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LOCAL TAXATION IN LOWER CANADA. In Montreal, which, in respect to municipal administration may be taken as a type of the provincial towns and cities, there is po tax whatever upon bank capital or money at interest, and comparatively none upon other personal property ; but the revenue necessary to defray municipal expenditures is derived from the following sources: 1. An assessment of 1s. 6d. in the pound on the assessed yearly value of all real property ; this levy to be made, in the first instance, upon the owners, but, on default of payment, then upon the occupiers, who are authorised to deduct the amount of the assessed tax from the rents to be paid for the property. 2. An extra assessment of one-half per cent per every four dollars of the assessed value of all real property, to be paid by the owners, in addition to the assessment before mentioned. 3. An annual tax upon all merchants and dealers, at the rate of thirty dollars for every four hundred dollars of the assessed yearly value of the premises occupied or used by them. 4. An annual duty, in addition, upon keepers of taverns or places of entertainment, varying from twentyseven dollars when the assessed yearly value of the premises used shall not exceed one hundred and sixty dollars, to one hundred and seventy-five dollars when the yearly value of the premises used exceeds two hundred dollars, and is less than two thousand four hundred dollars ; and when in excess of the last-mentioned sum, an additional rate of seventeen dollars and fifty cents for every four hundred dollars over two thousand four hundred dollars. 5. An annual duty, varying from one hundred and sixty dollars to two hundred dollars, on auctioneers, exclusive of any other rate or duty to which said persons may be otherwise liable. 6. An annual duty of eight hundred dollars upon every gas company or gas factory. 7. An annual duty of eighty dollars upon livery-stable keepers; and an additional annual duty of three dollars upon every two-wheeled vehicle, and of four dollars upon every four-wheeled vehicle kept for hire. In the case of vehicles kept for hire by keepers of houses of public entertainment, the above rates are increased, respectively, to six dollars and eight dollars. 8. An annual duty of two hundred dollars on pawnbrokers. 9. An annual duty of two dollars and fifty cents on each working-horse or mare; and of six dollars on every pleasure-horse or mare kept or owned in the city. 10. An annual duty of from three dollars to four dollars on vehicles kept for hire by persons other than those above mentioned, and an annual duty of from eight to twelve dollars on stage-coaches and omnibuses. 11. An annual duty of from six dollars to twenty dollars on vehicles kept for pleasure. 12. An annual duty of one dollar and fifty cents on each dog, to be paid by the owner or keeper. 13. An annual duty, varying from eight dollars to twenty dollars, on pedlars and hawkers. 14. An annual duty of one hundred and fifty dollars on the proprietor of each and every theatre, in addition to the assessment on the yearly rental of the building. 15. A tax of one hundred dollars on every transient amusement or exhibition ; and a further tax of twelve dollars for each and every day or night such exhibition or amusement shall be open to the public. 16. An annual tax of two hundred dollars on ferry-boats. 17. An annual tax of four hundred dollars on every person or firm engaged in the business of banking; of one hundred and fifty dollars on brokers or money-changers ; eighty dollars on commission merchants and money-lenders, and two hundred dollars on insurance agents. 18. An annual tax on telegraph companies of four hundred dollars. 19. An annual tax on distilleries at the rate of eighty dollars for every four hundred of the assessed yearly value of the premises occupied ; and, on brewers, a similar tax at the rate of sixty dollars. 20. An annual tax of one hundred dollars upon every billiard-table, bagatelle-board, or any other gambling-board kept at any place or house of public resort, and a similar annual duty on every bowling-alley. 21. An annual duty of forty dollars on every brick-yard. 22. An annual duty of ten dollars on every horse-dealer. In addition to the above rates, the use of water supplied by the city is charged for specifically. '
Taxation in the Province of Quebec.—The system of taxation provided in the municipal code of the province of Quebec (1870) defines taxable property as follows:
Ist. All lands and real estate, except property belonging to the Government, and to religious, charitable, and educational institutions, provided that the same is not held by such institutions for the purpose of deriving a revenue therefrom.
