Featherstone v. Norman, No. 7571.

CourtSupreme Court of Georgia
Writing for the CourtHINES
Citation153 S.E. 58,170 Ga. 370
Docket NumberNo. 7571.
Decision Date16 April 1930
PartiesFEATHERSTONE. v. NORMAN, Tax Com'r.
170 Ga. 370

153 S.E. 58

FEATHERSTONE.
v.
NORMAN, Tax Com'r.

No. 7571.

Supreme Court of Georgia.

April 16, 1930.


Syllabus by the Court.

The power of the Legislature to impose an income tax is an inherent power of that body, and the constitutional grant thereof is not necessary to enable the Legislature to exercise it.

[153 S.E. 59]
Syllabus by the Court.

A tax on income is not a tax on property in the sense in which that word is used in article 7, § 2, par. 1, of the Constitution of this state, which declares that "all taxation shall be uniform upon the same class of subjects, and ad valorem on all property subject to be taxed within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax."

(a) Property, in common parlance and within the meaning of this provision of the Constitution, is used in contradistinction to income, and means the corpus of an estate or investment from which income flows. Hence income is not property within the meaning of this provision, and need not be levied ad valorem.

(b) The Income Tax Act of August 22, 1929 (Acts 1929, p. 92), does not violate the uniformity clause of this provision of the Constitution by reason of the imposition of a graduated income tax, and by reason of the exemptions from the tax by it provided.

(c) The classification of incomes for taxation, the graduated scale of rates, and the exemptions from this tax by said act are reasonable and not arbitrary, and were matters to be determined alone by the Legislature under its power to classify subjects for taxation under said provision of the constitution.

[Ed. Note.—For other definitions of "Property" and "Property Tax, " see Words and Phrases.]

Syllabus by the Court.

The tax imposed by this act, not being a property tax, does not violate article 7, § 1, par. 2, of the Constitution of this state, in that it imposes a tax on property in excess of "five mills on each dollar * * * of the property taxable in the State."

Syllabus by the Court.

This act does not vest in Congress and administrative bureaus and boards of the United States the legislative power of the state, in violation of article 3, § 1, par. 1, of the Constitution of Georgia, which provides that "the legislative power of the State shall be vested in a General Assembly."

Syllabus by the Court.

This act does not undertake to deprive the courts of this state of the power of construing its own laws, in violation of article 6, § 1, par. 1, of the Constitution of this state, which declares that the judicial powers of this state shall be vested in the Supreme Court and the other courts therein named.

Syllabus by the Court.

This act does not violate article 7, § 2, par. 3, of the Constitution of this state, which provides that a poll tax shall be levied for educational purposes only, and shall not exceed $1 annually upon each poll; the tax imposed by said act being in no sense a poll tax.

Syllabus by the Court.

Our Income Tax Act is not in conflict with section 1025, c. 19, of title 26 of the USCA; and does not violate article 6, par. 2, of the Constitution of the United States, which declares that "this Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, * * * shall be the supreme law of the land."

[153 S.E. 60]

Error from Superior Court, Fulton County; E. D. Thomas, Judge.

Action by M. C. Featherstone against R. C. Norman. Judgment for defendant, and plaintiff brings error.

Affirmed.

The Income Tax Act of 1929 is as follows: "Section 1. On the net income of every person, firm, or corporation residing or doing business in this State, except insurance companies which pay to the State a tax upon premium income, after makings such deductions as are allowed by the laws of the United States in the system by them adopted for determining net incomes and such increases and deductions as are hereinafter provided for in determining a proper taxable income, there shall be levied and collected by the State of Georgia an income tax similar to that of the United States, but at the rate and according to the scale hereinafter set forth; the same to be returned, calculated, ascertained, and paid according to the system and rules hereinafter set forth.

