Historical Changes in the Format of Title-Deed Tax Receipts: From the 13thto the 18th Century (A Feng)

Abstract: The collection of taxes on land transactions has a long history in China. With the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), receipts for taxes paid on newly purchased land, or title-deed tax receipts (qiwei), started to emerge. These were pre-printed forms, whose blank spaces were to be filled in with the name of the buyer, the price, and the amount of the tax. The receipt was glued to the contract, which was then kept by the buyer. By the mid-Ming dynasty the responsibility for handling the tax receipts shifted from the county office to the prefectural level (in the Zhili district) and (elsewhere) to the office of the provincial treasurer. The Qing (1644-1911) at first followed the system of the Ming, using tax receipts issued by the office of the provincial treasurer. In 1727, the receipts were changed to a format made up of three parts (one glued to the contract, one for the local Yamen and a third to be sent to the provincial treasurer) and official contracts with their stubs came into use. In 1749, the Qing dynasty government again amended the format of the receipts. After filling in the owner’s name, the price and amount of taxes, it was to be cut into two, one half was to be kept by the owner, and the other half delivered to the office of the provincial treasurer for verification. The introduction of this format reduced, to a certain degree, the various opportunities for tax evasion which the previous system had allowed.
These tax receipts served as proof of the payment of the tax due upon land transactions. They were “forms printed according to a model and to be filled in accordingly”, hence they are prints as well as manuscripts. The change in format from the Yuan to the Qing dynasty reflects the growing importance the state, especially under the Qing, attached to the levying of taxes on land transactions.

从“全幅粘连”到“骑缝截开”:13至18世纪中国土地交易契尾样式的变迁 (阿风)

摘要:中国很早以来开始征收土地交易契税。从元代开始,开始出现税契凭证——契尾。依式刷印,空白处填写买主姓名、价钱及税额,由买主收执,全幅与契纸粘连。到了明代中期,契尾的印信管理机构开始由州县上移到府(直隶)、布政使司等。清初循明制,行用布政司契尾。雍正五年(1727),又“照连根串票式样”,行用契纸契根之法。乾隆十四年(1749),清朝政府改造了元代以来的全幅契尾,在填写业户姓名及价银、税银数量后,一行笔迹“当面骑字截开”,前半幅给收业户收执,后半幅汇送布政司查核。“骑缝截开”契尾的出现,在一定程度上减少了一尾多契等隱漏逃税行为。
契尾作为当时土地交易的契税凭证,“依式刊刻、如式填写”,既是印本,也是写本。契尾样式从“全幅粘连”到“骑缝截开”的变化,反映由元至清,特别是清代国家对于土地契税征收的重视。


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