Issued by Spain, a 5-centimo black Arms of Spain war tax stamp is considered to be the first war tax stamp ever issued.
Wars are ugly affairs. They are also expensive. Many nations needing additional revenue to pay for their armed conflicts require an additional source of income during the time of armed conflicts. As a result, they have imposed taxes of various kinds on their citizens. Among services that have been taxed is the delivery of mail. War Tax Stamps are one of them.
Taxing mail delivery is a fairly shrewd way to raise funds. It spreads the obligation equally among the entire population is relatively small, affordable increments. War tax stamps are similar to postal tax stamps, with the exception that the funds they raise are dedicated to defraying the cost of war, while postal taxes usually go to charities or other similar institutions.
The first country to impose a war tax on mail services was Spain during the Third Carlist War of 1872-76. The war was a three-way civil war between liberal republicans, supporters of Alfonso XII of the House of Bourbon and supporters of Carlos VII, the Carlist pretender to the throne.
Spain issued a 5 Centimo black on the white stamp with the inscription "Impuesto de Guerra" (War Tax). Their use continued for several years after the war ended, as the Spanish government sought to pay off its war debts.
Image Courtesy: https://www.linns.com
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