"Sec. 2. Whenever any such person, firm, or corporation residing or doing business in this State makes an income-tax return to the United States, or is legally bound so to do, such person being hereinafter briefly referred to, for convenience, as a taxpayer, it shall be his duty to make at the same time a like return to the State of Georgia and rile the same with the State Tax Commissioner for the purpose of a State tax on income. Such duplicate return shall furnish the same information as is contained in his return to the United States, shall be made on a blank form to be furnished by the Tax Commissioner, and shall ascertain the taxable net income in the same way as in the return to the United States; but. before ascertaining the net income taxable by the State, the following changes shall be made:

"1. To the amount ascertained under the laws of the United States as the net income taxable by the United States, there shall be added in said return the gross amount of any salary received by the taxpayer during the tax year, or accrued to him during said period as a public official or employee of the State, or of any county, municipal corporation, or other political division thereof, and the net amount of any fees, perquisites, or other emolument from said sources or any of them, paid to him during the same period for official compensation, except in the cases of the Governor of the State and of the several Judges of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Superior Court, who shall not be required to include their salaries paid or accruing for any term existing at the time of the passage of this Act.

"2. Prom the amount so ascertained as the taxable net income shall be deducted any salary paid to the taxpayer by the United States or accrued to him from the same source as an official salary for any service rendered by him to the United States, and any and all interest paid to him on any bond or bonds or other obligation of the United States.

"If neither of the changes indicated by subparagraphs 1 and 2 above is made, the net income taxable by the State of Georgia shall be the same as that taxable by the United States, and the tax payable thereon to the State of Georgia shall be one third of that payable to the United States. But in case the net taxable income be changed as the result of complying with subparagraphs 1 or 2 above, the tax payable to the State shall be increased or reduced so as to be one third of what would have been payable to the United States under their laws upon such increased or reduced taxable net income.

"Sec. 3. Any person, firm, or corporation who makes no income-tax return to the United States because of having no sufficient income taxable by the United States to call for such return under the laws of the United States, but who would have such sufficient income if his salary, fees or perquisites from the State or subdivision thereof were taxable by the United States, shall be liable and is hereby required to make to the State of Georgia an original return on the same or similar form as would be used in making a duplicate return as required in section 2 of this Act, indicating in some appropriate way whether the same is an original return. In such case the tax liability to the State shall be one third of what it would be to the United States if said income were by them taxable. In any case where a non-resident corporation having an office and doing business in this State makes its income-tax return in some other State, such corporation shall make an original return to the Tax Commissioner of Georgia, confined to its business done in this State, upon like principles as are in this section above provided.

"Sec. 4. It shall be the right of any taxpayer making return of income for taxation by the State, to attach or add to such return any claim such taxpayer may choose to make as, to any item or items included in his return to the United States which he conceives to be exempt from taxation by the State of Georgia. In such case it shall be the duty of the taxpayer so making return to make a clear and distinct statement of all relevant facts connected with such claim, and to make a clear statement of the reasons why he conceives such item to be not taxable by the State. And there shall be deducted any amount that may be derived from incomes of any such persons or companies as the State of Georgia is prohibited from taxing under the Constitution of the United States.

"Sec. 5. When such return is made and filed with the tax commissioner as herein-

[153 S.E. 61]

before required, the taxpayer shall, on or before the last day for making return, pay to the Tax Commissioner for the State of Georgia at least one third of the State income tax as fixed by the provisions hereinbefore made, the balance being due and payable at intervals of three and six months thereafter.

"Sec. 6. The right granted the taxpayer in section 4 of this Act to file a claim of exemption or denial of liability for tax, as to any item included in the return, shall not be construed to relieve the taxpayer from liability to make immediate payment of the tax, nor shall there be any judicial interference with the payment or collection of the tax upon any other ground, but all persons making return as herein provided for, or required so to do, shall pay as hereinbefore provided and make his complaint for or seek a refund as hereinafter provided for.

"Sec. 7. A tribunal is hereby created, consisting of the Comptroller-General, the Attorney-General, and the Secretary of State, which shall be known as the Board of Income Tax Review. Whenever any taxpayer shall make a claim for exemption as to any item or items in his return as provided in section 4 of this Act and shall be dissatisfied with the findings of the State...

