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ing a tax upon transactions of this kind at "any exchange, or board of trade, or other similar place," this office has held that sales at any permanent business place, used generally for purposes of dealing in products or merchandise, without regard to its location or designation, where an assemblage of traders-buyers and sellers-meet for the purpose of transacting business under the advantages there to be obtained, come within the provisions thereof, and are subject to tax accordingly. In commerce an exchange is defined to be a place where business interests of a special character are brought together, and where contracts concerning them are made, as the stock exchange, the cotton exchange, or the produce exchange, and a board of trade is an associa tion of merchants, bankers, etc., to promote business interests. The words "or other similar place" undoubtedly include any place of like character used for like purposes by persons engaged in business pursuits.

In view of the scope of the law as thus conceived, this office is of the opinion that transactions in products or merchandise between those specially engaged therein, at any business place used for such purposes, without regard to location or designation, where they may meet and make their contracts or agreements, are subject to tax.

This office believes that dealers in any products or merchandise will see the propriety of requiring payment of tax upon their commercial transactions made outside of an exchange or board of trade, but at a place similar in the purposes for which it is designed and used, as well as when made inside the limits thereof, the principle of the law being to impose a tax upon the transactions made at any well-established place where business interests meet for the purpose of dealing in products or merchandise.

This construction of the provisions of the act of June 13, 1898, while it will apply without hesitation to the ordinary offices where such business is conducted, will not apply to the casual transactions which may occur on the sidewalks, street corners, or other public places where they will occasionally happen.

It may be added for your information, in case further inquiries are made, that the ruling herein contained is in accordance with the views of the Department of Justice.

Respectfully, yours,

G. W. WILSON, Acting Commissioner.

Mr. JAMES W. MCGINNIS, Revenue Agent, Chicago, Ill.


Special tax-Brokers' branch offices.

Special tax must be paid for every branch office established by a broker in the legitimate brokerage business, where the employee in charge of such branch office not only receives and transmits orders with the money to the main office, but also receives from the main office moneys for disbursement to customers, or keeps accounts with the customers at the branch office, or does other business with relation to the transactions of brokers at such branch office-Separate special tax must be paid and a separate stamp taken out for every "bucket shop," whether such office is called a branch office or a main office.

TREASURY Department,


Washington, D. C., November 25, 1898.

SIR: In a large number of cases of brokers in your district who have branch offices which have been reported to this office by the revenue

agents for assessment you have transmitted letters from these brokers wherein they contend that, under the statute, as construed by this office, they are not liable for special tax at these brauch offices. This contention is mainly supported by the ruling to which they refer, No. 21, in Circular 508, which reads:

Broker's tax is not required to be paid at branch offices where a clerk is employed whose sole duty is to receive orders and transmit them by wire to the head of the office. The mere receipt and transmission, by clerks, of orders is not regarded as the carrying on of the business of a broker.

This ruling as originally promulgated had reference only to small branch offices in which a clerk, on a salary, is employed whose sole duty it is to receive orders and transmit them to the main office of the brokers employing him, and who is intrusted with no other powers and transacts no other business and does not make any disbursements of money in the business.

It is expected that the ruling as herein stated will not be extended by collectors in any case whatever beyond its strict terms.

In every case, therefore, where branch offices are established by brokers, you are directed to report the facts for assessment of the special tax (but without the 50 per cent penalty, the question having been held under advisement up to this time on account of the letters received by you and transmitted to this office from the various firms reported by the revenue agents), except where it is clearly shown, by statement under oath furnished you by the brokers in question, that no money is transmitted to the employee by the main house for disbursement to customers; that no accounts are kept with customers at the branch office; and that no other business whatever, with relation to the transactions of brokers, is conducted at the branch office.

It is understood that the small branch offices of brokers established in hotels come strictly within the ruling No. 21, in Circular 508, as limited and restricted by the terms of this letter. The ruling as thus restricted is to be applied to cases where the clerk or employee at the branch office not only receives orders for the purchase of stocks, but also receives offers from customers to sell stocks, these being transmitted to the main office without any further action thereon by the clerk or employee.

From the tenor of some of the letters transmitted by you wherein brokers protest against the collection of special tax for their branch offices, upon the advice of counsel that the special-tax stamp taken out for the main office is all that is required by the statute, however many different places of business they may carry on, it is evident that there is a lack of acquaintance with the provisions of the law relating to this subject.

You will please call the attention of all the persons and firms who have submitted their arguments to you upon this point to the language of the first clause of section 3235, Revised Statutes, which provides

that "the payment of the special tax imposed shall not exempt from an additional special tax the person carrying on a trade or business in any other place than that stated in the collector's register," and inform them that this statutory requirement applies not only to the occupations for which special taxes are required to be paid under the old laws, but is extended and made applicable to those under the war-revenue act, in view of the provision of section 31 of that act that "all administrative, special, or stamp provisions of law, including the laws in relation to the assessment of taxes not heretofore specifically repealed are hereby made applicable to this act."

