Stamp duty ordinance was enacted in Sri Lanka in 1909. Thereafter in 1982 parliament enacted No 43 of stamp duty act to provide for the imposition of stamp duty on instruments and documents and formatters connected therewith for incidental thereto.
Stamp duties on immovable property and certain movable properties were devolved to the provincial councils by the 13th Amendment to the constitution and stamp duties administered by the central government was suspended with effect from 1st May 2002, the government reintroduced stamp duty and enacted stamp duty (special provisions 0 Act No 12 of 2006, but for only ten instruments, those specified instruments are; an affidavit, a policy of insurance, a warrant to act as notary public, a periodic license to carry on trade, a business, profession or vocation, a claim or demand made by a credit card holder in the usage of the card, a share certificate or new/ additional issue or transfer/ assignment, a mortgage for a definite some of money which affects a property, a promissory note, a lease or hire of any property, a receipt or discharge given for any money or other or other property. Stamp duty can be paid- by affixing stamps, paying to specified bank or compounding of stamp duty by authorized persons. Revenue collection on account of stamp duty in 2007 was Rs. 40 billion. Total revenue collection for the period January- September 2008 was Rs. 2.3 Bn.)