Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Supreme Court of the United States
April 27, 1944, Argued ; May 29, 1944, Decided
[*437] [**1061] [***1377] MR. CHIEF JUSTICE STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.
[**1062] These cases come here on appeal under § 237 (a) of the Judicial Code, 28 U. S. C. § 344 (a), from judgments of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, reviewing and sustaining assessments by appellee, the Wisconsin Department of Taxation, of the Wisconsin Privilege Dividend Tax imposed with respect to appellants, which are foreign corporations doing business in Wisconsin. 243 Wis. 198, 211. The appellants present again, but in a new aspect, the substance of the question decided in Wisconsin v. J. C. Penney Co., 311 U.S. 435. In that case we sustained the constitutionality, under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, of the Wisconsin Privilege Dividend Tax, § 3 of Ch. 505 of Wisconsin Laws of 1935 as amended by Ch. 552, Wisconsin Laws of 1935. 2 ] The tax is imposed with respect to both foreign and domestic corporations doing business within the state "for the privilege of declaring and receiving dividends" out of income derived from property located and business transacted in the state. The payor corporation is required to deduct the tax from the dividends payable [****6] to both resident and non-resident stockholders.
[*438] Appellants are respectively a New Jersey and a Delaware corporation doing business in Wisconsin. Appellee has assessed the Privilege Dividend Tax with respect to dividends declared and paid by appellant Harvester Company to its stockholders, including non-residents, between December 2, 1935 and October 15, 1937, inclusive, and on dividends similarly declared and paid by appellant Minnesota Mining Company in the years 1936 to 1940, inclusive. In the case of each appellant the tax as assessed was measured by so much of the dividends as were derived from the portion of the corporate surplus attributed by the tax authorities to income earned by the corporation in Wisconsin. The dividends were declared at directors' meetings held outside the state, and the dividend checks were drawn [****7] on bank accounts outside the state.
In the Penney case we sustained the tax in the case of a Delaware corporation doing business in Wisconsin, but having its principal office in New York, holding its meetings and voting its dividends there, and drawing its dividend checks on New York bank accounts. In considering the incidence of the tax in Wisconsin, which could afford a basis for the taxation there although the declaration and payment of the dividend took place outside the state, this Court pointed out that ] the practical operation of the tax is to impose an additional tax on corporate earnings within Wisconsin, but to postpone the liability for payment of the tax until such earnings are paid out in dividends, and we added, 311 U.S. at p. 442: "In a word, by its general income tax Wisconsin taxes corporate income that is taken in; by the Privilege Dividend Tax of [***1378] 1935 Wisconsin superimposed upon this income tax a tax on corporate income that is paid out."
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
322 U.S. 435 *; 64 S. Ct. 1060 **; 88 L. Ed. 1373 ***; 1944 U.S. LEXIS 617 ****
INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER CO. v. WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION
Prior History: APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF WISCONSIN. 1
APPEALS from the affirmance of judgments sustaining assessments of state taxes.
Disposition: 243 Wis. 198, 211, 10 N. W. 2d 169, 174, affirmed.
dividends, stockholders, earnings, distributed, surplus, deduct, funds, do business, non-resident, cases, transactions, declaring, measured, taxes, declaration of dividends, power to tax, income tax, appellants', taxation, withdrawal, benefits
Business & Corporate Law, Corporate Finance, Dividends & Reacquisition of Shares, General Overview, Tax Law, State & Local Taxes, Franchise Taxes, Imposition of Tax, Business & Corporate Compliance, Tax Law, State & Local Taxes, Corporations, Income Taxes, Corporations & Unincorporated Associations, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Estate & Gift Taxes, Estate & Inheritance Tax, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Constitutionality of Legislation, C Corporations, Shareholder Taxation, Corporate Governance, Shareholders, Administration & Procedure, Collection of Taxes, Federal Taxpayer Groups, Dividends & Dividends Paid Deduction, Civil Procedure, Jurisdiction on Certiorari, Considerations Governing Review, State Court Decisions, Effect & Operation, Retrospective Operation