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The revenue stamp - 150 years from its appearance

      This year marks 150 years from the appearance of the revenue stamp in Romania, a crucial moment in the history of Romanian finance, event which a collective of enthusiasts decided to celebrate by opening an exhibit in November 2006, at the Bucharest City Museum , an always hospitable host for such events.
      For many of us the revenue stamp represents an obligation which we fulfill without asking, upon the request of a person the other side of a counter. As form and design we assimilate them to postage stamps, but we never give them much importance. Only that they did not always look like this, over time having various forms and uses.
      The organizing of the fiscal system is greatly influenced by the way the State is organized. We will not find and organized fiscal system in older times, when not even the State was organized.
      The beginning of an organized fiscal system is marked by the Organic Regulation of the 1st of January 1832, until this act we cannot speak of an organized fiscal system in the real sense of the word. That does not mean that until then there were no taxes. On the contrary, there were too many. The people of the Princely States (Moldova and Walachia) were paying overburdening taxes, reason for emigration to neighboring countries, besides being too much, they were not even collected by State officials, but by various entrepreneurs, tax-collectors (taxildari) which acquired at public auctions the right to collect taxes from the citizens. There were great abuses in the collecting of taxes, taking from peasants - the category being the only taxpayers, nobles and the clerical staff being exempted, many times over the same tax, the poor people not being able to denounce the injustice, justice being on the side of the powerful, meaning the tax-collectors. This situation, and the more and more numerous revolts, as well as the migration of peasants made the country's Ruler think.

      The hard and abusive system needed a refreshing, which appeared during the Organic Regulation, which had the merit of simplifying the taxation system and pointed out the fiscal obligations of the taxpayers. The Organic Regulation imposed a quarterly payment of any tax, the issue of a receipt for the collection of the tax, regardless if the taxpayer was literate or not, the amount being in turn deposited with a receipt. Clerks who fulfilled many tasks appeared, registered and accounted, therefore not leaving room for the many abuse of the past. The changes eased somewhat the life of the taxpayer, already difficult, and eased the way to future legislation.
      At the end of the 1848 Revolution and the Convention of Balta - Liman, in 1849, between Russia and the Ottoman Empire , the rulers of the Romanian States were appointed for a 7 years period. During their reign they tried to improve the State and the Administration. After the withdrawal of the Russian troops, Austria occupied both States, which they held under occupation for a long period, bringing new hardship and financial damages. During this time, in Moldova, Grigorie Alexandru Ghica Voda, after an exile established in Vienna where he met and appreciated the western knowledge, returning to the throne (October 1854 - June 1856) looked for a well thought program for the improving of the fiscal system, among which the issue of a revenue stamp. Grigorie Alexandru Ghica orders the publication of "The royal ordinance number 2, for the promulgation of a law establishing the stamp tax", through which is established, as a stamped sheet, the first fixed stamp - the royal stamp - in value of 20 parale and gradual stamps (the proportionate stamps of later). The need to create Romanian stamps for court and commercial acts, led to the establishing in Iasi of a State print "the Stamp Workshop" ("Atelia Timbrului"), which started its activity on the 12th of January 1856. So is born the first Romanian revenue stamp, two years prior to the famous Bull's Head. From the Great Union of the Romanian Princely States and until the age of reforms from 1866, a number of laws are passed, aimed at improving tax collecting.
      On the 28th of February 1872, King Charles Ist, promulgates the "Law for the establishment of the Tax and Registration Tax", followed on the 1st of September by the release into circulation of a number of mobile revenue stamps.This Law is the first that introduced in our country the stamp and registration tax over all court and administrative acts, be them civil, commercial and over the movement of real securities and real estates.
      This Law, modified by the requirements of time, exists to this day and governs the issue of general use revenue stamps.
      The exhibit is an introduction of the public into the world of the revenue stamp, being at the same time a history in images of the Romanian finance from the middle of the 19th century to our present day. In the exhibit you can see from the first fixed stamps printed on a large number of documents, mobile revenue stamps, help and social assistance stamps, unemployment, transport, legal stamps and many other, up to the original moulds used in the manufacturing process, hand, perforators, essays and stamp sheets, some unique worldwide. Also, exhibited is a large array of revenue stamps used on various documents, which gives an example of the various applications of the revenue stamps. We can not conclude such a chapter without presenting some of the specialized works, helpful for this field.