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must necessarily be two taxations. If the mortgaging of these two companies' plants is made in one instrument to which they are both parties, there is but one taxation imposed; otherwise there are as many taxations as there are instruments used in accomplishing the desired end.

Respectfully, yours,

N. B. SCOTT, Commissioner.

Mr. FRANK R. MOORE, Collector Internal Revenue, Brooklyn, N. Y.

(20440.)

Stamp tax-Releases of mortgages.

Releases of mortgages and of deeds of trust operating as mortgages are not subject to taxation, no matter in what form they are executed.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT,

OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE,

Washington, D. C., December 15, 1898.

SIR: I am in receipt of your letter of December 10, 1898, inclosing a letter from H. H. Smith, treasurer of the Middletown Savings Bank, under date of December 8, written in reference to the taxation imposed upon releases of deeds of trust and mortgages, in which these instruments have been held to be subject to taxation as conveyances of land revesting title.

This office has given careful consideration to the question of taxation of these instruments, and has decided to modify the rulings heretofore made on these documents.

The paragraph relating to conveyances subjects to taxation any deed, instrument, or writing whereby any lands, tenements, or other realty sold shall be granted, assigned, transferred, or otherwise conveyed to or vested in the purchaser, * and the rate of taxation imposed on these instruments is 50 cents where the consideration for the conveyance or the value of the land conveyed exceeds $100 and does not exceed $500, and for each additional $500 or fractional part thereof in excess of $500, 50 cents. Under the construction placed upon this paragraph, all instruments that vested title were held to be subject to this taxation, although releases are not specifically mentioned in the law at all.

It was also held under this construction that in all States where the common law prevailed the instruments used in the release of mortgages and deeds of trust operating as mortgages were instruments that vested or revested title, and therefore were subject to taxation as conveyances. This was likewise so in States operating under the code system, if the instruments of release, in law, actually vested or revested title.

Believing this to be a too technical and strict construction of the paragraph in question, this office has finally concluded that it was not the intention of Congress to impose a taxation as conveyances on releases

of mortgages and deeds of trust considered as mortgages, especially as such a ruling would, where the person borrowed money on real estate, subject the transaction to a triple taxation: first, on the mortgage; second, on the promissory notes secured thereby; third, on the release of the mortgage when the debt was paid, there being not only the third imposition of tax on the release, but also taxing it as a conveyance, which tax is double that of the tax imposed upon the mortgage which it releases.

You are therefore advised that releases of mortgages and deeds of trust considered as mortgages are now held to be exempt from taxation by this office, no matter in what form they are executed, whether with the solemnity of a deed, a certificate of satisfaction, or simply as an entry of satisfaction on the margin of the record book in which the released mortgage or deed of trust is recorded.

Where the release requires a notarial certificate, the certificate is subject to a tax of 10 cents, and the release is exempt from taxation as aforesaid.

Respectfully, yours,

N. B. SCOTT, Commissioner.

Hon. N. D. SPERRY, House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS.

(See CHECKS, DRAFTS, NOTES, ETC.)

OIL REFINERIES.

(20002.)

Special excise tax-Refiners of petroleum.

As to what constitutes a refiner of oil, within the meaning of section 27 of the war

revenue act.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT,

OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE,

Washington, D. C., September 3, 1898.

SIR: Your letter of the 31st ultimo is received, inclosing one to you. from Deputy Collector Jenkins, in relation to the returns required to be made by persons, firms, companies, or corporations engaged in refining petroleum.

Deputy Jenkins asks for a ruling as to what constitutes a refiner of oil. He makes the following statement:

The term (refiner of oil) is applied more especially to institutions that furnish refined illuminating oils, for which purpose from 40 to 60 per cent of the crude petroleum is used. Other companies, and some of them the largest in existence, manufacture the heavy grades of crude petro

leum, and the remaining products of the illuminating refiners, which they purchase. These do not generally use the process of distillation, but by various methods-by the application of heat, chemicals, pressure, and skillful manipulation-furnish various products of great value and absolute purity. These latter institutions claim they do not come under the terms of the law. If they be excluded, the revenue obtained from refiners will be exceedingly small, but if they are included, the revenue will be an important item, as the gross receipts from some of the large lubricating works will run well into six figures.

Upon the question presented, you are advised that, in the opinion of this office, it is not material what the product is, or is called, or what method of refining be employed, provided petroleum be refined.

The fact that one concern extracts by distillation the more volatile constituents from petroleum, and that another refines crude petroleum in connection with a certain percentage of the product of the first concern and produces lubricating oils, vaseline, etc., does not seem to place such second concern in a different class from the first. They both appear to refine petroleum, and therefore are both, in the view of this office, from the light it now has, held to be subject to the excise tax imposed by section 27 of the war-revenue act upon "every person, firm, corporation, or company carrying on or doing the business of refining petroleum."

