These modes of taxation, by stamp–duties and by duties upon registration, are of very modern invention. In the course of little more than a century, however, stamp–duties have, in Europe, become almost universal, and duties upon registration extremely common. There is no art which one government sooner learns of another, than that of draining money from the pockets of the people.
All taxes upon the transference of property of every kind, so far as they diminish the capital value of that property, tend to diminish the funds destined for the maintenance of productive labour. They are all more or less unthrifty taxes that increase the revenue of the sovereign, which seldom maintains any but unproductive labourers; at the expense of the capital of the people, which maintains none but productive.
So wrote Adam Smith over 300 years ago. Still the problem persists today, and even though Nicholas Gibb wrote this report into Stamp Duty two decades ago it is still pertinent today. Quite simply it is a call for the abolition of Stamp Duty.