Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America’s first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury.

Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America’s first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury.

Alexander Hamilton: The Works of Alexander Hamilton, Volume 3


Finance: Building Tax Plan Sent To Oliver Wolcott, Secretary Of The Treasury, June 7, 1797


A million of dollars per annum on buildings and lands on the following plan:

1st. Upon inhabited dwelling-houses thus:—

Upon every such house of the denomination and description of a log house, at the rate of 20 cents for each room or apartment thereof, exclusive of garret and cellar.

Upon every other inhabited dwelling-house of two rooms or apartments, exclusive of halls or entries, garrets and cellars, at the rate of 25 cents for each room or apartment.

Upon every such house of three rooms or apartments, exclusive as before, at the rate of 33⅓ cents for each room or apartment.

Upon every such house of four rooms, exclusive as before, at the rate of 40 cents for each room or apartment.

Upon every such house of five rooms, exclusive as before, at the rate of 60 cents for each room or apartment.

Upon every such house of six rooms, exclusive as before, at the rate of 75 cents for each room or apartment thereof.

Upon every such house of seven rooms and upwards, at the rate of 100 cents for each room, etc.

Remarks.—These rates have been adjusted by applying their operations to a number of houses, from which it appears that they find a sufficiently exact proportion to the rent, and they avoid the expense and uncertainty of valuation. Other circumstances of discrimination, if thought advised, may be added.

Upon every room in a garret or cellar of a house of the foregoing descriptions, having a fireplace, and upon any kitchen, whether in a cellar or adjacent building, at the rate of 20 cents for each room or kitchen.

Upon each room or apartment of every such house painted inside, the further sum of 25 cents.

Upon each room or apartment of such house papered inside, or painted and bordered with paper, the further sum of 50 cents.

Upon every chimney, faced with tiles or cut stone other than marble, the further sum of 50 cents.

Upon every chimney faced with marble, the further sum of 100 cents.

Upon every staircase of cedar or ebony wood, the further sum of 50 cents.

Upon every staircase of mahogany wood, the further sum of 100 cents.

Upon every room or apartment with stucco cornices, the further sum of 100 cents.

Upon every room with a stucco ceiling, the further sum of 200 cents; but the same room shall not also be rated for cornices of such work.

Upon every such house with pillars or pilasters outside in front, the further sum of 100 cents.

Upon every such house faced outside and in front, in whole or in part, with marble, the further sum of 200 cents.

These rates to be paid by the occupiers of the house, whether owners or tenants. When a house is let by parcels the landlord to be deemed the occupier.

Upon all stone houses not being parts of dwelling-houses in use, at the rate of one fortieth part of the yearly value, to be determined by the actual rent, if rented, and if not by an estimate or valuation thereof.

Upon all grist-mills, at the rate of 125 cents for each run of stone therein.

Upon all saw-mills at the rate of 50 cents for each saw usually worked therein, not exceeding three, and for each saw above that number 25 cents.

Upon all wharves in the cities and towns of Portsmouth, Boston, etc., (enumerating the principal towns,) at the rate of 12½ cents for each foot in front thereof.

Upon all wharves in any other city or town at the rate of 6 cents.

Remarks.—Or this may be thrown into classes.

Upon all lumber yards in the cities or towns of Portsmouth, Boston, etc., (enumerating the principal towns,) at the rate of 2½ cents for each hundred square feet.

Cottages inhabited by paupers to be excepted, to be judged of and ascertained by the assessors hereinafter described.

The amount of the foregoing taxes in each State, to be ascertained within a time to be limited by law for that purpose by the assessors, and a report thereof to be made to the Treasury, which shall then proceed to apportion, according to the prescribed quota, the sum remaining to make up the million of dollars to be levied.

For example, suppose there were five States, and the product of the house-tax of each as follows:
A. $100,000
B. 150,000
C. 200,000
D. 50,000
E. 100,000
$600,000

There would then remain toward the million to be levied on lands $400,000. Let there be then assigned to each State so much in land-tax as together with its house-tax will equal the [The paper is incomplete.]

Remarks.—The mode of ascertaining to be by an actual calling at each house, and receiving of the occupiers a list of the particulars which are criterions of the tax; the officer to have power to administer an oath.

A proper penalty to be annexed to misrepresentation, and a power to be given upon cause of suspicion testified on oath, to issue a warrant to inspect the house for ascertaining the fact. This will reconcile the idea of the sanctity of the castle with the security of the revenue.
NATIONAL BANK


Posting the entire Works of Alexander Hamilton is a project of Steven Montgomery. I’m posting these as a way to read and digest the works of Alexander Hamilton. The reader could profit by following along daily.

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