Vera Chem. Co. v. State

Decision Date02 October 1917
Docket NumberNo. 1441.,1441.
Citation78 N.H. 473,102 A. 463
CourtNew Hampshire Supreme Court

Transferred from Superior Court, Merrimack County.

Petition by the Vera Chemical Company against the State, on appeal from State Tax Commission. Transferred without ruling from superior court. Appeal dismissed.

Appeal from a decision of the State Tax Commission refusing to abate the tax assessed for the year 1916 against the plaintiff. Pacts agreed. The plaintiff is a Wisconsin corporation, engaged in manufacturing chemicals and their products, which it sells in the usual course of commercial business. Mill owners are customers for some of its products which it ships in hogsheads, barrels, or otherwise. One customer, the Henry Paper Company, is located at Lincoln, N. H.; and the plaintiff ships in its own tank cars certain of its products from its factory at Stoneham, Mass., to the Paper Company at Lincoln. The plaintiff owns and uses four of these tank cars in connection with its Stoneham business. They are marked in large letters "Vera Chemical Company, Stoneham, Mass." The freight rate to Lincoln, on the product so shipped, is the same as when the product is shipped in hogsheads or barrels, in cars of the railroad company. Other than an allowance of three-fourths of a cent per car for each mile traveled on the Boston & Maine Railroad, the plaintiff receives no return from the railroad. The railroad charges back the cost of incidental repairs on the cars, and last year the car mileage allowance amounted to $142.09, of which less than one-third was for mileage in New Hampshire, and the payment to the railroad for repairs was $50.88. The plaintiff is not in the business of a car-carrying company. It does not loan, lease, let, or transfer its cars to third parties other than as herein stated; carries no goods other than its own in its cars; and derives its profit from the sale of its goods in the usual commercial way. It has no custodian, servant, or agent to accompany the cars when they are Used in transporting goods. It places its products aboard the car at Stoneham, and then turns the car over to the railroad, which issues its bill of lading for the contents and thereafter takes. entire charge of the car and goods at the plaintiff's siding at Stoneham, maintaining charge and dominion over the same until the car arrives at its destination and is returned to Stoneham. It does not use any one car exclusively in its New Hampshire business and has no regular route of travel in New Hampshire. It uses the cars to send its products to customers wherever it may have occasion to deliver the same. It has no other property within the state of New Hampshire. The State Tax Commission taxed the plaintiff for the year 1916 on its tank cars used in New Hampshire. On motion for rehearing, the Tax Commission refused to abate the tax, or to declare it illegal and void. The plaintiff seasonably filed its petition in the superior court under Laws 1911, c. 169, asking that the tax be abated and declared illegal and void. Transferred without ruling from the October term, 1916, of the superior court by Sawyer, J.

Leo S. Hamberger, of Boston, Mass., and William W. Thayer, of Concord (Leo S. Hamberger, of Boston, Mass., orally), for plaintiff. Tames P. Tuttle, Atty. Gen., and James A. Moynihan, of Manchester, for the State.

PEASLEE, J. "Every * * * other corporation or company not a railroad company owning any cars operated for profit on any railroad in this state, shall pay to the state an annual tax. * * *" Laws 1911, c. 169, § 11. It was the evident purpose of this enactment to cause to be taxed all cars operated for profit on New Hampshire railroads. The plaintiff contends, however, that it is not within the terms of the statute, and that therefore its cars were illegally taxed.

Its first claim is that, because the title of the act is "to create a permanent tax commission and provide for the taxation of certain public service corporations and companies," therefore there was no intent to include the plaintiff's property, since the plaintiff is not a public utility. The argument gives undue weight to the title as compared with the body of the statute.

"If we find within the body of the act an express and unequivocal grant of powers and rights not mentioned in the title or preamble, we cannot restrict the grant of those rights merely because the terms of such grant are more extensive than the terms of the title and preamble." Piscataqua Bridge v. Bridge, 7 N. H. 35, 57; Boston & Maine Railroad v. Portsmouth, 71 N. H. 21, 25, 51 Atl. 064.

It is said that the plaintiff's cars are not "operated for profit," because the sum paid to the plaintiff by the railroad does not, taken by itself, show a use profitable to the plaintiff. If it were assumed that this sum represented the whole "profit" of the enterprise to the plaintiff, the...

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4 cases
  • Musgrove v. Parker
    • United States
    • New Hampshire Supreme Court
    • January 6, 1931
    ...Traction, Light & Power Co., 78 N. H. 433, 101 A. 212; Boston & Maine Railroad v. Concord, 78 N. H. 463, 101 A. 663; Vera Chemical Co. v. State, 78 N. H. 473, 102 A. 463; Simes v. Ward, 78 N. H. 533, 103 A. 310; Fuller v. Gale, 78 N. H. 544, 103 A. 308; Weston v. Hudson, 78 N. H. 588, 97 A.......
  • Bourne v. Sullivan
    • United States
    • New Hampshire Supreme Court
    • December 28, 1962
    ...92 N.H. 377, 379, 31 A.2d 369. While the title of the act and of section 1 are not conclusive of its interpretation (Vera Chemical Co. v. State, 78 N.H. 473, 475, 102 A. 463), they are significant when considered in connection with the legislative history of the act, and ambiguities inheren......
  • Rye Beach Village Dist. v. Beaudoin
    • United States
    • New Hampshire Supreme Court
    • January 31, 1974
    ...body of the act, cannot be held to vitiate exercise of the powers conferred upon the district by section 1 of the act. Vera &c. Co. v. State,78 N.H. 473, 102 A. 463 (1917). The defendants also question the validity of the district's 1937 zoning ordinance upon the grounds of lack of a compre......
  • Woolston v. Pullen
    • United States
    • New Jersey Court of Chancery
    • December 3, 1917
    ... ... it was their duty to protect the properties from waste and damage and to maintain them in the state of repairs equivalent to that in which they were at the decease of the testatrix, they did not do ... ...

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