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- Business Hints for Men and Women - 20/31 -
The Government, the state, and it may be the city or county, gives to the party providing the money what is known as bond or bonds, each of a fixed amount and bearing a fixed rate of interest, payable as a rule semi-annually.
There is no form of property so easy to assess for the purpose of taxation as real estate, that is the land and the buildings, for the last selling value of this property is a matter of public record, and then the assessors, who should be men of honesty and good judgment, are generally posted as to the value of the property under consideration.
When, however, it comes to the taxation of personal property, which means any kind of property that can be detached and carried about, it is a different matter.
Just as many people, otherwise regarded as honest, do not think it a great wrong to get the better of the Custom House, so many reputable people are inclined to revolt against the tax on personal property and to conceal their actual possessions from the assessor, nor is this peculiarity confined to the poor.
Any man may be legally compelled to swear to the accuracy of his statement, and if it is found that he has knowingly sworn to a false statement, he may be brought to task for perjury.
What is known as "personal property" varies in many of the states.
Personal property generally includes, merchandise in possession; all fixtures, all furniture in home, offices, and factories; all live stock, all money on hand and in banks; other men's notes, not transferred; all stocks and bonds and other forms of security.
Townships or counties, if properly authorized by charter or the votes of the people, may levy special taxes for special purposes within the limits of their own jurisdictions, or they may in the same way sell bonds to carry out some work that has been decided on for the common weal.
Two or more towns, or counties, may join in the same way to carry out a project of benefit to both, provided that the burden of the undertaking be equitably assessed.
All tax bills are due and collectable on presentation, but this is never enforced.
A time is, however, fixed beyond which payment cannot be deferred.
A sufficient amount of any property may be sold at auction to satisfy a tax bill.
Of old, and still in some places, the road taxes were paid in cash, but more frequently by work on the roads, either by the individual man, or in connection with his team, each day's work of one or both being fixed at a regular rate.
The state does not tax the individual members of a corporation for property held in common. The same result is secured better by taxing the corporation as a body. This applies to banks, railroads, and incorporated manufacturing establishments.
Savings banks are taxed lightly. Every depositor is liable for a personal property tax proportioned to the amount of his credit.
To make collection easy the savings bank always pays the amount of this tax in bulk, and then charges it to the expense account of the establishment, so that indirectly the depositors pay after all, as their dividends are reduced by just the amount of the tax.
TAXES IN GENERAL
When a man owns property in different towns, counties, or states, he is regarded as so many individuals, and must pay each as the local demands require. No matter where a man's personal property is placed, the rule is to tax him for the whole at the place of his usual residence.
The landlord and the merchant each pays a direct tax to the collector, but it would be a business error to think that in so doing either or both is carrying more than his share of the total taxation.
The landlord keeps in mind the added expense when he comes to adjust leases with his tenants. The merchant, who pays taxes on his stock and so adds to his expense account, should not be blamed if he keeps this in mind when he fixes the selling prices of his goods.
Taxes duly paid, honestly collected, and properly expended should never be regarded as a burden.
From no equal expenditure of money do the people get so much good.
The public schools, the public highways, the protection of life and property, public hospitals, public libraries, residences for the old, the blind, the orphaned and the insane, as well as secure places for the lawless, are built and maintained by the taxpayer.
As a rule all these things are done honestly and well, notwithstanding the outcry to the contrary.
If there be dishonesty in places, it is the fault quite as much of the voter who selected him as of the official culprit himself.
We must take all the responsibility of our agents, whether they be public or private.
Every good citizen should feel that his public duty is an important private business.
CONTRACTS, LEASES, AND GUARANTEES
The law books define a contract to be "An agreement between two or more persons to do or not to do a certain stated thing or things, for a consideration."
The consideration is a vital part of every contract.
There can be no binding contract without a consideration.
The other requisites of a contract are--
1. It must be possible of accomplishment. 2. It must be in accordance with law. 3. Its performance must not injure the public. 4. The parties to a contract must be competent to do the things to which they pledge themselves. 5. A drunken or an insane man cannot make a contract. 6. All parties to a contract must be agreed.
No contract can be held as binding where the consideration is not named.
A promise, verbal or in writing, to do something for a certain party, cannot be enforced.
A promise to do the same thing for a stipulation named is a contract and may be enforced.
A gift is not a form of contract. Once made it cannot be legally taken back.
WRITTEN AND VERBAL CONTRACTS
There are certain forms of contract which cannot be legally enforced, unless they are in writing.
1. All contracts for the sale of real estate. 2. Contracts that are not to be performed for a year or more. 3. All contracts, to answer for the debt and obligations of another, must be in writing.
If the contracting parties put but a part of their agreement in writing the law will recognize only the written part. The whole must be in writing, or the agreement will not hold.
Verbal contracts are not safe.
Although the law does not require even contract to be in writing, yet, as it never declares that a contract must be verbal, it is the part of prudence, wherever possible, to put every contract in writing.
Owing to defects of memory even honest men may, and frequently do, disagree as to the terms of a verbal contract.
Because the party with whom the contract is made is a close friend, one is apt to depend on a verbal agreement, but the closer the friend or relative, the more reason there is for an exact written contract, if we would keep the friend.
FORMS OF CONTRACT
The law is never specific as to the form of contract that may be used.
It is not necessary to draw up the contract with the formal accuracy of a real estate deed.
Any one with good sense and a fair common school education can
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