Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

that it is an organization (1) which has no capital stock represented by shares, and (2) whose earnings, less only the expenses of operation, are distributable wholly among the depositors. If it appears that the organization has shareholders who participate in the profits, the organization will not be exempt from income taxation under the statute.

ART. 514. Fraternal beneficiary societies.--A fraternal beneficiary society is exempt from tax only if operated under the lodge system,” or for the exclusive benefit of the members of a society so operating.

Operating under the lodge system” means carrying on its activities under a form of organization that comprises local branches, chartered by a parent organization and largely self-governing, called lodges, chapters, or the like. In order to be exempt it is also necessary that the society have an established system for the payment to its members or their dependents of life, sick, accident, or other benefits.

ART. 515. Building and loan associations and cooperative banks.-In general, a building and loan association entitled to exemption is one organized pursuant to the laws of any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, which accumulates funds to be loaned primarily to its shareholders for the purpose of building or acquiring homes. In order to be exempt the association (1) must be mutual, that is, all of its shareholders or members must share in the profits on substantially the same footing; and (2) must be operated so that substantially all of its business is confined to the making of loans to bona fide shareholders. A building and loan association otherwise exempt does not lose its exempt status because

(1) It has paid-up shares which are (a) preferred as to earnings and (6) have a definite rate of interest which may be higher than the rate of dividends paid on other stock.

(2) It borrows money (accepting deposits is held to be a form of borrowing) which it uses for loans to shareholders, the dues, fines, and penalties paid by shareholders being inadequate for this purpose.

(3) It makes loans to nonmembers from accumulated funds which are not needed for loans to shareholders. In any such case, however, the burden will be upon the association to show that substantially all of its loans are made to members.

(4) The amount of its prepaid or full-paid stock is disproportionate to running or installment stock, provided the issuance of such prepaid or full-paid stock is ancillary to the furtherance of the main business of the association; that is, that it is intended to provide a fund from which loans may be made primarily to persons subscribing to running or installment stock to enable them to acquire or build homes.

Cooperative banks without capital stock organized and operated for mutual purposes and without profit are exempt. Credit unions such as those organized under the laws of Massachusetts, being in substance and in fact the same as cooperative banks, are likewise exempt from tax.

ART. 516. Cemetery companies.—A cemetery company may be entitled to exemption, (1) if it is owned by and operated exclusively for the benefit of its lot owners, or (2) if it is not operated for profit. Any cemetery corporation chartered solely for burial purposes and not permitted by its charter to engage in any business not necessarily incident to that purpose, is exempt from income tax, provided that no part of its net earnings inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A cemetery company which fulfills the other requirements of the statute may be exempt, even though it issues preferred stock entitling the holders to dividends at a fixed rate, provided that its articles of incorporation require (1) that the preferred stock shall be retired at par as soon as sufficient funds are realized from sales, and (2) that all funds not required for the payment of dividends upon or for the retirement of preferred stock shall be used by the company for the care and improvement of the cemetery property.

ART. 517. Religious, charitable, scientific, literary, and educational organizations and community chests. In order to be exempt under paragraph (6) of section 231, the organization must meet two tests: (1) It must be organized and operated exclusively for one or more of the specified purposes; and (2) its net income must not inure in whole or in part to the benefit of private shareholders or individuals.

Corporations organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes comprise, in general, organizations for the relief of the poor. The fact that a corporation established for the relief of indigent persons may receive voluntary contributions from the persons intended to be relieved will not necessarily deprive it of exemption.

An association whose sole purpose is the instruction of the public, or an association whose primary purpose is to give lectures on subjects useful to the individual and beneficial to the community may be exempt as an educational corporation, even though such an association has incidental amusement features. Associations formed to disseminate controversial or partisan propaganda are not educational within the meaning of the statute.

Since a corporation to be exempt under paragraph (6) of section 231 must be organized and operated exclusively for one or more of the specified purposes, an organization which has certain religious purposes for example, and which also manufactures and sells articles

a

to the public for profit is not. exempt even though its property is held in common and its profits do not inure to the benefit of individual members of the organization.

The words “private shareholder or individual” in the Act refer to individuals having a personal and private interest in the activities of the corporation. If a corporation issues“ voting shares” which entitle the holders upon the dissolution of the corporation to receive the proceeds of its property, including accumulated income, the right to exemption does not exist, even though the by-laws provide that the shareholders shall not receive any dividend or other return upon their shares.

ART. 518. Business leagues.—A business league is an association of persons having some common business interest, which limits its activities to work for such common interest and does not engage in a regular business of a kind ordinarily carried on for profit. Its work need not be similar to that of a chamber of commerce or board of trade. If it engages in a regular business of a kind ordinarily carried on for profit, the fact that the business is conducted on a cooperative basis or produces only sufficient income to be self-sustaining, is not ground for exemption. An association engaged in furnishing information to prospective investors, to enable them to make sound investments, is not exempt, since its members have no common business interest, even though all of its income is devoted to the purpose stated. A clearing house association, not organized for profit, no part of the net income of which inures to any private shareholder or individual, is exempt provided its activities are limited to the exchange of checks and similar work for the common benefit of its members. An association of persons who are engaged in the business of carrying freight and passengers by boats propelled by steam, which is designed to promote the legitimate objects of such business, and all of the income of which is derived from membership dues and is expended for office expenses and the salary of a secretary-treasurer is exempt from tax. An incorporated cotton exchange whose shares carry the right to dividends is organized for profit and is not exempt.

