Learn About the Law
Get help with your legal needs
FindLaw’s Learn About the Law features thousands of informational articles to help you understand your options. And if you’re ready to hire an attorney, find one in your area who can help.
The plaintiff in error is a national banking association, doing business at Ogden City, Weber county, Utah. The action below was brought by the bank to enjoin the collection of the alleged illegal portion of certain taxes levied against its shareholders for the year 1898
Certain provisions of the Constitution and laws of Utah which are claimed to be pertinent to the controversy are excerpted in the margin. [182 U.S. 556, 557] The substance of the complaint was that although the assessor in valuing the shares of stock of the bank deducted the [182 U.S. 556, 558] proportionate amount of the assessed value of the real estate of complainant situated in the state of Utah, he neglected and refused to deduct the value of real estate owned by the bank situated without such state, and also refused to allow to certain nonresident stockholders deductions from the valuations of their shares of stock to the amount of their bona fide debts, though allowing deductions of that kind in favor of resident shareholders. Having tendered to the defendant what it claimed to be the lawful amount of the tax due from it, the bank brought this action to enjoin any attempt to collect the full amount of the tax as laid, and to compel acceptance of the sum which had been tendered. The trial court decided in favor of the bank. On appeal, however, the supreme court of the state held that the bank was not entitled to the relief prayed, and reversed the judgment in its favor with costs. Error was prosecuted to the judgment of reversal, and the cause is now in this court for review. 21 Utah, 324, 61 Pac. 560. [182 U.S. 556, 559] Mr. Abbot R. Heywood submitted the case for plaintiff in error.
Messrs. James N. Kimball and George Halverson for defendant in error.
Mr. Justice White, after making the foregoing statement, delivered the opinion of the court:
It is urged that 'by the action of the taxing officer and the supreme court of Utah the shareholders of the Commercial National Bank of Ogden were treated contrary to the provisions of 5219 of the Revised Statutes of the United States; and, further, that they were denied the equal protection of the laws.' Subsidiarily, it is contended, first, that the assessor erroneously refused to deduct the bona fide debts of nonresident shareholders from the value of their shares of stock, contrary to the provisions of the laws of Utah and the requirements of said 5219 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (excerpted in the margin ), and, second, that the bank was entitled to a deduction from the assessed valuation of the stock, not only of the value of its real estate situated in [182 U.S. 556, 560] Utah, but the value of real estate situated outside of the limits of the state.
We will first consider the contention respecting the failure to deduct bona fide debts from the value of the stock of nonresident shareholders. The supreme court of Utah, referring to the provisions of the Constitution of Utah noted in the margin of the statement of facts preceding this opinion, held that as the Constitution of the state distinguished between stock and credits, and authorized only a deduction of debts from credits, shares of stock were not credits, and both resident and nonresident shareholders were not entitled to deduct bona fide indebtedness from the value of their shares of stock. This construction of the statute is binding on this court. First Nat. Bank v. Ayers, 160 U.S. 660, 664 , 40 S. L. ed. 573, 574, 16 Sup. Ct. Rep. 412; First Nat. Bank v. Chehalis County, 166 U.S. 440, 444 , 41 S. L. ed. 1069, 1072, 17 Sup. Ct. Rep. 629. The claim of the benefit of the provisions of 5219 of the Revised Statutes of the United States is unavailing, for the reason that there was neither averment nor proof of facts taking the case out of the operation of recent decisions of this court. Those decisions held that the term 'moneyed capital,' as employed in 5219 of the Revised Statutes, forbidding greater taxation of shareholders of national banks than is imposed on other moneyed capital, does not include capital which does not come into competition with the business of national banks, and that it must be satisfactorily made to appear by the proof that the moneyed capital claimed to be given an unjust advantage is of the character just stated. First Nat. Bank v. Chapman, 173 U.S. 205, 219 , 43 S. L. ed. 669, 674, 19 Sup. Ct. Rep. 407, and cases cited.
