been reluctant to give up powers to levy stamp duty. MyNation has learned that a major concern of the states has been the state revenue that will come in play. 

Market regulator Sebi had earlier asked states to either waive or rationalise stamp duty on financial transactions executed electronically to bring down transaction costs. In many cases, it leads to routing through states that ask for a lower stamp duty. It also leads to arbitration taking valuable time of the courts.