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and surtaxes reduced, so that capital will not be inert and idle but will be willing to step out and take its chances in the world again, paying heed to the needs of national industry and our national resources and pouring itself into them. The moment you stop initiative in individual investment, you strike at the heart of national prosperity.
Our country has become what it is largely because great rewards have been offered to capital for its investment. It may always be that capital to an extent will be over-rewarded. You must over-reward capital so that it can lay up against contingencies which are largely unexpected, in order that it may advance conservatively and use its best efforts in the upbuilding of industry. The moment you stagnate capital by high surtaxes, you stop the development of national prosperity.
and Victory Notes By EDWARD H. MOERAN
NOTES RE CONVERSIONS:
1st 4s and 2nd 4s were convertible into the rate (if higher) of the next subsequent issue; there are, therefore, no 1st 4s con: verted into 1st-2nd 4/4s, nor are there any 2nd-2nd 474s.
The privilege of converting 1st 4s and 2nd 4s into 1st 4/4s and 2nd 4/4s, respectively, originally expired Nov. 9, 1918,but the privilege was reopened Mar. 7, 1919, and is still in force.
The 328 may still be converted into long term bonds of higher rate subsequent to the 5th loan it issued prior to the termination of the war.
Tax Exemptions All of above issues exempt from federal normal income tax, state
taxes (except estate or inheritance taxes) and local taxes. All of above issues qualify as admissible assets for purposes of
invested capital. None of above issues exempt from estate or inheritance taxes
(federal or state). A E and M full exemption from federal income surtaxes and
profits taxes. F and L no exemption from federal income surtaxes and profits
taxes. B C D G H J and K-limited exemption from federal income
surtaxes and profits taxes as follows:
certificates of indebtedness and war savings
$ 5,000 ** Aggregate of B C D G H J and K re interest after Jan. 1, 1919, until 5 years after termination
30,000 ** Aggregate of B C D G H J and K re interest after
Jan. 1, 1919, conditional upon original sub-
20,000 *** Aggregate of B C G H and K re interest after Jan.
I, 1918, until 2 years after termination of war,
45,000 Until 2 years after termination of war.
30,000 Until 2 years after termination of war... 30,000
*** D. *** J.
Total maximum exemption from federal
income surtaxes and profits taxes.... $160,000
* By virtue of ad Liberty bond act Sept. 24, 1917.
By virtue of 2d Victory Liberty loan act March 3, 1919. *** By virtue of supplement to ad Liberty bond act Sept. 24, 1918.
Summary of Tax Exemptions—Liberty Bonds and Victory Notes
Notes re Tax Exemptions.
The above exemption of $5,000 marked * should not be confused with the exemption from federal income surtaxes and profits taxes of $5,000 bonds of the War Finance Corporation by virtue of war finance corporation act of April 5, 1918.
In New York state it is held by the taxing authorities that interest from United States obligations may not be excluded in computing corporation franchise taxes based upon net income or gross earnings, on the theory that the latter are not the things taxed but merely the measures of the tax. On the same theory the principal of or interest from United States obligations may not be excluded in computing "fair market value” or “capitalized net earnings" for purposes of the federal capital-stock tax.
In a decision of the court of appeals of the state of New York handed down November 23, 1920, in the case of The People of the State of New York on the relation of Alpha Portland Cement Co. (a foreign corporation), Respondent, vs. Walter H. Knapp and others, Appellants, dealing with certain phases of the New York state franchise tax, the opinion of Justice J. Cardozo contains the following statement :
"I think, therefore, that in substance, though not in form, in tendency, though not in name, this tax is equivalent to a tax upon relator's income.”
How far reaching the court's conclusion with respect to this particular point may prove to be remains to be seen.
The Journal of Accountancy
Published monthly for the American Institute of Accountants by
Hugh R. Conyngton, treasurer
A. P. RICHARDSON
Classification of Profits on Investments The January issue of THE JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY contained an editorial entitled Classification of Profits on Investments, which seems to have aroused a good deal of interest and some opposition. Among the adverse comments received is a letter from John Bauer, who for many years has been an occasional and valued contributor to THE JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY.
So that the matter may have full discussion we reproduce the substance of Mr. Bauer's letter herewith:
The leading editorial of the January number of The JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY took a position opposed to the recent decision in the case of Brewster v. Walsh by the federal district court of Connecticut, holding that profits realized from the sale of investments or capital assets are not income and, therefore, are not taxable under the sixteenth amendment of the constitution.
The decision raises fundamental issues which should be thoroughly discussed in their various economic, accounting and legal aspects before a final determination is made by the supreme court of the United States. The issues are such as naturally to call forth uncompromising opinion in favor of or against the decision, and it is hardly safe to say what position the economists and accountants in general would take. I do believe, however, that the editorial brushed aside rather ungenerously the opposing opinion which might favor the decision. I doubt whether there is a single economist who approaches the problem from the standpoint that “whatever is spent is ipso facto income,” but there is a large group of economists who would consider the decision to square with sound economic principle.
The question at issue is, of course, one of economic fact and should be decided on that basis. As a nation, we decided upon a federal income tax and amended the constitution for that purpose. Any tax, therefore, authorized by congress should be limited to income and should not be levied on any other basis. The question, therefore, is: What is income? Is there a fundamental distinction between capital and income? Is increase in capital value income?
The economists who are in accord with the Brewster decision base their position upon the fundamental relation of capital and income. They