There is obviously no merit in the further contention that reversible error was committed because of the refusal to deduct from the value of the shares of stock of the bank the assessed value of real estate owned by the bank, situate in other states than Utah. There was no proof that such a deduction was authorized by the laws of Utah in valuing shares of stock of other than national banking associations. On the contrary, the supreme court of Utah, from an examination of the several constitutional and statutory provisions respecting the subject of taxation in Utah, concluded that the only deductions which were [182 U.S. 556, 561] authorized in the assessment of the shares of stock of national banks or other corporations organized and doing business in the state, were deductions from the value of the shares of the value of real estate situate in Utah. Manifestly, the purpose was to prevent double taxation by the state, a tax on the real estate as such, and a further tax thereon by a tax on the stock to the extent that such real estate entered into the value of the stock. As the national banking law, however, permits the taxation of shares of stock of a national bank in the state where the bank is domiciled, the state of domicil is, of course, entitled to collect taxes upon the full value of such shares of stock. While real estate of a bank situated outside of the state of domicil is taxed in the state of its situs, yet the value of such real estate necessarily enters into and is considered in estimating the value of the shares of stock; and to deduct the value of the real estate would, to the extent of such deduction, reduce the real value of the shares, without a compensatory equivalent. These views and those expressed by the supreme court of Utah accord with the doctrine enunciated in Dwight v. Boston, 12 Allen, 316, 323, 90 Am. Dec. 149; and American Coal Co. v. Allegany County comrs. 59 Md. 185, 193. In the latter case the principle was thus expressed (p. 194):
able of private ownership; but this shall not be so construed as to authorize the taxation of the stocks of any company or corporation, when the property of such company or corporation, represented by such stocks, has been taxed. . . .
Provisions of the Revised Statutes of Utah relied on by plaintiff in error (Rev. Stat. Utah 1898, pp. 579, 581):
amount of credits which any person is required to list he will be entitled to deduct from the gross amount of such credits the amount of all bona fide debts owing by him, but no acknowledgment of indebtedness not founded on actual consideration, and no such acknowledgment made for the purpose of being so deducted, must be considered a debt within the intent of this section; and no person is entitled to a deduction on account of an obligation of any kind given to an insurance company for the premium of insurance, nor on account of any unpaid subscription to any institution or society, nor on account of a subscription to or instalment payable on the capital stock of any company or corporation; and no liability of any person or persons, company or corporation, as surety for another, must be deducted; and no other liability of any person or persons, company or corporation, on any bond or undertaking, must be deducted; and no deduction must be made in any case unless the party claiming such deduction discloses to the assessor, under oath, the name or names of the persons to whom such party is indebted, and the amount of such indebtedness to each, and also that such indebtedness is not barred by the statute of limitations, or, in case such indebtedness is so barred, acknowledges such indebtedness in writing, duly subscribed. No debt is to be deducted unless the statement shows the amount of such debt, as stated under oath in the aggregate. Whenever one member of a firm or one of the proper officers of a corporation has made a statement showing the property of the firm or corporation, another member of the firm or another officer need not include such property in the statement made by him; but this statement must show
the name of the person or officer who made the statement in which such property is included. The fact that such statement is not required, or that a person has not made such statement under oath, or otherwise, does not relieve the property from taxation.'
___ Section 5219, Revised Statutes of the United States:
Was this helpful?
Thank you. Your response has been sent.
A free source of state and federal court opinions, state laws, and the United States Code. For more information about the legal concepts addressed by these cases and statutes visit FindLaw's Learn About the Law.
Citation: 182 U.S. 556
Docket No: No. 270
Decided: May 27, 1901
Court: United States Supreme Court
Search our directory by legal issue
Enter information in one or both fields (Required)
FindLaw for Legal Professionals
Search our directory by legal issue
Enter information in one or both fields (Required)