Supreme Court clarifies the provisions regarding the exemption of the stamp duty

In a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Justice provides an interpretation regarding the exemption of the stamp duty payment. Article 28 of GEO no. 80/2013 regarding the stamp duties, the subject matter of the interpretation, provides that “Unless the law provides otherwise, any appeal, ordinary and extraordinary, against the judgement by which an action or request exempted, according to the law, of the judicial stamp duty, was solved, is exempted from the payment of the stamp duty”.

The question before the court was whether the exemption of the payment of the stamp duty for an appeal applies only if the appeal is filed by a plaintiff who was exempted in the first court from the stamp duty, or whether the exemption applies regardless of the party who files the appeal.

The Court stated that whenever the reason for the exemption of the payment of stamp duty is granted on the basis the plaintiff ‘s quality (intuitu personae), article 28 of GEO no. 80/2013 will not be applicable when the appeal is filed by the defendant because the defendant is not exempted from the obligation to pay the stamp duty.  In other words, the Court decided that in cases when the exemption is granted due to the personal circumstances of one of the parties, the difference of juridical treatment is justified because the parties are not in the same situation and therefore the exemption cannot be extended.

The Supreme Court stated that provisions of article 28 GEO 80/2013 must be interpreted so that the exemption of the payment of the judicial stamp duty in the appeal is applicable only if the appellant was exempted in the first court of the judicial stamp fee payment.

The Supreme Court Justice of Romania issued its decision in this matter on 29 November 2017. Decision no. 55/2017 has now been published in the Official Gazette.

Stratulat Albulescu - Attorneys at law