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Stamp Duty: Contracts for Sale or Purchase Agreements

Stamp Duty is payable on any document described as:

  • Agreement for Sale
  • Contract for Sale
  • Purchase Agreement

Or any other document which has the effect of binding a property owner to sell the property after any conditions of the Contract have been met.

Stamp Duty Assessment

This document may be subject to a Stamp Duty Assessment. The purpose of the Assessment is to establish the amount of ad-valorem Stamp Duty payable. If an Assessment is required, Duty is payable on the Consideration (purchase price) or Market Value, whichever is higher, and the Valuation Office will undertake a Market Valuation to establish the latter figure.

If, in the opinion of the Valuation Office, the Market Value is in excess of the Consideration then a Stamp Duty Assessment will be issued, outlining the Duty payable. The Assessment provides a window of opportunity for review, as there will on occasion be information affecting the value of which the Valuation Office is unaware. After that period has elapsed, the Stamp Duty will be assessed based on the Market Value established by the Valuation Officer.

In the event that the parties to the document continue to disagree with the Assessment issued, they may apply for the Stamp Duty to be adjudicated. By application to the Minister of Finance (and payment of prescribed fees), the assessment of Stamp Duty will be adjudicated as a binding decision (with limited right of appeal thereafter, upon payment).


Stamp Duty Rates

The rate of Duty payable is primarily dependant on whether possession of the property is granted under the agreement. It is assumed that possession has been granted unless it is specifically excluded.

Where No Possession is Granted

The parties to the agreement may choose either of the Stamp Duty rates indicated. The option is irrevocable except by written application to the Minister of Finance, or if the Stamp Duty has not yet been applied to the document.

Type Stamp Duty
Fixed Rate Duty

CI $100
(US $121.95)

Ad Valorem Duty

Duty payable on a Transfer of Land.
This election is subject to a Stamp Duty Assessment.

If the option to pay Fixed Rate Duty is exercised, ad valorem Duty still remains payable, and will be subject to an Assessment at the prevailing duty rate on the total consideration / market value based on the date of the Transfer of Land.

If the option to pay Ad-Valorem Duty is exercised, Stamp Duty must be paid within 45 days of the document becoming contractually effective, otherwise late submission Interest will be charged.

If the option to pay Ad-Valorem Duty is exercised, then providing the subsequent Transfer of Land is in conformity with the Purchase Agreement (eg. names of parties) and relates to the same property (eg. size of property), then no additional Duty will be payable on the Transfer of Land.

Where Possession is Granted

Type Stamp Duty
Ad Valorem Duty

Duty payable as a Transfer of Land.
This election is subject to a Stamp Duty Assessment.

Stamp Duty must be paid within 45 days of the document becoming contractually effective, otherwise late submission Interest will be charged.

Providing the subsequent Transfer of Land is in conformity with the Purchase Agreement (eg. names of parties) and relates to the same property (eg. size of property), then no additional Duty will be payable on the Transfer of Land.

First Time Caymanian Purchasers

First Time Caymanian purchasers may qualify for a concession against Ad Valorem Stamp Duty payable under an Agreement.


Submission Requirements

In submitting a document for Stamp Duty you should enclose the following;

  • Payment, based on the anticipated rate of Duty and the consideration paid (if applicable). If additional Duty is required you will be advised accordingly. Your election will be deemed based on the payment presented, unless otherwise stated.
  • A chattels list, if a deduction for chattels is being made. Further guidance on the completion of a chattels list can be found here.
  • Any waiver letter is by the Minister of Finance in relation to Stamp Duty.
  • Additional information relating to the purchase, in particular where you are aware that the consideration may deviate significantly from a Valuation on the transaction date. Such information may include;
    • The date when the purchase price was agreed
    • Any damage to the property
    • Details of any other property which has been acquired as part of a larger transaction

If further information is required in order to undertake the Stamp Duty Assessment you will be advised accordingly.