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2d. Excise.—Excise is levied upon salt, foreign wines, spirits, Belgian and foreign, beer and vinegar, cane and beet-root sugar, syrups, (glucoses,) and others, not crystalizable sugars. The excise on salt, and foreign wines and spirits, differs from a customs duty, in the fact that, while the latter is paid on the entry of the article, and before consumption, the former need not be immediately collected, credit being permitted on the payments of the former.
Salt-Basis and amount of tar.— The cxcise on common salt is fixed at $3 40 the one hundred kilos, (two hundred weight.)-(Law of 5 January, 1844, articles 1 and 2.) Refined salt is not subjected to excise, and pays a customs duty of $8 14 the two hundred weight. By the treaty of 1st May, 1861, with France, a diminution of excise of $1 40 is accorded on common sea salt of French manufacture, imported directly by sea under the French or Belgian flag.
Salt water, marking by the Reámur aréomèter one degree and under to three degrees, pays per hectolitre (twenty-three gallons) from one degree, inclusive, to two degrees, two cents; from two degrees, inclusive, to three degrees, four cents.
Salt water marking more than three degrees is regarded as saumure, (brinc,) and taxed according to its density, at sixty-six pounds per hectolitre (twentythree gallons) of saumure, when at twenty-five degrees of Reámur's aréomèter, and in accordance with this basis for inferior degrees of density.
Exemptions-Exemption of excise is accorded for common salt, English salt, and refined French salt, destined for cattle, for the improvement of land, fabrication of fertilizing substances, and the salting of fish derived from Belgian fisheries. It is reduced to four cents the hundred weight for common salt, employed in the manufacture of sulphate of soda.
Drawback.-A drawback of $1 90 the hundred weight is given on refined salt exported in quantities of not less than twenty-five tons.
Product.- The product of the excise on salt, according to the budget of 1862, is $1,020,000. There were, in 1859, two hundred and forty-two salt refineries.
Foreign wines—Basis of the tax.-The excise on foreign wines, established by laws of 27 July, 1822, and 24 December, 1829, was fixed at $6 60 the hectolitre, (twenty-three gallons,) by the law of 24 December, 1853. This law suppressed, at the same time, the additional centimes, as well as the stamp duty upon the bills. The law of 18 July, 1860, which abolished the communall octrois, raised the excise to $8 50 the hectolitre.
Under the treaty of 1st May, 1861, with France, the duty is reduced for wines of French origin to $5 50, after 1 July, 1861 ; to $5 after 1 January, 1862 ; to $4 50 after 1st July, 1862. Liquors containing more than 21 per cent. to the one hundred degrees are not considered as wines.
By provision of the law of 12 May, 1819, articles 9 and 11, a reduction of the excise can be accorded for the loss of wine when imported in casks. Independently of the excise, foreign wines are subjected to a customs duty, varying from ten cents to forty-eight.
The product of this impost, according to the budget for 1862, is $569,000.
Domestic spirits.—The law of 27 June, 1842, modified by those of 5 March, 1850, of 20 December, 1851, of 9 June, 1853, and 18 July, 1860, provides for and regulates this impost.
Basis.-All the vessels employed in distilling which contain mash, fermented or fermenting liquors, are subjected to the excise, with the exception of distillers' alembics or coils employed for distilling or rectifying, of condensers of less than three hectolitres (about twenty-three gallons) capacity, consisting of tubes, &c., in which the liquid cannot remain.
Amount.-The amount of excise is fixed for each day's work, irrespective of the nature of the substance, at forty-nine cents the hectolitre of gross capacity of the vessels above indicated, except in the case of distilling dried fruits, molasses, syrups, or sugar, when it is seventy-seven cents, which amounts to the same upon the product in alcohol.
This tax is on the basis of one renewal per twenty-four hours of substances to be distilled, counting from midnight to midnight, exclusive of Sundays and fête days, if no work for distilling or fermenting is carried on. The distiller who works more rapidly is obliged to pay a supplementary tax proportioned to the increase of work.
