Unlocking the Mystery of DST in Philippine Transactions

If you’ve ever scratched your head at the mention of Documentary Stamp Tax (DST) during your transactions, you’re not alone. Let’s break it down in simple terms. DST is a tax imposed on various documents, loan agreements, and papers providing proof of acceptance, assignment, sales, and transfer of obligations, rights, or property.

DST: Tax on Flexing Your Rights

Think of DST as the tax on flexing your rights. It applies when you exercise specific rights, and the documents formalizing these exercises become subject to taxation. In simple terms, a stamp certifies that an agreement is subject to tax. The tax declaration for DST is known as BIR Form 2000, and it must be paid and filed within five days after the month in which the taxable documents were issued, signed, accepted, or transferred.


However, it is important to remember that not all transactions must have an actual paper trail for it to be subject to the DST. Take stock shares, for instance – you don’t need a physical stock certificate for DST to apply. It’s a given that you will pay for one even if you buy stocks from an online platform. The same goes for loan agreements; they don’t need to be notarized for DST to kick in. Keep in mind that not all transactions are under the DST umbrella. Specific transactions are outlined in the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).

Liability Alert: Who Pays?

In taxable transactions, any contracting party might be held liable, depending on your agreement. Documents like the Deed of Absolute Sale of Real Properties, Loan Agreements, or Deed of Assignment of Shares of Stocks often allow parties to decide who foots the DST bill. 


However, this arrangement is only binding between the parties and not the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). When the BIR assesses taxes, it ensures that DST on these transactions is settled. It’s crucial to keep proof of your DST payment for your own peace of mind, and remember – DST is a one-time deal. Letting one party handle the payment is sufficient. Double-payment isn’t necessary and would only be deemed an excess.

DST: No Pay, No Problem (Almost)

Surprisingly, failing to pay DST doesn’t render your agreement or transaction invalid. DST liability is purely for tax purposes and won’t impact the validity of your contracts. However, in court cases involving DST-taxed documents, the court won’t accept them as evidence unless you’ve paid the corresponding DST. 

Even though this doesn’t affect your contract’s legitimacy, it’s not a green light to skip out on DST payments. Here’s the nitty-gritty – DST is imposed on each taxable transaction. If you forget to pay for one, you’ll be in the hot seat for that specific transaction and may be expected to pay arrears and overdue payments. So it’s prudent to just pay it forward to keep your costs low and stay tax compliant.

Rates: No One-Size-Fits-All

DST rates are as diverse as your transactions. No fixed rate applies at all. The amount owed to the BIR depends on the nature of your deal. For the best results, it would be prudent to consult the NIRC to determine the applicable rate or seek help from a professional audit or accounting firm. 


Here’s a simple example: DST on loan agreements comes at Php 1.00 for every Php 200.00 par value, while rental agreements start at Php 3.00 for the first Php 2,000.00 and Php 1.00 for every succeeding Php 1,000.00.

Payment Options: Choose Your Method

Paying your DST is a flexible process which leaves you with options. Whether you opt for manual payments, use the electronic filing and payment system, or employ loose documentary stamps attached to official documents, the choice is yours.


The following are the transactions subject to DST under NIRC or the National Internal Revenue Code:

  • Original Issue of Stock Shares
  • Sales, Agreements to Sell, Memoranda of Sales, Deliveries/Transfer of Shares, Certificate of Stocks
  • Bonds, Debentures, Stock Certificates, Indebtedness Issued in a Foreign Country
  • Certificate of Profit in Property or Accumulations
  • Bank Checks, Drafts, Certificates of Deposit not Bearing Interest, Other Instruments
  • Debt Instruments
  • Bills of Exchange, Foreign Bills of Exchange and Credit Letters
  • Life Insurance Policies, Insurance upon Property Policies
  • Fidelity Bonds, Insurance Policies
  • Annuity and Pre-Need Plan Policies
  • Indemnity Bonds
  • Certificates
  • Warehouse Receipts
  • Horse Race Tickets, Lotto, other authorized Number Games
  • Bills of Receipts
  • Proxies
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Lease and other Hiring Agreements
  • Pledges, Deeds of Trust, mortgages
  • Deeds of Real Property Sale and Conveyances
  • Charter Parties
  • Assignments and Renewals of Certain Instruments

Congratulations, you’re in the DST zone! Understanding this tax ensures your transactions are not only legally sound but also taxation savvy. Are you prepared to confidently navigate the DST landscape? If you need assistance of any kind, don’t hesitate to connect with our expert accounting team for assistance today! We can help you with BIR problems and solutions.