2nd. The yearly salary of all civil officers of the Government, federal or provincial.
3rd. The annual income of professional men, merchants, bankers, teachers, etc. · 4th. The annual salary of all other persons engaged in another's service, and whose salary exceeds $400.
If a rate-payer who possesses property declared to be taxable has his domicile in one local municipality and his place of business, from which is derived such taxable property, in another, such property is only taxable in the local municipality in which is situated his place of business.
The council of every local municipality may, by resolution, exempt from the payment of municipal taxes, for a period not exceeding five years, any person who carries on any business, trade, mining or manufacturing enterprise whatsoever, as well as the land used for such business, etc.; or agree with such person for a fixed sum of money, payable annually, for any period not exceeding ten years, as commutation of all municipal taxes.
SITUS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY, AND THE JURIS
DICTION OF SOVEREIGNTIES IN RESPECT TO SUCH
PROPERTY, UNDER VARYING CIRCUMSTANCES. THE ordinary rule or fiction of law (Mobilia personam sequuntur) is, that all personal property follows the person of the owner, and accordingly, for purposes of taxation, personal property has been generally held to have no situs away from the person or residence of the owner, but is deemed to be present with him, at the place of his domicile. In the State of New York, this was both the law and the practice until 1861-2, when the Court of Appeals, in the case of Hoyt v. The Commissioners of Taxes of the City of New York (23 N. Y., 224), decided, that although the law provides “that every person shall be assessed in the town or ward where he resides for all personal estate owned by him," a resident of New York cannot be taxed for personal property actually situated out of the State. Since then, all personal property of a visible nature or of the nature of chattels, which can clearly be held to have a situs, belonging to a resident of New York and actually situated without the State, has been exempted from taxation, especially when a specific demand has been made for such exemption ; but personal property of the nature of negotiable instruments, stocks and choses in action, are generally held by the assessors to be taxable to residents of New York, irrespective of what may be their actual situs. In Massachusetts the precept of the assessors of the city of Boston, for example, for the year 1870, served on tax-payers in connection with a blank for the specific return of personal property, requires that there shall be returned in the schedule for valuation and taxation-1. “ All goods, wares, and merchandise, or any other stock in trade, either within or without the commonwealth ;" 2. “ Vessels, or parts of vessels at home or abroad ;" 3. “Shares in all incorporated companies except national banks, wherever located, chartered by or organised under the laws of any State or nation other than the commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
The practice of the assessment of personal property is also substantially the same in Rhode Island and Connecticut, except that the latter State provides that “it shall not be necessary to include in the list of any person liable to be assessed any property situated out of the State when it can be made satisfactorily to appear to the assessors that the same is fully assessed and taxed in such State to the same extent as other like property owned by citizens of such State.” In Rhode Island and Massachusetts no such liberality of assessment is reported, although the lack of it obviously tends to and actually does result in double taxation ; and in a case recently tried before the Supreme Court of Connecticut, Sprague V. The Town of Lisbon, the plaintiff, a citizen of Rhode Island, sought to recover taxes assessed on personal property in the form
of machinery in a cotton-mill located and working in Connecticut, on the ground that the same was taxed as personal property to the owner in the State of Rhode Island.
We now propose to exhibit how far the decisions of the highest courts concur or conflict with the above referred to opinions and practices.
