« PreviousContinue »
COMMISSIONERS OF INTERNAL REVENUE SINCE THE
ORGANIZATION OF THE INTERNAL-REVENUE OFFICE IN 1862.
GEORGE S. BOUTWELL, of Massachusetts, from July 17, 1862, to March 3, 1863, both
dates inclusive. JOSEPH J. LEWIS, of Pennsylvania, from March 18, 1863, to June 30, 1865. WILLIAM Orton, of New York, from July 1, 1865, to October 31, 1865. EDWARD A. ROLLINS, of New Hampshire, from November 1, 1865, to March 10, 1869. COLUMBUS DELANO,' of Ohio, from March 11, 1869, to January 2, 1871.
John W. Douglass, of Pennsylvania, was Acting Commissioner from November
1, 1870, to January 2, 1871.
Henry C. Rogers, of Pennsylvania (Acting Commissioner), from May 1, 1883, to May 10, 1883.
John J. Knox, of Minnesota (Acting Commissioner), from May 11, 1883, to
May 20, 1883. WALTER Evans, of Kentucky, from May 21, 1883, to March 19, 1885. JOSEPH S. MILLER, of West Virginia, from March 20, 1885, to March 20, 1889. John W. Mason, of West Virginia, from March 21, 1889, to April 18, 1893. JOSEPH S. MILLER, of West Virginia, from April 19, 1893, to November 26, 1896. WILLIAM ST. JOHN FORMAN, of Illinois, from November 27, 1896, to December 31,
1897. NATHAN Bay Scott, of West Virginia, from January 1, 1898, to February 28, 1899. GEORGE W. Wilson, of Ohio, from March 1, 1899, to November 27, 1899.
Robt. Williams, jr., of Ohio (Acting Commissioner), from November 28, 1899,
to December 19, 1900.
1 Mr. Delano was appointed and commissioned Secretary of the Interior November 1, 1870. He did not resign the office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and therefore became the legal holder of two offices, Commissioner of Internal Revenue and Secretary of the Interior, as he might legally do, for the duties of the two offices are distinct and compatible. (Converse v. United States, 21 How., 468; United States v. Saunders, 120 U.S., 126.)
He continued to hold the office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue until his successor was appointed and qualified, but was absent from the internal-revenue office and discharged the duties and received the salary of the office of Secretary of the Inteiror and of that office only.
Deputy Commissioner Douglass was Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue in the absence of Commis sioner Delano (15 Stat., 168), and continued to be so until Alfred Pleasonton was commissioned as Commis. sioner of Internal Revenue, January 3, 1871.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States. (Constitution of the United States, art. 1, sec. 8; McGuire v. The Commonwealth, 3 Wall., 387; Pervear v. The Commonwealth, 5 Wall., 533; The Collector v. Day, 11 Wall., 113, 13 Int. Rev. Rec., 141; United States v. Singer, 15 Wall., 111, 17 Ínt. Rev. Rec., 9; Scholey v. Rew, 23 Wall., 331.)
A general power is given to Congress to lay and collect taxes of every kind or nature without any restraint, except only on exports; but two rules are prescribed for their government, namely, uniformity and apportionment. Three kinds of taxes, to wit, duties, imposts, and excises by the first rule, and capitation, or other direct taxes, by the second rule. (Hylton v. The United States, 3 Dall., 171-173.)
The power of Congress to tax is a very extensive power. It is given in the Constitution with only one exception, and only two qualifications. Congress can not tax exports, and it must impose direct taxes by the rule of apportionment, and indirect taxes by the rule of uniformity. Thus limited, and thus only, it reaches every subject, and may be exercised at discretion. (License tax cases, 5 Wall., 463, 6 Int. Rev. Rec., 36.)
Subject to the limitations in the Constitution the taxing power of Congress extends to all usual objects of taxation. (Knowlton v. Moore (1900), 178 U. S., 41; T. D. 129.)
Direct taxes must be apportioned, while indirect taxes must be uniform throughout the United States. (Income tax cases, 157 U. S., 429; 158 id., 601; Nicol v. Ames, 173 U. S., 509.)
A tax on bank circulation is not a direct tax, and may be laid without apportionment. (Springer v. United States, 102 U. S., 586; 27 Int. Rev. Rec., 78; Veazie Bank v. Fenno, 8 Wall., 533, 10 Int. Rev. Rec., 195.)
A tax upon the business of an insurance company is not a direct tax, but a duty or excise. (Pacific Insurance Company v. Soule, 7 Wall., 433.)
The tax imposed by the act of June 13, 1898 (war-revenue act), on sugar refining companies was not a direct tax but a “special excise tax. (192 U, S., 397; T. D., 760.)
No State court can by injunction or otherwise prevent Federal officers from collecting Federal taxes. The Government of the United States within its sphere is independent of State action. (Keely v. Sanders, 99 U. S., 443.)
The same principle which denies to a State power to raise a revenue by taxation on Federal property, or sources of revenue, or means of carrying on its duties, forbids taxation of State revenue for Federal purposes. (12 Op. Atty. Gen., 282; Collector v. Day, 11 Wall., 113; Ambrosini v. U. S., 187 U. S., 1; T. D. 593.)
As the States can not tax the powers, the operations, or the property of the United States, nor the means which they employ to carry their powers into execution, so it has been held the United States have no power under the Constitution to tax either the instrumentalities or the property of a State. (Pollock v. Trust Co., 157 U. S., 584.)
