A stamp act is a law enacted by government that requires a tax to be paid on the transfer of certain documents. The stamp act was considered unfair by many people. Those that pay the tax receive an official stamp on their documents. The tax raised, called stamp duty, was first devised in the Netherlands in 1624 after a public competition to find a new form of tax. A variety of products have been covered by stamp acts including playing cards, patent medicines, cheques, mortgages, contracts and newspapers. The items often have to be physically stamped at approved government offices following payment of the duty, although methods involving annual payment of a fixed sum or purchase of adhesive stamps are more practical and common. Stamp acts have been enforced in many countries, including Australia, People's Republic of China, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
AN ACT for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America, towards further defraying the expenses of defending, protecting, and securing the same; and for amending such parts of the several acts of parliament relating to the trade and revenues of the said colonies and plantations, as direct the manner of determining and recovering the penalties and forfeitures therein mentioned.
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