Stamp Duty Explained

Stamp Duty Explained

What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty is a tax which is payable to the government when you make changes to documentation associated with a property. It's a duty charged on certain written documents (known as "instruments"), but not every instrument is liable to stamp duty. To be liable an instrument must be listed in Schedule 1 to the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999. It must also be executed in Ireland or, if executed outside Ireland, it must relate to property situated within Ireland or something done or to be done in Ireland. Some instruments may benefit from an exemption or relief.

The various categories of instruments within the charge to stamp duty are listed in alphabetical order (each category being known as a "Head of Charge") in Schedule 1 to the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999. The rate of duty applicable, which may be ad valorem or fixed, under each Head of Charge is also set out in Schedule 1.

Stamp duty is a self-assessment tax payable by the "accountable person" (e.g. the purchaser or transferee in the case of a transfer of property, the lessee in the case of a lease).

Where an instrument is liable to stamp duty, a stamp duty return must be filed on-line with Revenue via the e-stamping system. The e-stamping system allows filers to use ROS (Revenue On-Line Service) to file returns and pay duty on-line. Filers must be registered to use ROS.

The full amount of stamp duty due must be paid within 30 days of the date of execution of the instrument. In practice Revenue allow a further period of 14 days in which to file an e-stamping return and pay the duty. Failure to file and pay within 44 days will result in late filing and interest charges.

Tax reference number and tax type queries

To complete an e-stamping return the tax reference number of each of the parties to the instrument plus the tax type for which they are registered with Revenue are needed. Filers should ensure that they have acquired all the necessary details to complete the e-stamping return from the accountable person preferably before the instrument is executed and in any event well before filing: otherwise there is a real risk that late filing and interest charges will arise.

How is Stamp Duty Calculated?

The level of stamp duty, or amount of stamp duty payable, depends mainly on the type of property you are purchasing and also on your status as an individual purchasing the property. So to this end, there are different rates of stamp duty applicaple of different individuals (for first-time buyers, second or subsequent time buyers or investors) and properties (new and second-hand homes).

How to Contact Revenue

The National Stamp Duty Office also operates a Lo-Call 1890 telephone service Tuesday-Thursday from 10.00 to 13.00. The telephone number is 1890 482 582.

Their address for correspondence is:

Customer Service Team,
National Stamp Duty Office,
Dublin Region
Office of the Revenue Commissioners,
Cross Block,
Dublin Castle,
Dublin 2.

What is ROS?

ROS is the onine medium by which Revenue provides customers with a quick and secure facility to file tax returns, pay tax liabilities and access their tax details, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In July 2003 Revenue received an eGovernment label from the European Commission for this service which was found to be one of the best practices of its type. The main features of ROS include:

  • File returns online
  • Make payments by debit/credit card, debit instruction or by online banking for Income Tax only
  • Obtain online details of personal/clients Revenue Accounts
  • Calculate tax liability
  • Conduct business electronically
  • Claim repayments

For more information you can contact the ROS Helpdesk at 1890 201 106 (+353 1 702 3021 for international customers) or email

Sources:, Citizens Information

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