I. Why do we choose to pay cash, with physical presence and what could the state institution do to help us?
The reasons why we choose to stand in these queues can be various: we can't manage using other payment instruments (maybe it is useful to ask for help from someone in the family who can do it better than us); we want to get rid of the hassle of these local taxes and charges; we want to get the discount that the local authorities set if we pay by 31 March or other reasons.
We will NOT discuss here in this guide why we choose to stand in queues.
On the other hand, from an organisational point of view, at the level of a local tax department, certain measures can be taken, on a case-by-case basis: opening more counters, informing citizens who choose this method (by posting notices on the bulletin boards of blocks, for example) that there is no need for queues, and possibly ensuring that there are no queues at the counters, which are managed by day and area in the locality concerned. Bearing in mind that the relevant local tax department has a number of employees, there is not much more to bring in, just for a few days.
II. What can we do if we choose to pay in cash and go to the counter?
The easiest way (if we don't manage in the online area) to make our lives easier would be to:
- Call the Town Hall to find out the number of the Tax Department.
- Call the Tax Department and ask how, when and where we can pay; we can also ask how much we have to pay.
Note: It is very possible that we will not receive this information by phone, but only on the spot, because it is personal data that those employees are not allowed, theoretically, to give to other people and they cannot be sure that it is us or someone else on the other end of the line; we want to pay, and to be fair, we should not get angry if the employee who answers the phone tells us that he is not allowed to tell us, so, certain data about us.
- Calling Tax and Fee Department or the town hall, we can also find out the conditions of access to those buildings (on the pandemic background): it is possible to enter the building by a certain number of people equal to the number of counters open in that local Tax and Fee Department.
III. Useful information about the taxes we have to pay
We, the citizens, have to pay taxes. There are situations where:
- taxes are withheld from your income at source;
- situations where we go to pay them.
Then, there is also:
- Taxes owed to the state budget: and to find out how to pay them, we can consult the ANAF Guide (available here: https://static.anaf.ro/static/10/Anaf/AsistentaContribuabili_r/brosura_plati/brosura_plati.htm#p=8)
- Local taxes, set by local councils (in the municipalities), for owning certain assets (such as buildings, land, means of transport) or carrying out certain activities within the area of the respective municipality.
Every town hall has a local tax department that has all the answers to our questions about how much and how we pay. Payment methods (other than at the counter at the respective Directorate) can be different from one town hall to another, so it's good to ask (we need to know if they are enrolled on ghișeul.ro, if they have contracts with the Post Office, CEC or other banks).
IV. How can we, as individuals, pay these local taxes?
Local taxes can be paid by us, the citizens, individuals in several ways:
- Payment by cash (physical presence):
- at the tax offices of the local councils
- Post Offices, CEC Offices if they have a contract with the respective town hall
- Payment by Bank Card (POS):
- At the cash desks of the local tax directorates if they have POS installed
- Other banks, if they have contracts with the respective town halls
- Payment by payment order (can be made through the bank where the taxpayer has an account)
If a town hall also has this payment method, we should certainly find out the accounts to which we should make the payment, also from that town hall (somewhere, a list of these accounts to which we should pay is posted)
- Payment through Ghiseul.ro (National Electronic System for Online Payment by Bank Card) - if the town hall is registered on ghișeul.ro
We have a guide on how to use Ghișeul.ro here: https://www.ghiseul.ro/ghiseul/public/help/Manualdeutilizare-Contribuabili.pdf
It is not very difficult, but rather, intuitive.
By accessing Ghișeul.ro, we find all the useful information:
V. How could the queues at the City Hall of Sector 3 last week have been avoided?
It is also important to inform ourselves about our rights and obligations in relation to state institutions, as we have shown so far in the eight months of the "Be informed, not abused!" project. In this way, we can avoid unpleasant situations for us, because not everything that bothers us is an abuse by the state, and often the solution is right at our door.
It's true, at an organisational level, more counters could have been opened, if they existed, obviously. In the context of the pandemic, too, the buildings of the institutions are entered with covid certificates and limited to a certain number of people to avoid overcrowding.
Those who do not have a Covid certificate also have other payment instruments.
It should be noted that, unfortunately, this useful information from this Practical Guide text also reaches those who use the internet, rather than those who do not know how to use it. This is why we are asking people to tell older people or those who are not familiar with online tools, regardless of age, about these tools. It doesn't cost us anything to give useful information to the person next to us, relative or neighbour. Obviously, it's their decision whether they will use what we tell them or not.
On a brief analysis, we can easily see that, at least at the City Hall of Sector 3 in Bucharest, where we saw many queues, useful information is in plain sight.
We can call the town hall or go directly to the web page of the General Directorate of Taxes and Local Taxes of Sector 3 ( http://www.ditl3.ro/). All the necessary information is in plain sight, easy to find, as shown in the image below:
- Then, under the ”Persoane fizice” button, we have ”Modalitati de plata persoane fizice” (http://www.ditl3.ro/modalitati-de-plata/modalitati-de-plata-persoane-fizice.aspx)
VI. Where can we find more information about taxes and how they are calculated?
Although local taxes are regulated by the Tax Code (applicable at national level), local councils have a certain degree of autonomy in setting tax rates and administering tax collection.
Instructions on the procedures for managing local taxes and charges governed by this Code are approved by joint order of the Ministry of Public Finance and the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration.
The local tax authorities are the specialist departments of local government authorities (municipalities), if any, which have tax responsibilities.
Precise information on local taxes is found in Title IX of the Tax Code, which comprises 10 Chapters, in turn made up of Articles 453 to 486.
Art 462, paragraph 2) of the same Fiscal Code also tells us what that 10% rebate is: "(2) A rebate of up to and including 10%, established by resolution of the local council, shall be granted for prepayment of the building tax/tax due for the entire year by taxpayers by 31 March of that year. At the level of the Municipality of Bucharest, this is the responsibility of the General Council of the Municipality of Bucharest.”
Therefore, local councils (town halls) can decide to grant exemption or reduction of the land tax.
Taxes can be paid at the counters of the financial administrations or at the local tax offices.
Some of these taxes and duties can also be paid online, by bank card (in the case of municipalities that have implemented an online payment system), by payment order, by Internet Banking or through the "National Electronic System for Online Payment by Bank Card" at www.ghiseul.ro.
In addition, in the case of some local tax directorates, there is also the possibility of payment at Post Offices, CEC offices or other commercial banks.
Details of the full list of payment possibilities can be found on the websites of the financial administrations and local tax directorates respectively.
In conclusion, we hope that this useful information will help you and those close to you in your dealings with local tax offices.
Note: In a later episode, we will also cover the issue of residence parking lots to find out who sets them, under which rules, what to do if we disagree, and, most importantly, when (this information is found in the Practical Guide, in several episodes, when dealing with decisions of local councils, which are a kind of local parliament). We will even give examples on the issue of residence parking lots.
 Title 1, Chapter 1, art 1, 2, 3, available, free of charge, at http://legislatie.just.ro/Public/DetaliiDocument/171282
 Title I, Chapter 2, ast 5 available, free of charge, at http://legislatie.just.ro/Public/DetaliiDocument/171282
At the beginning of 2023, images of citizens standing in lines to pay local taxes and fees (often only people with green certificates can enter the offices of these institutions) have appeared again.
FACIAS has asked the Mayor General of the Capital for clarification on the parking fee increase: https://facias.ro/facias-solicita-lamuriri-privind-majorarea-taxelor-pentru-parcarile-de-resedinta/