No. 376.
Mr. Birney to Mr. Evarts.

No. 113.]

Sir: In my No. 107, of date March 27th ultimo, in regard to the system of railway taxation in Holland, I said that if I received other facts I would add them. In order to have the most authentic information, I had, on the 7th March last, addressed a note to the minister for foreign affairs, in which I set forth the interrogatories in your No. 94, and asked him to refer them to the proper official, that I might transmit the answer given to my government.

Not receiving a reply before the 27th March, I answered without, giving such information as I had obtained from other quarters. Having now received the reply of the minister, with a memorandum from the minister of finance, I herewith inclose both, with translations.

[Page 848]

The statement of the minister contains nothing additional to what I sent unless, it be on the recital of certain exemptions in favor of this government on the part of the railway companies.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure 1 in Mr. Birney’s No. 113.—Translation.]

Mr. Minister: I have had the honor to receive your note of 7th March last, in which you have been so kind as to ask of me some information on the subject of the taxes levied upon railroads in the Netherlands.

Pursuant to this request I hasten, Mr. Minister, to inclose to you a memorandum just received from the minister of finance, and which contains the desired information and special replies to the questions asked in your note.

Accept, Mr. Minister, renewed assurance of my high consideration.

[Translation of memorandum from the office of minister of finance.]

There are no special taxes on railway works. The railway companies are subjected to the same rules as other companies except that the grants for the right of way, and an act of 9th April, 1875, regulating the operating of railways by private companies stipulate some immunities in favor of the realm, viz:

Transport of soldiers and munitions, including horses, for half price.
Free passage to policemen traveling on duty.
Free passage to people traveling under direction of the public authority.
Free passage to the mail.
Free passage to custom-house officers traveling on duty.
Offices free of rental for custom-house officials, and sufficient space for the erection of government buildings for the State telegraph.

Answers to the six queries.

As above stated, there are no special railway taxes.
The railway companies pay for the ground they hold the same rate of tax on realty as was paid for it before said ground became its property; for the buildings on the ground, the same tax is paid as would be for other buildings of a similar kind.
There is no tax on personalty except a tax named personal rate, which is raised according to six bases, viz: The rental, the value of the buildings occupied, the number of doors and windows in the buildings, the number of chimneys, the marked value of their furnishings, the number of domestics and horses. To this tax railroad companies are liable. Their warehouses, like the warehouses of other kinds of business, are exempt.
They are not subjected to a tax on their shares or capital. They pay a license fee to an amount of 2 per cent, of their dividends, all business being liable for a license tax; their employés pay the same as all other clerks in trade.
Their shares and bonds are, at their issue and when passing to ineritors, subjected to the same stamp duties and taxes as all other shares and bonds.
There is no tax on their net or gross receipts.