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A stamp act is a law made by the British government that puts a tax on the transfer of some documents in Great Britain and its colonies. Those that pay the tax get an official stamp on their documents. Many products have been covered by stamp acts such as 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 other methods with annual payment of a fixed sum or purchase of adhesive stamps are more practical and common. Stamp acts have been made common in many countries, like Australia, China, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States.