ART. 519. Civic leagues and local associations of employees.--Civic leagues entitled to exemption under paragraph (8) of section 231 comprise those not organized for profit but operated exclusively for purposes beneficial to the community as a whole. In general, organizations engaged in promoting the welfare of mankind, other than organizations comprehended within paragraph (6) of section 231, are included within this paragraph.

Under this paragraph certain local associations of employees are also expressly exempted from income taxation. The statute

prescribes 'as conditions to exemption (1) that the membership of such an association be limited to the employees of a designated person or persons in a particular municipality, and (2) that the net earnings of the association be devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes. See article 517 with reference to the meaning of " charitable” and “educational” in the Act.

ART. 520. Social clubs.—The exemption granted by paragraph (9) of section 231 applies to practically all social and recreation clubs which are supported by membership fees, dues, and assessments. If a club, by reason of the comprehensive powers granted in its charter, engages in traffic, in agriculture or horticulture, or in the sale of real estate, timber, etc., for profit, such club is not organized and operated exclusively for pleasure, recreation, or social purposes, and any profit realized from such activities is subject to tax.

ART. 521. Local benevolent life and mutual insurance companies and like organizations. It is a prerequisite to exemption under paragraph (10) of section 231 that at least 85 per cent of the income of the organization in question shall consist of amounts collected from members for the sole purpose of meeting losses and expenses. If an organization issues policies for stipulated cash premiums, or if it requires advance deposits to cover the cost of the insurance and maintains investments from which more than 15 per cent of its income is derived, it is not entitled to exemption. On the other hand, an organization may be entitled to exemption, although it makes advance assessments for the sole purpose of meeting future losses and expenses, provided that the balance of such assessments remaining on hand at the end of the year is retained to meet losses and expenses in the ensuing year.

The phrase “ of a purely local character” applies to benevolent life insurance associations, and not to the other organizations specified in the paragraph. It applies, however, to any organization seeking exemption on the ground that it is an organization similar to a benevolent life insurance association. An organization of a purely local character is one whose business activities are confined to a particular community, place, or district, irrespective, however, of political subdivisions.

See section 1013(b) of the Act with reference to the exemption of mutual insurance companies under preceding revenue acts.

ART. 522. Cooperative associations.-(a) Cooperative associations, acting as sales agents for farmers, fruit growers, live-stock growers, dairymen, etc., or engaged in the marketing of farm products, and turning back to the producers the proceeds of the sales of their products, less the necessary operating expenses, on the basis of the produce furnished by them, are exempt from income tax and shall not be required to file returns. Thus cooperative dairy companies which are engaged in collecting milk and disposing of it or the products thereof and distributing the proceeds, less necessary operating expenses, among the producers upon the basis of the quantity of milk or of butter fat in the milk furnished by such producers, are exempt from the tax. If the proceeds of the business are distributed in any other way than on such a proportionate basis, the association does not meet the requirements of the statute and is not exempt. The accumulation and maintenance of a reasonable reserve for depreciation or possible losses or a reserve required by State statute or a reasonable sinking fund or surplus to provide for the erection of buildings and facilities required in business, or for the purchase and installation of machinery and equipment, or to retire indebtedness incurred for such purposes, will not destroy the exemption. A corporation organized to act as a sales agent for farmers, or to market cooperatively the products of the farm, and having a capital stock on which it pays a dividend not exceeding 8 per cent per annum or not exceeding the legal rate of interest, and in which the voting control is retained by the shareholders who are actual producers, will not for such reasons be denied exemption.

(6) Cooperative associations organized and operated as purchasing agents for farmers, fruit growers, live-stock growers, dairymen, etc., for the purpose of buying supplies and equipment for their use and turning over such supplies and equipment to them at actual cost, plus necessary operating expenses, are also exempt. The provisions of paragraph (a) relating to a reserve, sinking fund, or surplus, and to capital stock shall apply to associations coming under this paragraph.

In order to be exempt under either (a) or () an association must establish that it has no net income for its own account other than that reflected in a reserve, sinking fund, or surplus specifically authorized in paragraph (a). An association acting both as a sales and a purchasing agent is exempt if as to each of its functions.it meets the requirements of the statute.

NET INCOME OF CORPORATIONS DEFINED

SEC. 232. In the case of a corporation subject to the tax imposed by section 230 the term net income means the gross income as defined in section 233 less the deductions allowed by sections 234 and 206, an the net income shall be computed on the same basis as is provided in subdivision (b) of section 212 or in section 226. In the case of a foreign corporation or of a corporation entitled to the benefits of section 262 the computation shall also be made in the manner provided in section 217.

Art. 531. Net income.-Net income is that portion of the gross income which remains after all proper deductions have been taken

« PreviousContinue »