Distilling from seed and stone fruits.—The preceding provisions are not applicable to distillers of alcohol from seed or stone fruits, which pay an excise of 37 cents the hectolitre. The excise is calculated upon the quantity of mashed or fermented matter, according to the gross capacity of the vessels employed. If, however, the gross contents of the alembics, multiplied by the number of boilings, shows a quantity superior to that of the mashed or fermented substances, the charge is augmented in proportion.
Rectifiers are exempted from excise.
Agricultural distillers.-A deduction of 15 per cent. on the excise is accorded in the following cases :
1st. When only two sets of utensils are employed; the one serving solely for the boiling, the other solely for the rectification of flegmes, and not exceeding in total capacity 20 hectolitres per 24 hours.
2d. When at least one head of cattle (excepting horses) for each hectolitre and a half of capacity of the vessels subjected to an excise is fed in the yard of the distillery.
3d. When the distiller cultivates for himself within the distance of 5 kilometres, (of 4,971 furlongs,) or about (3 miles) at furthest from the distillery 1 hectare (24 acres) of land for each hectolitre and a half of capacity of vessels subjected to excise. Moreover, distillers interested, directly or indirectly, in one or more distilleries have no right to the deduction of 15 per cent. if their establishments are distant more than 5 kilometres (3 miles) from each other. By the terms of paragraph 203, article 14, of the law, “the employment of ves. sels called mashers, or other vessels, utensils, or processes newly introduced, can be authorized by the minister of finance on conditions which he shall determine."
By virtue of this provision different regulations have been presented by the minister.
1st. To authorize the employment of the mashers with exemption of tax, (28 July, 1854;) 2d, to regulate distillery (a) of beet root juice, (c) of cosittes, of beet root, (c) of raw sugar and molasses, (arrêté.)-(Decree of 4 August, 1858, of 23 June, 1859, of 12 February, 1859, and of 5 May, 1855.)
Drawback.-A drawback of $7, equal to the amount of the excise, per tolitre (about 23 gallons) of spirits of 50 per cent., according to the alcoholater of Gay Lussac; and on a minimum of 10 hectolitres is given on exhalations or deficit in public stores, and a proportionate amount on qualities of inferior or superior strength. This drawback, however, is not allowed to distillers of seed or stone fruit, or to those who have profited by the reduction of 15 per cent. above indicated. In case of forced interruption of his works the distiller is not liable to the excise.
Produce. The product of this impost for 1862 is placed at $1,812,000 in the budget for this year.
There are 470 distillers in Belgium, one of which only is for seed and stone fruit.
Foreign spirits-Basis and amount of tax.-In conformity with the law of 5 January, 1840, modified by that of 18 July, 1860, alcoholic liquids distilled in foreign countries are subjected to an excise, which is due on importation, and is as follows: (a) upon spirits, rum, arrack, and all alcoholic liquids unmixed with substances which change the degree of strength, $11 80 per hectolitre of 50° or under of the alchometre of Gay Lussac, at the temperature of 159 centigrade; (b) above 50 per cent., at 23} cents per degree and per hectolitre; (c) upon
cordials, liqueurs, without distinction of degree, $12 per hectolitre; the fractions below five-tenths of a degree are not counted; above five-tenths they count as a degree.
For distilled liquors of foreign origin the excise is suppressed and replaced by customs duties. This modification was introduced by the treaty of 1st May, 1861, with France. . In addition to the excise, distilled liquors pay a customs duty of from $1 45 to $2 40 per hectolitre. The excise on foreign spirits figures in the budget for 1862 at $31,000. The product of the customs duty on foreign spirits and distilled liquors was $9,000.
Beer and vinegar-Basis of amount of tax.—The excise on beer brewed in the kingdom is fixed by the law of 2d August, 1822, modified by those of 20 December, 1851, and 18 July, 1860, at 80 cents per hectolitre of the contents of the vessels in which the malt is brewed, and for each time they are employed. This applies equally to beer destined for vinegar.