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68 practice notes
  • Fernwood Lumber Co. v. Mississippi State Tax Commission, 30655
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • September 25, 1933
    ...shall be uniform upon the same class of subjects within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax. Featherstone v. Norman, 170 Ga. 370, 153 S.E. 58, 65, 70 A. L. R. 449; Maxwell, Commissioner of Revenue, v. Kent, etc., Co. (N. C.), 168 S.E. 397; Penny Stores v. Mitchell, 59 F.......
  • Bacon v. Ranson, No. 32418.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 31, 1932
    ...S.W. 23; Elliott v. Winn, 305 Mo. 105, 264 S.W. 391; Young v. Illinois Athletic Club, 310 Ill. 75, 141 N.E. 369; Featherstone v. Norman, 153 S.E. 58; Purnell v. Page, 133 N.C. 125, 45 S.E. 535; State v. Railroad Co., 45 Md. 361, 24 Am. Rep. 511; Diefendorf v. Gallet, 10 Pac. (2d) 307; State......
  • Hunton v. Commonwealth
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • January 16, 1936
    ...in a unanimous decision, reached the same conclusion. See also, Sims Ahrens, 167 Ark. 557, 271 S.W. 720, 730, 735; Featherstone Norman, 170 Ga. 370, 153 S.E. 58, 65, 70 A.L.R. 449, 459; Diefendorf Gallet, 51 Idaho 619, 10 P.(2d) 307, 313; Reed Bjornson, 191 Minn. 254, 253 N.W. 102, 109; Hat......
  • Hale v. Iowa State Board of Assessment and Review, No. 16
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • November 8, 1937
    ...laid on the amount which a man receives, irrespective of whether he spends it, wastes it, or invests it.' Featherstone v. Norman, 170 Ga. 370, 382, 153 S.E. 58, 65, 70 A.L.R. 449; Purnell v. Page, 133 N.C. 125, 129, 45 S.E. 534. As early as 1870, the Supreme Court of Iowa had written an opi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
68 cases
  • Fernwood Lumber Co. v. Mississippi State Tax Commission, 30655
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • September 25, 1933
    ...shall be uniform upon the same class of subjects within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax. Featherstone v. Norman, 170 Ga. 370, 153 S.E. 58, 65, 70 A. L. R. 449; Maxwell, Commissioner of Revenue, v. Kent, etc., Co. (N. C.), 168 S.E. 397; Penny Stores v. Mitchell, 59 F.......
  • Bacon v. Ranson, No. 32418.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 31, 1932
    ...S.W. 23; Elliott v. Winn, 305 Mo. 105, 264 S.W. 391; Young v. Illinois Athletic Club, 310 Ill. 75, 141 N.E. 369; Featherstone v. Norman, 153 S.E. 58; Purnell v. Page, 133 N.C. 125, 45 S.E. 535; State v. Railroad Co., 45 Md. 361, 24 Am. Rep. 511; Diefendorf v. Gallet, 10 Pac. (2d) 307; State......
  • Hunton v. Commonwealth
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • January 16, 1936
    ...in a unanimous decision, reached the same conclusion. See also, Sims Ahrens, 167 Ark. 557, 271 S.W. 720, 730, 735; Featherstone Norman, 170 Ga. 370, 153 S.E. 58, 65, 70 A.L.R. 449, 459; Diefendorf Gallet, 51 Idaho 619, 10 P.(2d) 307, 313; Reed Bjornson, 191 Minn. 254, 253 N.W. 102, 109; Hat......
  • Hale v. Iowa State Board of Assessment and Review, No. 16
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • November 8, 1937
    ...laid on the amount which a man receives, irrespective of whether he spends it, wastes it, or invests it.' Featherstone v. Norman, 170 Ga. 370, 382, 153 S.E. 58, 65, 70 A.L.R. 449; Purnell v. Page, 133 N.C. 125, 129, 45 S.E. 534. As early as 1870, the Supreme Court of Iowa had written an opi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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