516 P.2d 1043 (Wash.App. Div. 2 1973), 1022, Standard Pressed Steel Co. v. Department of Revenue

Docket Nº:1022--II.
Citation:516 P.2d 1043, 10 Wn.App. 45
Opinion Judge:ARMSTRONG,
Party Name:STANDARD PRESSED STEEL COMPANY, Appellant, v. DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, State of Washington, Respondent.
Attorney:Kenneth L. Cornell of Keller, Rohrback, Waldo, Moren & Hiscock, Seattle, for appellant., Slade Gorton, Atty. Gen., William D. Dexter, Asst. Atty. Gen., Olympia, for respondent.
Judge Panel:PEARSON, C.J., and PETRIE, J., concur.
Case Date:December 03, 1973
Court:Court of Appeals of Washington
 
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Page 1043

516 P.2d 1043 (Wash.App. Div. 2 1973)

10 Wn.App. 45

STANDARD PRESSED STEEL COMPANY, Appellant,

v.

DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, State of Washington, Respondent.

No. 1022--II.

Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 2.

December 3, 1973

Review Denied February 20, 1974.

Page 1044

Kenneth L. Cornell of Keller, Rohrback, Waldo, Moren & Hiscock, Seattle, for appellant.

Slade Gorton, Atty. Gen., William D. Dexter, Asst. Atty. Gen., Olympia, for respondent. [10 Wn.App. 46]

ARMSTRONG, Judge.

This is an appeal from a superior court judgment affirming the final decision of the Board of Tax Appeals upholding the imposition of this state's business and occupation tax upon plaintiff, Standard Pressed Steel Company. It was the contention of plaintiff that imposition of the tax was unconstitutional. We hold that levying of the tax was constitutionally permissible.

The hearings below Before both the Board of Tax Appeals and the trial court were conducted on the basis of the deposition of H. Robert Martinson, an employee of plaintiff, various exhibits introduced in connection with the deposition, and the pleadings in the case. There was no 'live testimony.' For this reason, it is unnecessary for us to consider the five findings of fact assigned as error by the plaintiff, because we may approach review of the plaintiff's contentions as indicated by the Supreme Court in Smith v. Skagit County,

Page 1045

75 Wash.2d 715, 718, 453 P.2d 832 (1969), quoting with approval the following language from Carlson v. Bellevue, 73 Wash.2d 41, 48, 435 P.2d 957, 961 (1968):

The appeal, therefore, from the trial court's judgment brings Before us, in the same form and content, the identical documents and records presented to the trial court. Under these circumstances, we are not bound by disputed findings of the trial court to the same extent and in the same manner as where the trial court's findings rest upon the oral testimony of witnesses. . . . We are entitled to make our own examination of the records thus presented and determine the merits of the contentions going to the issue of arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable legislative action.

(Citations omitted.) In other words, this court on appeal stands in the same position as the trial court in looking at the facts of the case and should review the record de novo. Anderson v. Island County, 81 Wash.2d 312, 316, 501 P.2d 594 (1972).

Both Anderson and Smith zoning cases and the standard of judicial review was whether there had been arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable legislative action. [10 Wn.App. 47] In this case, the scope of judicial review is pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act and limited by the provisions of RCW 34.04.130(6). 1 Our review here is to determine from the facts whether the Board of Tax Appeals' decision sustaining imposition of the business and occupation tax was in violation of constitutional provisions.

The record discloses that plaintiff, Standard Pressed Steel Company, is a foreign corporation with production facilities located in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania and Santa Ana, California. A significant amount of plaintiff's business involves the manufacture and sale of fasteners (nuts and bolts, generally) to be used in the aerospace industry, and plaintiff's principal customer in this state during the tax years in question was the Boeing Company in Seattle.

The only employee of Standard Pressed Steel present within the State of Washington over the tax years in question was H. Robert Martinson, a 'sales engineer.' Martinson performed his activities for Standard Pressed Steel out of a portion of a room in his home equipped with a desk, telephone, and a file cabinet.

Martinson's primary function was to work with Boeing's engineers in the initial phases of aerospace design and construction, and through contact with Boeing engineers inform himself of possible prospective needs of the Boeing Company, and its various subcontractors, for aerospace fasteners. He would then initiate a product engineering request describing in detail the specifications...

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