By the taxable capacity of brewing vessels is understood their gross capacity, after deducting for the space occupied by false bottoms, pumps, and mixers placed therein, and generally employed by brewers for manipulating the substances placed therein.
The time for the duration of the work, and that necessary for lighting the fire under the boilers before commencing, is regulated by a tariff annexed to the law.
A drawback of 50 cents the hectolitre for beer of good quality is allowed on exportation, the minimum quantity being 5 hectolitres for beer in cask, and 2 hectolitres for beer in bottles.-(Royal decrees of 17 September, 1846, and 24 December, 1861.)
Vinegar.–Vinegar manufacturers are of three classes, according to the substance employed for making it.-(Article 23 of law of 2 August, 1822.) The first class comprises those making it from beer, or prepared from substances, and in vessels employed for its manufacture, whether purchased from a brewer or prepared for them only, whether in their own brewery or one hired. The second class are those who manufacture their vinegar with a substance commonly called way, which is procured by means of the maceration and fermentation of moutine or flour. The third class includes all manufacturers of vinegar made from other substances than the above. Those, however, making vinegar from apple or pear juice are not subjected to any restriction. Articles 24, 25, and 27 of the law of 2 August, 1822, determine the conditions to be fulfilled by vinegar makers of the first class, to obtain, first, credit for the excise upon the beer employed in the manufacture, (article 25;) second, a deduction of ten per cent. on the amount of the excise, (article 26 ;) and third, a prolongation of cridit, (article 49.) The manufacturer who does not fulfil the conditions of these articles, and therefore has not obtained the privileges indicated, is not subjected to any special tax for the conversion of beer into vinegar, but he is prohibited from drawback on exporting it, or placing it in public store, or to deliver it to another manufacturer or merchant with the right of remission of the excise.
The tax on vinegars made by manufacturers of the second class is at the same rate, and levied in the same manner as upon beer, viz: according to the capacity of the boilers, &c., which the manufacturer employs, ten per cent. being deducted from the same.—(Article 30 of law of 2 August, 1822.)
Under the provisions of article 44 of law of 2 August, 1822, the government, by decree of 30 December, 1841, regulated the bases for the tax on vinegar manufacturers of third class, and subjects to taxation all the vessels whatsoever employed in the preparation or acidulation of substances to be converted into vinegar; 18 per cent. reduction can be accorded to this class.
The excise upon vinegar is the same as upon beer. The law of 7 February, 1844, exempts from all tax vinegar manufacturers of the third class who employ substances already subjected to excise.
Fifty cents drawback per hectolitre is granted on exportation or deposit in public store on a minimum quantity of 40 hectolitres.
The product of the tax on beer and vinegar is estimated in the budget for 1862 at 2,712,000 francs.
There were, in 1861, 2,689 brewers in Belgium.
Raw cane and beet-root sugar.-Under the law of 12 July, 1821, foreign sugar only was subjected to duty; the law of 4 April, 1843, for the first time subjected domestic beet-root sugar to tax. Under the treaty of 1861 with France cane and beet-root sugar are subjected to a uniform excise tax of $9 the 200 pounds. Independently of this, raw sugars pay on importation a duty of 24 cents the two hundred weight.
The minimum of the quarterly receipts for sugar excise is fixed by article 2 of law of 27 May, 1861, at $300,000. When the mean of the consumption of three consecutive years, counting from the 1st of July of one year to June 30 of the following, inclusive, is superior to 336,200 hundred weight the minimum of $300,000 is increased by 10,000 francs for every 10,000 hundred weight
At the expiration of the first six months of every year this average is given by royal decree, taking for basis on the one hand, the difference between the quantities of raw sugars declared for consumption, (deduction being made of three per cent. for waste and refining,) and on the other hand, the quantity of sugar exported, or deposited for exportation in public store, with discharge of excise tax. This decree fixes the amount of the minimum to be collected from and after the 1st of July of the current year to the 30th of June following:(Law of 18 July, 1760, article 10.)
