The basic framework of stamp duty is laid down in the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, which authorises the states to modify the same, as per their needs. Accordingly, the government of Maharashtra passed the Bombay Stamp Act, 1958. The payment of stamp duty on leave and licence agreements, is covered under Article 36A of the Bombay Stamp Act, 1958. Leave and licence agreements are required to be stamped, with a flat stamp duty rate of 0.25 per cent of the total rent for the period. In case any non-refundable deposit is also paid to the landlord, stamp duty at the same rate shall be charged on such non-refundable deposits, as well.
In order to reduce the incidence of stamp duty, people used to pay a significant amount as interest-free deposit, along with nominal rent. This lacuna has been plugged and now, in cases where any refundable deposit is collected by the landlord, a notional annual interest of 10 per cent is imputed on such interest-free deposit and you have to pay stamp duty at the same rate, on such interest for each year of the term of the licence agreement.
The rate of stamp duty for leave and licence agreements is the same for residential premises, as well as for commercial premises. The leave and licence agreement can be executed, for a period not exceeding 60 months.
Formula to calculate the stamp duty payable on a rental agreement
Monthly rental x No of months = A
Advance rent for the period/non-refundable deposit = B
10% x Refundable deposit x No of years of the agreement = C
Total amount subject to stamp duty = D = A+B+C
Stamp duty = E = 0.25% x D
For example, if you enter into a leave and licence agreement for 24 months, with a monthly rent of Rs 25,000 and a refundable deposit of Rs five lakhs, you will have to pay a stamp duty of Rs 1,750 (being 0.25% on rent of Rs six lakhs for two years and interest of Rs one lakh for two years).