Glasgow v. Rowse

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtWAGNER
Citation43 Mo. 479
PartiesWILLIAM H. GLASGOW, Respondent, v. EDWARD S. ROWSE, Appellant.
Decision Date31 March 1869

43 Mo. 479

WILLIAM H. GLASGOW, Respondent,
v.
EDWARD S. ROWSE, Appellant.

Supreme Court of Missouri.

March Term, 1869.


[43 Mo. 480]

Appeal from St. Louis Circuit Court.

The material facts appear in the opinion of the court.

H. A. Clover, for appellant.

I. The act of the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, approved February 20, 1865, entitled “An act to levy additional State taxes for the years 1865 and 1866” (Sess. Acts 1865, p. 112), was a constitutional and valid act. (Locke v. New Orleans, 4 Wall. 172.)

II. The assessment of the tax against the plaintiff was lawfully and regularly made under said act.

III. Whether the assessment was in proper form or not, the defendant cannot be held liable as a trespasser; he is protected and justified by the tax bill, and is perfectly defended, as a ministerial officer charged by law with the execution of process, under the evidence in the cause. 1. The assessor has full jurisdiction in the premises to make an assessment against the plaintiff under

[43 Mo. 481]

the income-tax law. 2. If there was mere error in the manner of assessment by the assessing power, it was not the duty of the defendant, a ministerial officer, nor had he the right to refuse, to execute the process. (Turner v. Franklin, 29 Mo. 286; State to use, etc., v. Shacklett et al., 37 Mo. 280; Milburn v. Gilman, 11 Mo. 67.)

Hitchcock & Lubke, and Glover & Shepley for respondent.

I. An illegal assessment is no protection to a ministerial officer who, under color thereof, seizes the property of another. (Cloutman v. Pike, 7 N. H. 209; State to use, etc., v. Shacklett, 37 Mo. 280, 284; 5 Wend. 172, 173; 2 Hill. 418-421; Thompson v. Currier, 4 Fost., N. H., 237; Pickering v. Coleman, 12 N. H. 148; Shaw v. Pickett, 25 Verm. 423.)

II. The assessment was illegal and void; because, 1. It was not made in accordance with the terms of the act of February 20, 1865, under which the defendant justifies his action, and is therefore without lawful force or authority. 2. The act of February 20, 1865, is in conflict with section 30, article I, of the constitution of Missouri, which provides that all property subject to taxation ought to be taxed in proportion to its value.

1. The State auditor had no right to change the period for which incomes were made taxable by said act. The language of the act as to this is as follows: “Sec. 2. There shall be levied, assessed, and collected, for the year 1865, a tax of two per cent. on the salaries and incomes of all other persons, including military officers, whether such incomes are derived from fees or any other source whatever,” etc. And in relation to auditor's duties: “Sec. 5. The auditor of public accounts is hereby directed to issue his instructions to the several assessors, clerks, and collectors, to correct and perfect assessments and tax books in conformity with the provisions of this act.” The only period for which the act directs or authorizes an income tax to be levied or assessed is for the year 1865. The only construction which any court or officer can put on this, so far as these words are concerned, is that the calendar year was meant. By section 22, chapter 96, Revised Code 1855 (R. C. 1855, p. 1027), the word

[43 Mo. 482]

“year” is expressly declared in all statutes of this State to mean a calendar year, unless otherwise expressed. There is nothing expressed in this act to show or justify any different meaning for the word. The year 1865, then, is the calendar year from January 1 to December 31, 1865. But it may be said that the statute should be construed with reference to its subject matter and context, and that to interpret the year 1865 to mean the calendar year would be to fix a period different from the fiscal year, for which all other taxes were assessed. Admitting this to the full extent, the assessment was still unauthorized by the act. The fiscal year, or the year for which all other State taxes were assessed, did not begin or end on the 31st of March, but on the first Monday of September (Adj. Sess. Acts 1863, pp. 61, 68); and the substitution for either the calendar year or the fiscal year, as fixed by the general revenue law, of the year ending March 31, 1865, was wholly unauthorized on the part of the auditor of public accounts. The fifth section of the act, in directing him to issue his instructions to the several assessors, etc., to correct and perfect tax books in conformity with the provisions of this act, clearly shows that the intention of the Legislature was to simply add to the property subject to taxation for the fiscal year 1864-5 a new subject of taxation, to-wit: incomes. He was not directed or authorized to instruct any assessor to open new books. They were to correct and perfect tax books--not to open or prepare them. The intention was, therefore, that the tax books already prepared and in use as authorized by law for the fiscal year ending first Monday of September, 1865, when the fiscal year 1865-6 began, should be perfected and corrected by inserting this new subject of taxation. If, then, the auditor had instructed the assessor to require of each tax-payer to return his income for the year preceding the first Monday of September, 1864, the day on which the State tax of 1865 was issued, in contemplation of law he would have obeyed the directions of the Legislature. This act nowhere authorizes the auditor to fix the time of the assessment.

