« ZurückWeiter »
$190. There are two rules, therefore, for the government of Congress in imposing taxes: (1.) The rule of apportionment. (2.) The rule of uniformity.
Capitation and other direct taxes are to be laid by the first rule; duties, imposts, excises, and indirect taxes generally, are to be laid by the second rule.
§ 191. The difference between the operation of a direct tax laid according to the rule of apportionment, and an indirect tax laid according to the rule of uniformity, may be thus illustrated:
Suppose Congress were to impose a tax of ten dollars on each carriage, and the number of carriages in the United States were two hundred and thirty-four, which is the number of representatives at present in Congress. The sum derived from the tax would be $2,340. Now, if this were to be regarded as a direct tax, and therefore apportioned among the States according to the number of their representatives in Congress, Rhode Island, having two representatives, would have to pay of the tax, equal to twenty dollars; and Ohio, having twenty-one representatives, would have to pay 24 of the tax, equal to two hundred and ten dollars.
§ 192. If, then, there were in Rhode Island five persons owning a carriage, each would have to pay one-fifth of the tax payable by that State, which would be four dollars; and if in Ohio there were a hundred persons owning carriages, each would have to pay a hundredth part of the tax payable by that State, which would be two dollars and ten cents; so that in the former State the tax upon the owner of a carriage would be nearly twice as much as in the latter State.
§ 193. But if the tax which we have supposed is re
garded as an indirect tax, (and such it was decided really to be,) it would be laid according to the rule of uniformity, and then each owner of a carriage would have to pay ten dollars, no matter what was the number of persons in a particular State owning carriages.
§ 194. The power of Congress to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, extends not only to the States, but to the District of Columbia, though it is not represented in Congress, and also to the territories of the United States. But Congress is not bound to extend a direct tax to the district and territories. They are held subject to taxation because they are a part of the Union, and the power of taxation vested by the Constitution in Congress extends over the whole country.
§ 195. The Supreme Court of the United States on one occasion expressed great doubts whether any taxes are direct taxes within the meaning of the Constitution, except capitation taxes and taxes on land; and such seems to be the general opinion.
§ 196. Duties on imports are of two kinds: (1.) Specific duties.
(2.) Ad valorem duties.
A specific duty is a tax of a certain amount on goods, estimating them by weight, bulk, or measure; for instance, a duty of one dollar on every ton of iron, or of one cent on every pound of sugar or yard of calico, would be a specific duty. An ad valorem duty is one estimated according to the value or cost of the goods; a duty of five per cent. on iron; that is, five dollars on every one hundred dollars' worth of iron, would be an ad valorem duty.
§ 197. Duties are laid on imports and tonnage. By tonnage is meant the cubical contents or burden of a vessel expressed in tons. The duties paid on the tonnage of
a ship or vessel, are also called tonnage. By former acts of Congress, vessels of the United States entering from a foreign port, or entering a collection district in one State. from a district in another State, were subject to certain tonnage duties. Such duties were also imposed on foreign vessels, but higher than those paid by American vessels.
§ 198. These duties are now, by an act of May 31, 1830, abolished in relation to American vessels, and vessels of the United States are admitted into the ports of the United States free of duty. All tonnage duties on foreign vessels are also abolished, provided the President is satisfied that the corresponding duties of such foreign nation, so far as they operate to the disadvantage of the United States, have been abolished.
§ 199. By Article I. sect. 10, clause 2, the several States are prohibited from laying any imposts or duties on exports or imports, without the consent of Congress, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing their inspection laws, by which are meant laws providing for the examination of commodities, in order to ascertain their quality; and they are also prohibited, by the same clause, from laying any duty on tonnage without the consent of Congress. The object of these provisions is to vest the supervision and control of the whole subject in Congress.
§ 200. The duties charged upon imports or exports are paid by the person who imports or exports the goods. If imported goods are not to be used in the United States, out are to be re-exported, an allowance is made to the importer, and in some cases the whole, in others a part, of the duties is paid back to him. This allowance is called a drawback. The collector of the port at which the goods are entered gives to the importer a certificate, called a de
benture, which sets forth the amount due to him by the United States for drawback of duties.
§ 201. The rate of customs and duties payable on merchandise is called a tariff. The list of articles arranged so as to exhibit the various duties, drawbacks, &c., charged or allowed on the importation or exportation of foreign and domestic articles, is also called a tariff.
§ 202. If the importer intends to re-export merchandise, he may deposit it in a public warehouse established by the government, generally termed a bonded warehouse, or, under certain regulations, in a private bonded warehouse, and give bond for the payment of the duties, in case it should not be exported again, but be used in the United States.
§ 203. Where the acts of Congress impose an ad valorem rate of duty, it is made the duty of the collector of the port at which the goods are imported, to cause the actual market value at wholesale price of the goods, at the period of their exportation to the United States, in the principal markets of the country whence they have been imported, to be appraised and estimated; to such value are added certain costs and charges, and thus the true value of the goods is ascertained, upon which the duties are assessed.
§ 20-1. In each of the large ports of the United States, appraisers, and, in some instances, assistant appraisers, are appointed by the President, to perform all the duties in the appraisement of imports and exports, required by the revenue laws. They are the detectors of frauds in invoices.
§ 205. An invoice is an account of goods or merchandise sent by merchants to the purchasers, in which the marks of each package, with their nature, value, charges,
&c., are set forth. Invoices of imported goods must be verified by the oath of the importer, his consignee, or agent. The person from whom goods are shipped is called the consignor; the person to whom they are shipped is termed the consignee.
§ 206. The appraisers are the judges of the quality and cost of goods, and they compare the goods with the invoice, or calculate and fix the value of the goods entered without invoice. The invoices of all goods and merchandise imported from a foreign port are submitted to the appraiser, together with such packages as are ordered for examination. If the packages are found to agree with the invoices in quantity, quality, and manufacture, the facts are noted on the invoice; if they do not so agree, the appraiser makes his return to the collector accordingly.
§ 207. When goods are not supposed to be fraudulently invoiced, but in the judgment of the appraisers are not invoiced at their full value, they add such an amount as will bring them up to their full value. When fraud is suspected, the appraiser reports the facts to the collector, and, if he agree with the appraiser in his suspicions, the goods are ordered to be seized.
§ 208. A manifest is a written instrument containing a true account of the cargo of a ship or commercial vessel. The manifest of ships or vessels belonging in whole or in part to citizens of the United States, in which goods are imported, is required, by act of Congress, to be signed by the master of the vessel, and to set forth the names of the places where the goods were taken on board, and the places in the United States to which they are consigned; also the name, description, and tonnage, of the vessel; a particular account of the goods on board, and