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Nothing contained in this Title [R. S., 4131-4305] shall be deemed in anywise to impair any rights and privileges which have been or may be acquired by any foreign nation under the laws and treaties of the United States relative to the duty on tonnage of vessels, or any other duty on vessels. (R. S., 4227.)
A tonnage duty of two cents per ton, not to exceed in the aggregate ten cents per ton in any one year, is hereby imposed at each entry on all vessels which shall be entered in any port of the United States from any foreign port or place in North America, Central America, the West India Islands, the Bahama Islands, the Bermuda Islands, or the coast of South America bordering on the Caribbean Sea, or Newfoundland, and a duty of six cents per ton, not to exceed thirty cents per ton per annum, is hereby imposed at each entry on all vessels which shall be entered in any port of the United States from any other foreign port, not, however, to include vessels in distress or not engaged in trade.
This section shall not be construed to amend or repeal section twenty-seven hundred and ninety-two of the Revised Statutes as amended by section one of chapter two hundred and twelve of the laws of nineteen hundred and eight, approved May twenty-eighth, nineteen hundred and eight, or section five of the said chapter two hundred and twelve of the laws of nineteen hundred and eight, or section twenty-seven hundred and ninety-three of the Revised Statutes.
Section forty-two hundred and thirty-two of the Revised Statutes, and sections eleven and twelve of chapter four hundred and twentyone of the laws of eighteen hundred and eighty-six, approved June nineteenth, eighteen hundred and eighty-six, and so much of section forty-two hundred and nineteen of the Revised Statutes as conflicts with this section, are hereby repealed. (June 26, 1884, sec. 14; Aug. 5, 1909, sec. 36.)
Exemptions from Tonnage Tax.
No vessel belonging to any citizen of the United States, trading from one port within the United States to another port within the United States, or employed in the bank, whale, or other fisheries, shall be subject to tonnage tax or duty, if such vessel be licensed, registered or enrolled. (R. S., 4220.)
In cases of vessels making regular daily trips between any port of the United States and any port in the Dominion of Canada, wholly
upon interior waters not navigable to the ocean, no tonnage or clearance fees shall be charged against such vessel by the officers of the United States, except upon the first clearing of such vessel in each year. (R. S., 4221.)
Any passenger vessel engaged triweekly or oftener in trade between ports of the United States and foreign ports shall be exempt from entrance and clearance fees and tonnage taxes while such service triweekly or oftener is maintained. (May 28, 1908.)
Vessels entering otherwise than by sea from a foreign port at which tonnage or light-house dues or other equivalent tax or taxes are not imposed on vessels of the United States shall be exempt from the tonnage duty of two cents per ton, not to exceed in the aggregate ten cents per ton in any one year, prescribed by section thirty-six of the Act approved August fifth, nineteen hundred and nine, entitled "An Act to provide revenue, equalize duties, and encourage the industries of the United States, and for other purposes." (Mar. 8, 1910.)
Vessels owned by citizens of the Philippine Islands and documented as such by the government of said islands shall hereafter be exempt in ports of the United States from payment of tonnage taxes and light dues; and the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized, upon certification by the Commissioner of Navigation, to refund, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, tonnage taxes and light dues imposed upon vessels owned and documented as aforesaid entering ports of the United States since August first, nineteen hundred and fourteen: Provided, That nothing contained herein shall be construed as exempting said vessels from any taxes or dues imposed by the government of the Philippine Islands. (July 1, 1916.)
Discriminating Tonnage Taxes.
Upon satisfactory proof being given to the President, by the government of any foreign nation, that no discriminating duties of tonnage or imposts are imposed cr levied in the ports of such nation upon vessels wholly belonging to citizens of the United States, or upon the produce, manufactures, or mechandise imported in the same from the United States or from any foreign country, the President may issue his proclamation, declaring that the foreign discriminating duties of tonnage and imposts within the United States are suspended and discontinued, so far as respects the vessels of such foreign nation, and the produce, manufactures, or merchandise imported into the United States from such foreign nation, or from any other foreign country; the suspension to take effect from the time of such notification being given to the President, and to continue so long as the reciprocal exemption of vessels, belonging to citizens of the United States, and their cargoes, shall be continued, and no longer. (R. S., 4228.)
Provided, That the President is authorized to suspend in part the operation of sections forty-two hundred and nineteen and twentyfive hundred and two so that foreign vessels from a country imposing partial discriminating tonnage duties upon American vessels,
or partial dicriminating import duties upon American merchandise, may enjoy in our ports the identical privileges which the same class of American vessels and merchandise may enjoy in said foreign country. (July 24, 1897.)
