In the United Kingdom, stamp duty is a form of tax charged on instruments (that is, written documents), and requires a physical stamp to be attached to or impressed upon the instrument in question.
The scope of stamp duty has been reduced dramatically in recent years. Apart from transfers of shares and securities, the issue of bearer instruments and certain transactions involving partnerships, stamp duty was largely abolished in the UK from 1 December, 2003. Stamp duty land tax (SDLT), a new transfer tax derived from stamp duty, was introduced for land transactions from 1 December 2003. Stamp duty reserve tax (SDRT) was introduced on agreements to transfer certain shares and other securities in 1986.