Timbres fiscaux

Timbres fiscaux: I thought I'd plumbed all the murky depths of French bureaucracy until I had my wallet including French driving licence stolen. Arrived at the Sous-Préfecture with all the required documents plus the 25 euro fee; "Ah non" said the counter lady "Il faut acheter des timbres fiscaux". Apparaently, trhey can be purchased at any Tabac. So off I went, bought my Timbres Fiscaux, back to the S-P, everyone now happy. But.... WHY??

Not all that surprising Gerald they have similar stamps in Italy "marca da bollo" and also "carta da bollo" stamped paper for legal contracts. The last is much the same as the procedure once followed in UK where the parties to an agreement signed over a stamp of appropriate value duly affixed to the document.

Very well put, Marie-Claire, I could lose everything if I did something wrong whereas fonctionnaires are untoucheable whatever they do - we have two in the family (the rest of us are TNS/indépendant/agriculteurs etc.) so we know what we're talking about, and yes they do sometimes get a bit of a hard time from the rest of us at family gatherings! :-O

It works that way in France because the idea of "fonctionnaires" handling money worries us as we believe they cannot be trusted. Tobacconists are screened and checked constantly, so we believe that we have them shaking in their boots. Right Andrew?!:-)

They're talking about timbres fiscaux dématérialisés (you order them via internet/print them off, not sure how it's going to work to be honest, Chris) which we're fighting but I think it's going to happen soon. Not a big issue as it's such a small % of our business but yet one more area where we're going to lose out :-(

My greater surprise, Gerald, was finding something new [to me]. Andrew, I should of course have guessed that you would know about timbres fiscaux. Actually, I find them strangely charming. Like the officials themselves, who are generally pleasant and helpful. [I did say "generally" before you all jump on me!]

Because that is the way it works in France. It does not work the same as in whatever country you come from. Why is this a surprise to you ?

that was the case years ago, the same with postage stamps, but more and more have stopped as it's a lot of hassle (I have to go to Albi to get them so I get a month's worth at a time but that's several thousand € to lay out in advance which many can't/don't want to do) the commission is so small, as with postage stamps, that it's hardly viable! We still sell stamps but only by the carnet of 12!

Thanks for that Andrew; at the Sous-Préfecture, I asked and was told "N'importe quel tabac"!

They exist to simplify the money handling side of things - it means that mairie/préfecture etc don't have to deal with cheques or cash with dossiers. Just for info, they're not on sale in every tabac. I sell them but I'm the only one in town who does (one out of 6 tabac in Carmaux). Just the same for PVs - timbres amendes, which I also sell ;-)