A municipal corporation is a portion of the sovereign power of the State, and is not subject to taxation by Congress upon its municipal
(United States v. Railroad Co., 17 Wall., 322.) The exemption of State agencies does not extend to those used by the State in carrying on an ordinary private business. (South Carolina v. U. S., 199 U. S., 437; T. D. 961.)
CONSTRUCTION OF STATUTES.
Statutes in pari materia are to be construed together, and repeals by implication are not favored if the acts can reasonably stand together. (Harrington's Distilled Spirits, 11 Wall., 356, 13 Int. Rev. Rec., 193; United States v. 100 Barrels of Spirits, 12 ibid., 153; United States v. Cook County National Bank, 25 ibid., 266.)
In construing statutes the fundamental rule is to get at the intention of the legislature. (In re Matthews, 109 Fed. Rep., 603.)
Legislative intention is the guide to true judicial interpretation. (United States v. 100 Barrels of Spirits, 12 Int. Rev. Rec., 153.)
A well-settled rule of interpretation is that a legislative act is to be interpreted according to the intention of the legislature apparent upon its face. (Wilkinson v. Deland, 2 Pet., 627.)
A statute may be construed contrary to its literal meaning when a literal construction would result in an absurdity or inconsistency, and the words are susceptible of another construction which carries out the manifest intention. (Sutherland on Statutory Construction,
Revenue laws are not, like penal acts, to be construed strictly in favor of the defendants. They are rather to be regarded as remedial in their character, passed to promote the public good, and should be so construed as to carry out the intention of the legislature in passing them. (Cliquot's Champagne, 3 Wall., 114; 4 Int. Rev. Rec., 58; United States v. 28 Casks of Wine, 7 Int. Rev. Rec., 4; United States v. 36 Barrels of High Wines, 12 ibid., 40; United States v. 100 Barrels of Spirits, 12 ibid., 153; United States v. Stowell 133 U. S., 1; 36 Int. Rev. Rec., 30.)
As a general rule the construction of these statutes must be such as is most favorable to their enforcement. There is no liberal interpretation in favor of the individual to be indulged in. (18 Op. Atty. Gen., 246; 31 Int. Rev. Rec., 246.) Revenue laws are to be construed liberally to carry out the purposes of their enactment (Smythe v. Fiske, 23 Wall., 380; Taylor v. United States, 3 How., 197; United States v. Breed, 24 Fed. Cas., 1222), and the rule of construction applicable to statutes generally, that what is implied in them is as much a part of the enactment as what is expressed, holds in regard to them. (United States v. Hodson (1870), 10 Wall., 395.)
They should be construed with reasonable fairness to the citizen. (United States v. Distilled Spirits, 10 Blatch., 428.)
Statutes should receive a sensible construction, such as will effectuate the legislative intention, and avoid, if possible, an unjust or absurd construction. (In re Chapman, 166 U. S., 661.)
Internal-revenue acts should be interpreted in harmony with the tariff legislation of the country. (Taylor v. Treat (1907), 153 Fed. Rep., 656.)
The laws providing for forfeiture by violators of revenue laws are not to be governed by the rule of strict construction applied to penal statutes in general, but are to have a reasonable construction. U.S. V. 2461 Pounds Tobacco, 103 Fed Rep., 791.)
Statutes are to receive a reasonable construction, and doubtful words and phrases are to be construed, if possible, so as not to produce mischievous results. But when the words are plain and unambiguous, there is no room for construction, and nothing is left for the court but to give them their full effect. (The Samuel E. Spring (1886), 27 Fed. Rep., 776.)
Statutes should be so construed, if practicable, that one section will explain and support and not defeat or destroy another section. (Bernier v. Bernier, 147 U. S., 242.)
It is a settled rule that where there are two consistent acts relating to the same subject, effect is to be given to both of them. (Chicago, etc., v. United States, 127 U.S., 406; Landram v. United States, 118 U. S., 81; 32 Int. Rev. Rec., 151.)
The words of the statute are to be taken in the sense in which they will be understood by that public in which they are to take effect. Science and skill are not required in their interpretation, except where scientific or technical terms are used.
The liability of an instrument to stamp duty, as well as the amount of such duty, is determined by the form and face of the instrument, and can not be affected by proof of facts outside of the instrument itself. (United States v. Isham, 17 Wall., 496; 19 Int. Rev. Rec., 84.)
Laws of doubtful or double meaning should not be too harshly construed. (United States v. 1,412 Gallons of Distilled Spirits, 17 Int. Rev. Rec., 86.)
Courts are not at liberty, by construction or legal fiction, to include subjects of taxation not within the terms of the law. (United States v. Watts, 1 Bond, 580; 1 Int. Rev. Rec., 17.)
Duties are never imposed on the citizens upon vague or doubtful interpretations. (Hartranft v. Weigmann, 12i U. S., 609, and cases *there cited.)
Punctuation no part of the statute. (Hammock v. Loan and Trust Company, 105 U. S., 77, 84, 85.)
It is the duty of the court to study the whole statute, its policy, its spirit, its purpose, its language, and, giving to the words used their obvious and natural import, to read the act with these aids in such way as will best effectuate the intention of the legislature. (United States v. 100 Barrels Spirits, 12 Int. Rev. Rec., 154.)
Words spoken by members in debate, or the motives of members, not to be considered in construing statutes; but courts in construing a statute may, with propriety, recur to the history of the times when it was passed. (United States v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, 91 U. S., 72–79.)
Debates in Congress as sources of information for construction of statutes. (27 Op. Atty. Gen., 68.)