I would like to thank the author of the excellent webpage Revenue Reverend for his permission to reference his sources on that page. If you want to have more information about Mauritius Fiscal Stamps, visit his website.
A revenue stamp, also known as tax stamp, duty stamp or fiscal stamp is an adhesive label used to collect taxes or fees on documents, specific products (e.g. tobacco, or alcoholic drinks) or to collect revenue from the registration of transactions. Generally, businesses purchase the stamps from the government, and attach them to taxed items as part of putting the items on sale, or in the case of documents, as part of filling out the form.
Revenue stamps often look very similar to postage stamps. In Mauritius, specific adhesive labels were used in the mid- 19th century. Then dedicated fiscal stamps were issued. At times, postage stamps were also used for revenue purposes.
Mauritius issued revenue stamps between 1 March 1869 and 1904. Various types of fiscal stamps were issued for different purposes.
(i) Bill of Exchange: 1869 -1904
Mauritius issued its first bill of exchange stamps on 28 March 1869. A bill of exchange is a written order, used primarily in international trade. It binds one party to pay a fixed sum of money to another party on demand, or at a predetermined date. Stamps were used to seal transactions.
The stamps were locally lithographed and imperforate. Fiscal values ranged from 1d to 16s8d in various colours.
These fiscal stamps were printed in triplets, with the inscription First, Second or Third of Exchange for use on triplicate documents.
Later, in 1869, a new set portraying Queen Victoria was issued, also in triplets. Desgined by De Larue, these fiscal stamps were issued in various colours and currencies (sterling, then rupees) and were used until 1903.
Some examples are shown here. Again, for a complete list you can access Revenue Reverend’s supplementary information page on Mauritius)
In 1904 a new type fiscal stamps was used. They were similar in design to the Coats of Arms stamps used for high value postage. They had a blank value tablet and in green and were overprinted BILLS ONLY FIRST (or SECOND or THIRD) OF EXCHANGE and the value. Two slightly different formats exist.
Between and 1896 and 1898 some of these fiscal stamps were overprinted for use in the Seychelles. There were also some provisional overprints printed there, and some of these are very rare and some possibly unique.
(ii) Inland Revenue: 1889 – 1898
Similar to Bill of Exchange stamps, inland revenue stamps are meant to collect fees and taxes by the government, from local transactions.
In 1889, two 4c postage stamps, were overprinted INLAND REVENUE. A year later a single 4c stamp was issued in lilac, and in 1898 this was reprinted in green. All four stamps of this type of revenue are common and are easy to obtain.
(iii) Insurance stamps: 1869 – 1904
The first insurance stamps were issued in Mauritius on 1 March 1869. These were Queen Victoria postage stamps, handstamped INCE in black. Two examples are shown below. Refer to Revenue Reverend’s main page and supplementary information page on Mauritius for a complete set of insurance fiscal stamps, their date of issues and various varieties of overprints used during that period.
In 1879 a new set of internal revenue stamps were issued in different colours, with an overprint INSURANCE in black.
In 1904 a new type appeared, similar to the design used for high value postage stamps, but with a blank value tablet and in purple. These were then overprinted INSURANCE ONLY and the value. Three different formats exist.
(iv) Internal Revenue: 1869 – 1900
Meant to collect fees and taxes from domestic transactions and various legal services, the first internal revenue stamps were issued on 1 October 1869. The first issue comprised of 12 values ranging from 1d to £1, each stamp portraying Queen Victoria. These stamps were issued until around 1900, with various changes in watermark, currency and colour. Between 1885 and 1894 there were few provisional surcharges.
Some internal revenue stamps, sometimes in special colours, were overprinted for use as Insurance stamps between 1869 and 1879.
Between c.1892 and 1895 some were also overprinted for use in the Seychelles.