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Washington, D. C., January 31, 1899.

The following decisions of this office, under the act of June 13, 1898, known as the war-revenue act, were originally published in the weekly editions of Treasury Decisions. In view of the great demand made upon the Department for copies of these decisions, the editions of which have been exhausted, it has been deemed advisable to issue this publication, which contains decisions extant December 31, 1898. Decisions which have been revoked are omitted.

For convenience of reference, the original numbering has been retained.

It is believed that this publication will be found convenient and useful to officers of the internal-revenue service, and to others who have occasion to use it.

N. B. SCOTT, Commissioner of Internal Revenue.






No appeal save to the courts.

The decisions of the Commissioner are authoritative, and can not be overruled by any other executive officer-Appeal to the courts can only be made after taxes have been paid and application for refunding rejected by the Commissioner.


Washington, D. C., December 22, 1898.

SIR: On the 22d of November this office acknowledged to you the receipt of a letter from Mr. Frank H. Platt, 35 Wall street, New York City, inclosing a blank form, on which the United States Express Company does its business in the transfer of money by telegraph, and asking the liability to the stamp tax of such transactions. Mr. Platt further stated that Deputy Collector Wood had informed the company that these telegraphic orders were taxable at the rate of 2 cents per $100 or fraction thereof.

This office instructed you to advise Mr. Platt that an order for the transfer of money by telegraph within the United States requires a 2-cent stamp as an order for the payment of money at sight or on demand, and the message transmitting the order requires a 1-cent stamp, as required by law on telegraphic messages, and not a 2-cent stamp on each $100 or fraction thereof.

On November 29 Mr. Platt acknowledged the receipt of your instructions pursuant to the foregoing, and made the following statement:

As this is a legal question upon which there is room for reasonable difference of opinion, and as we think that the decision of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue is not in accordance with the law, may we suggest to you that the matter be immediately submitted by you to the United States attorney, with a view to having the question submitted to the United States court on an agreed statement of facts? In that way we can obtain an authoritative decision on the subject without any delay.

You will please inform Mr. Platt that the internal-revenue tax is not collected through the courts, and the decisions of the Commissioner of

Internal Revenue on the subject are authoritative, and no other executive officer has the power to overrule them. The courts can be appealed to after the Commissioner's decisions have been complied with, and not before. The statutes provide the machinery for the appeal after application has been made to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for refunding.

Mr. Platt seems to labor under a grave misapprehension in regard to the manner in which the internal revenues are collected. If persons who objected to the decisions of a Commissioner of Internal Revenue were at liberty to appeal to the courts before payment, very few dollars would flow into the Treasury, at least for the first few years after an internal-revenue bill was enacted. The statutes have, therefore, wisely provided that no suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court (sec. 3224, Rev. Stats.)

You are therefore directed, if you find that the United States Express Company has not been complying with the law, as above defined by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, to call on said company for a return of the amount of taxes not so paid, and on failure to receive such a return you will proceed to make an assessment, from the best informa tion you can obtain, covering the amount. This assessment, if not paid after due notice, must be collected by distraint, and after payment Mr. Platt can seek his remedy, if so disposed, through the courts. N. B. SCOTT, Commissioner.

Respectfully, yours,


Collector Second District, New York, N. Y.


(See also DECISION 19972, p. 279; 20093, p.66.)


Stamp tax-Agreement of sale, etc., at live-stock exchanges.

Transactions of live-stock exchanges-Duty of exchanges, when sale is made, or an agreement of sale, or an agreement to sell entered into, to give to buyer a bill, memorandum, or other evidence of such sale, and to place thereon the required stamp.



Washington, D. C., July 20, 1898.

SIR: I have considered the question whether the transactions of the Kansas City Live Stock Exchange, to which you call my attention, are liable to tax under the war-revenue act.

The law provides as follows:

Upon each sale, agreement of sale, or agreement to sell any produce or merchandise at any exchange or board of trade, or other similar place, either for present or future delivery, for each one hundred dollars in value of said sale, or agreement of sale, or agreement to sell, one cent; and for each additional one hundred dollars or fractional part thereof in excess of one hundred dollars, one cent.

Live stock bought and sold in the market should, in my opinion, be covered under the head of merchandise. I hold, therefore, if live stock is sold at an exchange or board of trade or other similar place, either for present or future delivery, the sale, agreement of sale, or agreement to sell should be evidenced by a bill, memorandum, or agreement to be delivered by the seller to the buyer, and this evidence should have the stamp required in the act.

If the above-named association is not operating under a misnomer, it is an exchange, the name adopted by the association itself being "The Kansas City Live Stock Exchange." The business of the concern is to deal in live stock, cattle, and, as I understand, negotiate sales for the owners of such stock, who bring or send it to Kansas City to be put upon the market.

I think the business carried on by this exchange is included within the provisions of the paragraph of the act to which I have above referred, and that it is the duty of this exchange, when a sale is made, or an agreement of sale, or an agreement to sell entered into, to give to the buyer a bill, memorandum of agreement, or other evidence of such

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