No other or higher rate of duties shall be imposed or collected on vessels of Prussia, or of her dominions, from whencesoever coming, nor on their cargoes, howsoever composed, than are or may be payable on vessels of the United States, and their cargoes. (Ř. S., 4229.)
The preceding section shall continue and be in force during the time that the equality for which it provides shall, in all respects, be reciprocated in the ports of Prussia and her dominions; and if at any time hereafter the equality shall not be reciprocated in the ports of Prussia and her dominions the President may issue his proclamation, declaring that fact, and thereupon the section preceding shall cease to be in force. (R. S., 4230.)
From Spanish vessels coming from any port or place in Spain or her colonies, where no discriminating or countervailing duties on tonnage are levied upon vessels of the United States, or from any other port or place to and with which vessels of the United States are ordinarily permitted to go and trade, there shall be exacted in the ports of the United States no other or greater duty on tonnage than at the time may be exacted of vessels of the United States. (R. S., 4231.)
Alien Tonnage Taxes (in Exceptional Cases).
Upon vessels which shall be entered in the United States from any foreign port or place there shall be paid duties as follows: On vessels built within the United States but belonging wholly or in part to subjects of foreign powers, at the rate of 30 cents per ton; on other vessels not of the United States, at the rate of 50 cents per ton. Upon every vessel not of the United States, which shall be entered in one district from another district, having on board goods, wares, or merchandise taken in one district to be delivered in another district, duties shall be paid at the rate of 50. cents per ton. Nothing in this section shall be deemed in any wise to impair any rights or privileges which have been or may be acquired by any foreign nation under the laws and treaties of the United States relative to the duty of tonnage on vessels. On all foreign vessels which shall be entered in the United States from any foreign port or place, to and with which vessels of the United States are not ordinarily permitted to enter and trade, there shall be paid a duty at the rate of two dollars per ton; and none of the duties on tonnage above mentioned shall be levied on the vessels of any foreign nation if the President of the United States shall be satisfied that the discriminating or countervailing duties of such foreign nations, so far as they operate to the disadvantage of the United States, have been abolished; and any rights or privileges acquired by any foreign nation under the laws and treaties of the United States relative to the duty of tonnage on vessels shall not be impaired; and any vessel any officer of which shall not be a citizen of the United States, shall pay a tax of fifty cents per ton. (R. S., 4219; July 24, 1897. See p. 2, act of Mar. 4, 1915. See p. 37, par. 3.)
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Light Money (in Exceptional Cases).
A duty of fifty cents per ton, to be denominated "light money, shall be levied and collected on all vessels not of the United States, which may enter the ports of the United States. Such light-money shall be levied and collected in the same manner and under the same regulations as the tonnage duties. (R. S., 4225. See p. 2, act of Mar. 4, 1915.)
The preceding section shall not be deemed to operate upon unregistered vessels, owned by citizens of the United States, and carrying a sea-letter, or other regular document, issued from a customhouse of the United States, proving the vessel to be American property. Upon the entry of every such vessel from any foreign port, if the same shall be at the port at which the owner or any of the part owners reside, such owner or part owners shall make oath that the sea-letter or other regular document possessed by such vessel contains the name or names of all the persons who are then the owners of the vessel; or if any part of such vessel has been sold or transferred since the date of such sea-letter or document, that such is the case, and that no foreign subject or citizen has, to the best of his knowledge and belief, any share, by way of trust, confidence or otherwise, in such vessel. If the owner or any part owner does not reside at the port or place at which such vessel shall enter, then the master shall make oath to the like effect. If the owner or part owner, where there is one, or the master, where there is no owner, shall refuse to so swear, such vessel shall not be entitled to the privileges granted by this section. (R. S., 4226.)
Consular Tonnage Charges.
No consul or consular agent of the United States shall exact tonnage fees from any vessel of the United States, touching at or near ports in Canada, on her regular voyage from one port to another within the United States, unless such consul or consular agent shall perform some official services, required by law for such vessel, when she shall thus touch at a Canadian port. (R. S., 4222.)
Refund of Tennage Tax.
Whenever any fine, penalty, forfeiture, exaction, or charge arising under the laws relating to vessels or seamen has been paid to any collector of customs or consular officer, and application has been made within one year from such payment for the refunding or remission of the same, the Secretary of Commerce, if on investigation he finds that such fine, penalty, forfeiture, exaction, or charge was illegally, improperly, or excessively imposed, shall have the power, either before or after the same has been covered into the Treasury, to refund so much of such fine, penalty, forfeiture, exaction, or charge as he may think proper, from any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated. (June 26, 1884, sec. 26.)
On all questions of interpretation * relating to the collection of tonnage tax, and to the refund of such tax when collected erroneously or illegally, his [Commissioner of Navigation] decision shall be final. (July 5, 1884, sec. 3.)