The importation of refined sugar is also included in the calculation. A drawback is allowed to those declaring themselves to be manufacturers or refiners of from four and a half to six dollars per hundred weight, according to kind and quality, the minimum being from two hundred weight to four hundred weight, according to kind and quality. It is also given, but on a minimum quantity of ten hundred weight, for sugars declared for exportation and deposited in the public stores.
The product of the excise on sugar is estimated for 1862 at $1,200,000. There were in 1861 sixty-eight manufacturers of beet-root sugar, and fifty-four sugar refiners.
Refined sugars are not subjected to excise, but pay a duty of importation of 11.40 francs per hundred weight for other than French sugars, which pay six francs per hundred weight.
IV. Under this head are included sources of revenue, which are, in fact, the payment for services rendered by the state. The state has constructed railroads and telegraph lines, which are still in its hands, and are carried on by its officers. The revenues from these lines consequently go into the public treasury. The state also derives revenue from the tolls collected upon the roads, canals, and navigable waters which it keeps up. The post office also is a source of revenue.
The control or guarantee of assay, and stamp of gold and silver articles for the protection of purchasers, the coining of money, the fees for pilots and for light-houses, and other receipts from public establishments, such as prisons, bospitals, &e., are among the items under this head.
The estimated returns of them for the year 1862 are as follows:
920,000 600,000 48,000 60,000 500,000
Stamps.-The stamp or “timbre" has not been included in any of the above categories, and merits especial mention. Like the registry and real estate tax, it owes its origin to the French regime. It consists in the fabrication and marking by a stamp or seal the paper employed in transactions of divers natures in commerce, trade, suits, &c., &c., in fine, all acts to have faith in a court of justice. This paper is sold in certain public bureaus at a price marked on each sheet, and which varies according to the nature of the act.
The product of this tax is estimated in the budget of 1862 at $930,000.
The following are the principles respecting the acts to be subjected to the stamp which have been observed in the legislation on this subject :
1. The stamp is intended to reach, so far as possible, all acts which interest the fortune of individuals.
2. In general the poor and public charitable establishments are exempt from this tax, otherwise it would be impossible for the poor to make the acts necessary for their civil relations. There are many acts which the poor are not able to pay for, but which they are obliged to make by virtue of the law.
3. Acts relative to the exercise of political rights are equally exempt from stamp, for the reason that if they were an expense to the citizen he would be likely to dispense with them.
4. All acts where the stamp would have to be paid by the State itself are exempted.
5. The exemption is made also upon acts, registers, and other documents of individuals, even which the State has an interest to encourage.
The government alone has the right to manufacture stamped paper, and no one can sell it save when specially licensed.
The legislation on this subject is very complicated.
The principal laws still applicable to it are the following: Law of 9 Vendemaire, an 6 ; of 13 Brumaire, and of 6 Prairial, an 7; of 31 May, 1824; of 21 March, 1839; of 25 May and 20 July, 1848; and of 28 December, 1848.
The organic law of this tax is that of 13 Brumaire, an 7, which abrogated all the laws and provisions of other laws respecting the stamp on civil and judicial acts and registers, leaving, however, in force the provisions of the law of 9 Vendemaire, an 6, relative to stamp on newspapers, gazettes, or periodical publications, sheet music, placards, and playing cards; but these provisions have been since modified in Belgium.
This law 13 Brumaire is, therefore, the corner stone of the whole system of stamp duties. The law of 25 May, 1848, abrogated the stamp upon journals and periodicals.
There are two kinds of stamps. The stamp on dimension, the amount of which depends on the size or dimension of the paper, and the proportional stamp, which is in proportion to the sum mentioned in the act, and without reference to the size of the paper.-(Law of 13 Brumaire, article 2.)