the United States,
April 15, 1879.
(Received April 26.)
[Inclosure in dispatch No.
Report of commissioners of inland revenue as to
railroad taxation in Great Britain.
Revenue, Somerset House, W. C.,
March 27, 1879.
May it Please your Lordships: We have the honor
to return the papers referred to us by your lordships on the 18th
instant, wherein the minister of the United States seeks information as
to the taxation of railways in this country, and we beg to submit the
following replies to the questions put as we understand them:
1. The taxation of railroads in Great Britain appears to have been based
on the previous taxation of stage carriages, which had been in existence
from the year 1779.
The railroad tax does not extend to Ireland.
When the tax was first imposed, in 1832, the charge was one-half penny
per mile for every four passengers, the proprietors being required to
keep accounts and pay duty monthly. The development of railway traveling
soon rendered necessary a simpler mode of assessing the duty, and in
1842 the charge was made 5 per cent. on the gross receipts from all
passengers. In 1844 a concession was made on behalf of the poorer class
of travelers, and all fares not exceeding a penny per mile by trains
stopping at every station were allowed exemption from duty.
The duty on stage carriages was repealed in 1869, but railroads having
now obtained a practical monopoly in carrying passengers, and the tax
having become an important branch of revenue, it is still
2, 3. Railways are only subject to the usual stamp duties in dealing
either with real or personal property.
4. A franchise tax is not known in this country.
5. Railroad stock or debentures bear no tax as such.
6. Railroad proprietors, like other trading persons or companies, are
liable to income tax on their net annual profits, and such tax is paid
before any dividend is paid.
We have, &c.,
- C. J. HERRIES.
- ALGERNON WEST.
- W. S. NORTHCOATE.