The question at issue, viz., the situs of personal property, in fact, ranks among the very oldest questions at law of which there is any authentic record ; dating back even to a trial in the time of the Amphyctionic Council, B.C. 400. The matter in controversy in this early case, and others similar of subsequent date, although belonging to the domain of international rather than revenue law, nevertheless involve points of a character which are to-day fundamental to the latter, viz., as to the extent of the power of a conqueror and of the sovereign de facto (or, what is the same thing, of the State itself), over incorporeal things ; which last may be defined to be “rights,” which exist in mental apprehension as connected with a given subject to which they are attached, and with a material object upon which they can be exercised; and not external things, chattels, which by seizure can be made the subject of actual possession. The weight of the authorities on international law is, first, that such incorporeal things as debts (bonds, mortgages, money at interest, choses in action) do not accrue to a conqueror or sovereign prince as a consequence of the possession of the person who is entitled to them; the legitimate inference from which is, first, that personal property, of an incorporeal or nonvisible character, cannot be held to follow the person ; second, that incorporeal rights do not accrue to a conqueror, a sovereign, or a State, from the circumstance even of possession of the instruments or documents which contain the legal statement of the obligation of the obligor, which are, so to speak, the title-deeds of the obligee, because they are not the debt itself, but one means, and not the only means, under all circumstances, of proving that it exists ;* a conclusion which has been substantially affirmed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in a recent decision, to the effect that a railroad mortgage-bond was not in itself property, but simply evidence of the existence of property in the State where the bond was created, and that the situs of the property was therefore necessarily independent of the situs of the bond. And this position, it may be observed, finds further confirmation in the circumstance that a creditor may recover a debt, even though the instruments which constitute the main evidence of the title to the obligation may be destroyed.
The case involving the situs of personal property, before referred to, as having been tried before the Amphyctionic Council of Greece, arose in this wise : After the conquest of Thebes, Alexander the Great found documents in which the Thessalians acknowledged themselves to have borrowed a hundred talents from the Thebans. The Thessalians had been allies of Alexander; and in return for their aid, he gave them the documents which contained an
* Phillimore on International Law.
acknowledgment of the debt. The Thebans, nevertheless, subsequently reinstated in the possession of their state by Cassander, demanded payment of their debt from the Thessalians. It was admitted on all hands that the hundred talents had been borrowed and not repaid ; and the question of law depended on the validity of the gift by Alexander. The cause was heard before the great international tribunal of Greece, the Amphyctionic Council, and the decision, although not specifically handed down, is inferred to have been in favour of the Thessalians. But if such was the decision, it must not be therefore concluded, says Mr. Phillimore, that it contravenes the acknowledged principles of international law respecting the transfer of incorporeal property, for the majority of jurists, supporting the decision of the Amphyctions, agree that Alexander had become so entire and absolute a master of Thebes—the heir, as it were, and the universal successor to a defunct and extinguished State—that he was possessed of everything and right appertaining to that city.
Another case of similar character to that of the Thebans v. Thessalians, but of modern date, grew out of the formal appropriation by Napoleon I., in 1808, of the debts, notes, mortgages, etc., of the Elector of Hesse Cassel, when the former became sovereign by conquest and treaty of the Electorate ; which debts, in all or part, were subsequently released or cancelled by Napoleon I. for a consideration. On the overthrow of Napoleon in 1814, when the Elector was restored to his sovereignty and estates, he denied the validity of the alienation of the debts in question, and instituted proceedings to compel a second or repayment to himself personally. The case, referred to the appropriate tribunals of Germany, remained a matter of dispute for many years, and has since taken its place among the causes celebres of public or international law. The decisions, so far as any were arrived at, were to this effect: That the Elector could not be held to have constructive possession of the debts (the circumstances being considered under which the money was borrowed), because he had retained possession of the instrument containing the written acknowledgments of the debtors ; but that their situs and possession was, on the contrary, with the person who had become the de facto sovereign of the States of the Elector, acknowledged as such by the subjects over whom he ruled, and recognised also by foreign States.
Coming down to more recent times, the decisions of interest and importance in respect to this subject may be appropriately grouped under the head of several leading and distinct propositions, the first of which may be stated as follows :
PERSONAL PROPERTY DOES NOT FOLLOW THE PERSON FOR THE
PURPOSE OF TAXATION, BUT CAN BE TAXED WHEREVER MAY BE
ITS SITUS. * In support of this assumption, the following cases and rulings at law may be cited :
1. (Duer v. Small, 17 Howard's Practice, 201 ; S. C., 7 American Law Register, p. 500). In this case, before the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York, the plaintiff,