Interstate, foreign trade or fishing ships or vessels; assessment; abatement
Section 8. Individuals or partnerships owning an interest in any ship or vessel which has during the period of its business in the year preceding January first been engaged in interstate or foreign carrying trade or engaged exclusively in fishing and documented and carrying ''papers'' under the laws of the United States shall annually, on or before April first following, make a return on oath to the assessors of the town where such individuals reside or where such partnerships are taxable under clause seventh of section eighteen, respectively, setting forth the name of the ship or vessel, their interest therein, and the value of such interest. If the assessors are satisfied of the truth of the return they shall assess an excise tax of one third of one per cent upon such interest; and the person or partnership making such return shall be exempt from any tax upon said interest other than that assessed under this section.
In case the owner of any such interest fails to make a return within the time herein provided, the assessors may abate the tax upon such interest if he shows to the assessors a reasonable excuse for the failure to file such return as aforesaid and if the return is filed on or before December thirty-first of the year in which the tax is assessed; but no abatement hereunder shall be made which will reduce the tax on any such interest to an amount less than the sum of said excise plus fifty per cent thereof.