Respectfully, yours,

N. B. SCOTT, Commissioner.

Mr. JAMES S. FRUIT, Collector Internal Revenue, Pittsburg, Pa.

(20023.)

Special excise tax-Gross receipts of oil refining and pipe line companies. Returns of gross receipts under section 27, act of June 13, 1898, to be made for period ending June 30, and for each monthly period thereafter-Tax on such gross receipts accruing each month assessable under section 31 of that act.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT,

OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE,

Washington, D. C., September 7, 1898. SIR: In reply to your letter of the 1st instant, in reference to returns of gross receipts, required by the revenue act of June 13, 1898, to be made by oil refining and pipe line companies, you are informed

(1) That as the provisions of the act relating to such companies went into effect June 14, 1898, a return for the period commencing on that date and ending June 30 should be made by each such company and for each monthly period thereafter.

(2) That while the act provides that each such company shall be subject to pay annually a special excise tax equivalent to one-quarter of 1 per cent on the gross amount of its receipts in excess of $250,000, it is evidently the intention of the act, in requiring a return of the amount of such gross receipts to be rendered monthly, that the tax accruing each mouth shall be definitely determined for each monthly

period during the year. The tax, when so determined, is held to be assessable under the provisions of sections 31 of the act, and when assessed, to be due and payable as in the case of other assessed taxes. Respectfully, yours, G. W. WILSON, Acting Commissioner. Mr. G. P. WALDORF, Collector Tenth District, Toledo, Ohio.

PAWNBROKERS.
(20439.)

Special tax-Pawnbroker.

A person using no tickets in his business, but making a pretense of buying articles which are brought to him, which he holds with a verbal agreement that the articles can be bought back again by the person selling them, upon the payment of a specified bonus, is liable to special tax as pawnbroker.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT,

OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE,

Washington, D. C., December 15, 1898.

SIB: Your letter of the 2d instant relative to the liability of Mr. E. Harris, of Ironton, Ohio, is received.

In reply, you are advised that this office is of the opinion that Mr. Harris is liable to special tax as pawnbroker upon the statement made in your report, as follows:

He uses no checks or tickets in his business, but makes a pretense of buying articles which are brought to him, which he holds, with a verbal agreement that the articles can be bought back again by the person selling them, upon the payment of a specified bonus. Revenue Agent Payne himself personally tested his method of doing business.

*

Mr. Harris has been conducting a business in this manner from a period prior to July 1.

Respectfully, yours,

N. B. SCOTT, Commissioner.

Mr. M. A. HAYNES, Revenue Agent, Cincinnati, Ohio.

PERFUMERY, COSMETICS, ETC.

(See also DECISIONS 19564, p. 214; 19614, p. 243; 19702, p. 212; 19705, p. 246.)

(19563.)

Stamp tax-Perfumery, etc.

Stamp tax on samples of medicinal articles, perfumery, etc.—Such articles sold in bulk packages, how stamped.

TREASURY Department,

OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE,

Washington, D. C., June 23, 1898,

SIR: Mr. Solon Palmer, of 374 and 376 Pearl street, New York, has propounded certain questions to this office. He has been referred

to you, and you are requested to inform him that this office answers these questions as follows:

1. Samples of all articles mentioned in Schedule B, act of June 13, 1898, when removed for consumption by gratuitous distribution or otherwise, are liable to stamp tax, according to the retail price or value of such sample, on and after July 1, 1898.1

2. Perfumeries and cosmetics and other articles of a similar nature taxable under Schedule B are equally liable to the stamp tax when sold in what are termed bulk packages as when sold in retail packages, and the value of the stamp or stamps to be affixed must correspond with and be proportionate to the price charged for the smallest retail package with its contents.

Respectfully, yours,

N. B. SCOTT, Commissioner.

Mr. C. H. TREAT, Collector Second District, New York, N. Y.

PETROLEUM.

(See OIL REFINERIES.)

POWERS OF ATTORNEY.

(See also DECISIONS 19605, p. 143.)

(19621.)

Three per cent loan-Powers of attorney.

Subscriptions to the 3 per cent loan not taxable-Powers of attorney taxable except

for collection of certain specified claims.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT,

OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE,

Washington, D. C., July 2, 1898.

SIR: In answer to your inquiry of the 22d ultimo, addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury, you are advised that subscriptions to the 3 per cent loan are not taxable under the war-revenue law.

Powers of attorney require a 25-cent stamp to be affixed, except powers for the collection of pensions, bounty, etc., claims from the United States, or property lost in the military or naval service.

Respectfully, yours,

N. B. SCOTT, Commissioner.

Messrs. HOLMES COMPANY, New York, N. Y.

This has been modified as to samples for gratuitous distribution. Such samples can now be removed free of tax by complying with certain regulations as to labels.

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