Page:EB1911 - Volume 10.djvu/815

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confinement was put in operation the following year. There were, however, but few prisons in France adapted for the cellular system, and the process of reconstruction has been slow. In 1898 the old Paris prisons of Grande-Roquette, Saint-Pélagie and Mazas were demolished, and to replace them a large prison with 1500 cells was erected at Fresnes-lès-Rungis. There are (1) the maison d’arrêt, temporary places of durance in every arrondissement for persons charged with offences, and those sentenced to more than a year’s imprisonment who are awaiting transfer to a maison centrale; (2) the maison de justice, often part and parcel of the former, but only existing in the assize court towns for the safe custody of those tried or condemned at the assizes; (3) departmental prisons, or maisons de correction, for summary convictions, or those sentenced to less than a year, or, if provided with sufficient cells, those amenable to separate confinement; (4) maisons centrales and pénitenciers agricoles, for all sentenced to imprisonment for more than a year, or to hard labour, or to those condemned to travaux forcés for offences committed in prison. There are eleven maisons centrales, nine for men (Loos, Clairvaux, Beaulieu, Poissy, Melun, Fontevrault, Thouars, Riom and Nîmes); two for women (Rennes and Montpellier). The pénitenciers agricoles only differ from the maisons centrales in the matter of régime; there are two—at Castelluccio and at Chiavari (Corsica). There are also reformatory establishments for juvenile offenders, and dépôts de sûreté for prisoners who are travelling, at places where there are no other prisons. For the penal settlements at a distance from France see Deportation.


At the head of the financial organization of France, and exercising a general jurisdiction, is the minister of finance, who co-ordinates in one general budget the separate budgets prepared by his colleagues and assigns to each ministerial department the sums necessary for its expenses.

The financial year in France begins on the 1st of January, and the budget of each financial year must be laid on the table of the Chamber of Deputies in the course of the ordinary session of the preceding year in time for the discussion Budget. upon it to begin in October and be concluded before the 31st of December. It is then submitted to a special commission of the Chamber of Deputies, elected for one year, who appoint a general reporter and one or more special reporters for each of the ministries. When the Chamber of Deputies has voted the budget it is submitted to a similar course of procedure in the Senate. When the budget has passed both chambers it is promulgated by the president under the title of Loi des finances. In the event of its not being voted before the 31st of December, recourse is had to the system of “provisional twelfths” (douzièmes provisoires), whereby the government is authorized by parliament to incur expenses for one, two or three months on the scale of the previous year. The expenditure of the government has several times been regulated for as long as six months upon this system.

In each department an official collector (Trésorier payeur général) receives the taxes and public revenue collected therein and accounts for them to the central authority in Paris. In view of his responsibilities he has, before appointment, to pay a large Taxation. deposit to the treasury. Besides receiving taxes, they pay the creditors of the state in their departments, conduct all operations affecting departmental loans, buy and sell government stock (rentes) on behalf of individuals, and conduct certain banking operations. The trésorier nearly always lives at the chief town of the department, and is assisted by a receveur particulier des finances in each arrondissement (except that in which the trésorier himself resides). From the receveur is demanded a security equal to five times his total income. The direct taxes are actually collected by percepteurs. In the commune an official known as the receveur municipal receives all moneys due to it, and, subject to the authorization of the mayor, makes all payments due from it. In communes with a revenue of less than £2400 the percepteur fulfils the functions of receveur municipal, but a special official may be appointed in communes with large incomes.

The direct taxes fall into two classes. (1) Impôts de répartition (apportionment), the amount to be raised being fixed in advance annually and then apportioned among the departments. They include the land tax,[1] the personal and habitation tax (contribution personnelle-mobilière), and door and window tax. (2) Impôts de quotité, which are levied directly on the individual, who pays his quota according to a fixed tariff. These comprise the tax on buildings[1] and the trade-licence tax (impôt des patentes). Besides these, certain other taxes (taxes assimilées aux contributions directes) are included under the heading of direct taxation, e.g. the tax on property in mortmain, dues for the verification of weights and measures, the tax on royalties from mines, on horses, mules and carriages, on cycles, &c.

