261 U.S. 374 (1923), 428, Federal Land Bank of New Orleans v. Crosland

Docket Nº:No. 428
Citation:261 U.S. 374, 43 S.Ct. 385, 67 L.Ed. 703
Party Name:Federal Land Bank of New Orleans v. Crosland
Case Date:March 19, 1923
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 374

261 U.S. 374 (1923)

43 S.Ct. 385, 67 L.Ed. 703

Federal Land Bank of New Orleans



No. 428

United States Supreme Court

March 19, 1923

Argued March 7, 1923




1 A first mortgage executed to a Federal Land Bank is an instrumentality of the government, and cannot be subjected to a state recording tax. P. 377.

2. Payment of a tax made a condition to the recording of a mortgage is not optional where, under the state law, failure to record would override the mortgage in favor of any purchaser without notice. P. 377.

207 Ala. 456 reversed; petition for certiorari dismissed.

Error to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Alabama which reversed a judgment of the state Circuit Court, in mandamus, requiring a state recording officer to record a mortgage without exacting the statutory tax.

Page 376

HOLMES, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a petition for a writ of mandamus to require the recording officer of Montgomery County, Alabama, to record a first mortgage deed on receiving the fee for recording the same without payment of an additional sum of fifteen cents for each one hundred dollars of the principal sum secured. The General Revenue Act of the state approved September 15, 1919, by § 361, Schedule

Page 377

71 [Acts 1919, p. 420], provides that no mortgage shall be received for record

unless the following privilege or license taxes shall have been paid upon such instrument before the same shall be offered for record, to -wit: . . . upon all instruments which shall be executed to secure an indebtedness of more than one hundred dollars there shall be paid the sum of fifteen cents for each one hundred dollars of such indebtedness, or fraction thereof, which is secured by said mortgage . . . to be paid for by the lender, and no such paper shall be received for record unless there is filed therewith a certificate that the privilege tax was paid by the lender.

Any probate judge who shall receive a mortgage without collecting the "recording or registration tax," etc., is made guilty of a misdemeanor, and punished.

On the other hand, the Federal Farm Loan Act of July 17, 1916, c. 245, § 26, provides that first mortgages executed to Federal Land Banks shall be deemed

instrumentalities of the government of the United States, and as such they and the income derived therefrom shall be exempt from federal, state, municipal, and local taxation.

39 Stat. 360, 380. The validity of this provision is not...

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