While there are no doubt many cases of small branch offices established by persons and firms engaged in the regular business of stock brokers, for which, under the ruling as herein set forth, no special tax is required to be paid, it should be understood that this ruling can not, in any case, be applied to bucket shops. The special tax must be paid and the stamp taken out and posted up at every place where bucketshop transactions in stocks are carried on; and it matters not whether these bucket-shop places are branch offices, under the management of clerks or employees, or are the principal offices of the persons conducting them.

In each of the cases which you have submitted to this office you will please ascertain from your deputies and report, in detail, the particular facts as to the business transacted at the various branch offices in your district, and obtain a statement under oath with regard thereto from the brokers controlling them, and submit it to this office with your views thereon.

It is not the desire of this office that any further argument should be submitted for a construction or an interpretation of the statute on this point. The ruling is to be regarded as conclusive so far as this office is concerned; and if any firm of brokers in your district is still desirous of disputing the correctness of this interpretation of the law the ouly course for them to take is, after payment of the special tax for the branch office and the rejection of a claim made for the redemption of the stamp taken out, to resort to the courts for a judicial determination of the question in dispute.

There remains nothing but the question of fact in each of these cases; and wherever the facts, ascertained upon investigation made by your deputies, are such as to establish the special-tax liability of any person at a branch broker's office, the case should be reported by you for assessment.

Respectfully, yours,

N. B. SCOTT, Commissioner.

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





Stamp tax-Building and loan associations.

Exemption from tax, under act of June 13, 1898, of building and loan associations. TREASURY DEPARTMENT,


Washington, D. C., October 11, 1898. GENTLEMEN: I acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 10th instant, inclosing articles of association and semiannual report of your corporation.

It appears from these papers that you are not in any sense a bank, but are doing business simply as a building and loan association, making loans only to your shareholders. This being the case, you are entitled to all the exemption accorded to such companies by section 17, act of June 13, 1898.

In accordance with a late opinion of the Attorney-General, this office rules that any papers or instruments (otherwise taxable) executed by a building and loan association that makes loans only to its shareholders, or any such papers and instruments made or executed by the shareholders to the association and within the limits of its legitimate operation, are exempt from the stamp tax, except checks or drafts given by such associations, or by the shareholders thereof, which are subject to the tax.

Respectfully, yours,

N. B. SCOTT, Commissioner.




(See also DECISIONS: Custom-house-Decision 19605, p. 143. 19742, p. 228; 19800, p. 95; 19834, p. 230; 19932, p. 231. Stock--Decisions 19607, p. 256; 19685, p. 115; 19700, p. 240; 19736, p. 116; 19888, p. 257; 19978, p. 118; 20070, p.259.)


Stamp tax-Papers for record.

Liability for recording or registering documents required by law to be stamped, unless stamps are affixed and canceled.



Washington, D. C., July 12, 1898.

SIR: Your letter of the 30th ultimo has been received. You ask what the new revenue law requires of you in connection with the receiving for record of papers which require to be stamped.

Section 15 of the act of June 13, 1898, provides

That it shall not be lawful to record or register any instrument, paper, or document required by law to be stamped unless a stamp or stamps of the proper amount shall have been affixed and canceled in the manner prescribed by law; and the record, registry, or transfer of any such instruments upon which the proper stamp or stamps aforesaid shall not have been affixed and canceled as aforesaid shall not be used in evidence.

The certificates of acknowledgment to deeds, mortgages, or other legal instruments require to be stamped with a 10-cent stamp as a certificate in addition to the stamp provided by law for the instrument itself. They are no part of the execution of the deed or mortgage, and are not covered by the stamp required upon such deed or mortgage.' The jurat to an affidavit does not require to be stamped.

The memorandum on the back of a deed or mortgage made by a register or recorder that the instrument has been placed upon record is not a subject of taxation.

Respectfully, yours,

N. B. SCOTT, Commissioner.

Mr. C. C. MONTGOMERY, Recorder of Deeds, Wilmington, Del.


Stamp tax-Certificates.

Certain certificates made by national banking associations not liable.


Washington, D. C., July 14, 1898. SIR: Responding to your favor of the 7th instant, inclosing blank form of report of earnings and dividends required by section 5212, Revised Statutes, to be made to you by national banking associations, which is required to be attested by the oath of the president or cashier, you are advised that such attestation to the report is not held by this office to be a certificate required by law.

Respectfully, yours,

N. B. SCOTT, Commissioner.

Hon. CHARLES G. DAWES, Comptroller of the Currency.


Stamp tax-Certificates.

Stamping certificates of damage to vessels.



Washington, D. C., July 18, 1898. SIR: In reply to your letter of the 7th instant, you are informed that the certificates of damage to vessels and their machinery, given by you,

This ruling has been reversed. No stamp is now required on the certificate of acknowledgment to deeds or mortgages whatever the amount involved. See docision 19764, p. 82.

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