The land tax falls upon land not built upon in proportion to its net yearly revenue. It is collected in accordance with a register of property (cadastre) drawn up for the most part in the first half of the 19th century, dealing with every piece of property in France, and giving its extent and value and the name of the owner. The responsibility of keeping this register accurate and up to date is divided between the state, the departments and the communes, and involves a special service and staff of experts. The building tax consists of a levy of 3.20% of the rental value of the property, and is charged upon the owner.

The personal and habitation tax consists in fact of two different taxes, one imposing a fixed capitation charge on all citizens alike of every department, the charge, however, varying according to the department from 1 fc. 50 c. (1s. 3d.) to 4 fcs. 50 c. (3s. 9d.), the other levied on every occupier of a furnished house or of apartments in proportion to its rental value.

The tax on doors and windows is levied in each case according to the number of apertures, and is fixed with reference to population, the inhabitants of the more populous paying more than those of the less populous communes.

The trade-licence tax (impôt des patentes) is imposed on every person carrying on any business whatever; it affects professional men, bankers and manufacturers, as well as wholesale and retail traders, and consists of (1) a fixed duty levied not on actual profits but with reference to the extent of a business or calling as indicated by number of employés, population of the locality and other considerations. (2) An assessment on the letting value of the premises in which a business or profession is carried on.

The administrative staff includes, for the purpose of computing the individual quotas of the direct taxes, a director assisted by contrôleurs in each department and subordinate to a central authority in Paris, the direction générale des contributions directes.

The indirect taxes comprise the charges on registration; stamps; customs; and a group of taxes specially described as “indirect taxes.”

Registration (enregistrement) duties are charged on the transfer of property in the way of business (à titre onéreux); on changes in ownership effected in the way of donation or succession (à titre gratuit), and on a variety of other transactions which must be registered according to law. The revenue from stamps includes as its chief items the returns from stamped paper, stamps on goods traffic, securities and share certificates and receipts and cheques.

The Direction générale de l’enregistrement, des domaines et du timbre, comprising a central department and a director and staff of agents in each department, combines the administration of state property (not including forests) with the exaction of registration and stamp duties.

The Customs (douane), at one time only a branch of the administration of the contributions indirectes, were organized in 1869 as a special service. The central office at Paris consists of a directeur général and two administrateurs, nominated by the president of the republic. These officials form a council of administration presided over by the minister of finance. The service in the departments comprises brigades, which are actually engaged in guarding the frontiers, and a clerical staff (service de bureau) entrusted with the collection of the duties. There are twenty-four districts, each under the control of a directeur, assisted by inspectors, sub-inspectors and other officials. The chief towns of these districts are Algiers, Bayonne, Besançon, Bordeaux, Boulogne, Brest, Chambéry, Charleville, Dunkirk, Épinal, La Rochelle, Le Havre, Lille, Lyons, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nancy, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Perpignan, Rouen, St-Malo, Valenciennes. There is also an official performing the functions of a director at Bastia, in Corsica.

The group specially described as indirect taxes includes those on alcohol, wine, beer, cider and other alcoholic drinks, on passenger and goods traffic by railway, on licences to distillers, spirit-sellers, &c., on salt and on sugar of home manufacture. The collection of these excise duties as well as the sale of matches, tobacco and gunpowder to retailers, is assigned to a special service in each department subordinated to a central administration. To the above taxes must be added the tax on Stock Exchange transactions and the tax of 4% on dividends from stocks and shares (other than state loans).

Other main sources of revenue are: the domains and forests managed by the state; government monopolies, comprising tobacco, matches, gunpowder; posts, telegraphs, telephones; and state

  1. 1.0 1.1 The tax on land (propriétés non bâties) and that on buildings (propriétés bâties) are included under the head of contribution foncière.