This being the case, the assessment was without authority of law, and simply void. Statutes of any kind imposing taxes, and

[43 Mo. 483]

all acts, proceedings, and rights under or derived from them, are strictly construed. The power of taxation, indispensable as it is to the sovereignty and existence of a State, is simply a form o taking his property away from the citizen. When lawfully exerted within the limits of the constitution, this power supports all lawful acts necessary to its exercise. But the courts cannot sanction any act or sustain any alleged authority not clearly within the terms of the law. Any other doctrine would place the property of its citizens at the mercy of the ministerial and other officers.

The decision of the court below was given only upon the point above contended for--the irregular and therefore void character of the assessment itself, and the consequently void character of the tax bill and lack of justification or legal authority for the seizure made by the defendant.

2. But the respondents further contend that the act was illegal and void because the act itself, so far as it relates to a tax on incomes, was in violation of the constitutional requirement that all property should be taxed in proportion to its value.

This clause in the constitution is a means to an end, and that end is that the burden of the government should be fairly divided and equally borne. Chancellor Kent declares the fundamental principle which this clause in our constitution was meant to embody and to enforce, as follows: “Every person is entitled to be protected in the enjoyment of his property, not only from invasions of it by individuals, but from all unequal or undue assessment on the part of government. It is not sufficient that no tax or imposition can be imposed upon the citizens except by their representatives in the Legislature. The citizens are entitled to require that the Legislature itself should cause all public taxation to be fair and equal, in proportion to the value of property, so that no one class of individuals and no one species of property may be unequally or unduly assessed.” (2 Kent's Com. 331, 10th ed., 416.) This cardinal principle of all just governments has repeatedly been declared and enforced in the constitutions of the several States, in acts of Congress admitting States into the Union, and by the decisions of courts of last resort, avoiding and defeating repeated attempts on the part of the State Legislature

[43 Mo. 484]

to disregard it. (State Bank v. Savannah, Dudley's R. 132; 10 Mass. 514; 17 Mass. 461; Pike v. The State, 5 Pike, Ark., 204; Sawyer v. Alton, 3 Scam. 127.) The clause in our State constitution that all property shall be taxed in proportion to its value has been a constitutional provision ever since the State was formed.

The revenue acts passed, year after year, aim at preventing the very evil which inheres in the law under which the defendant here justifies. (Gen. Stat. 1865, ch. 11, p. 95, § 4; R. C. 1855, ch. 135, art. I, p. 1324, § 4; Sess. Acts 1864, p. 66, § 3.)

These provisions were adopted in order to avoid double taxation. Unless they existed, the merchant would have been twice taxed on his goods: once on his license bond, upon their value; and again, in the same year, on the money, notes, and bonds which he held after...

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48 practice notes
  • Bacon v. Ranson, No. 32418.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 31, 1932
    ...Taxation," by Charles R. Metzger, American Bar Assn. Journal, Nov., 1927, Vol. XIII, No. 11, p. 662; Laws 1865, p. 112; Glasgow v. Rowse, 43 Mo. 479; Ludlow-Saylor Wire Co. v. Wollbrinck, 275 Mo. 339, 205 S.W. 196; Sess. I, ch. 45, United States Statutes at Large, Volume 12, p. 309; Pollock......
  • In re Gross Prod. Tax of Wolverine Oil Co., Case Number: 7426
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • October 12, 1915
    ...to Bacon v. Board of State Tax Commissioners, 126 Mich. 22, 85 N.W. 307, 60 L. R. A. 339 et seq., 86 Am. St. Rep. 524; Glasgow v. Rowse, 43 Mo. 479; Gatlin v. Tarboro, 78 N.C. 119; Metropolitan St. R. Co. v. New York, 199 U.S. 1, 47, 25 S. Ct. 705, 50 L. Ed. 65, 4 Ann. Cas. 381. ¶18 To just......
  • O'Connell v. State Bd. of Equal., No. 7151.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • September 30, 1933
    ...who, after all, are the corporation. The discrimination, if any there be, does not render the act unconstitutional. Glasgow v. Rowse, 43 Mo. 479;Alderman v. Wells, 85 S. C. 507, 67 S. E. 781, 27 L. R. A. (N. S.) 864, 21 Ann. Cas. 193. It is argued by the plaintiff that the submission of an ......
  • Thunder Oil Co. v. City of Sunset Hills, No. 47975
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • July 10, 1961
    ...344 Mo. 1098, 130 S.W.2d 532, 535; General American Life Insurance Co. v. Bates, 363 Mo. 143, 249 S.W.2d 458, 462; Glasgow v. Rowse, 43 Mo. 479; City of St. Lois v. Sternberg, 69 Mo. 289; Bacon v. Ranson, 331 Mo. 985, k6 S.W.2d 786; City of St. Charles ex rel. Palmer v. Schulte, 305 Mo. 124......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
48 cases
  • Bacon v. Ranson, No. 32418.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 31, 1932
    ...Taxation," by Charles R. Metzger, American Bar Assn. Journal, Nov., 1927, Vol. XIII, No. 11, p. 662; Laws 1865, p. 112; Glasgow v. Rowse, 43 Mo. 479; Ludlow-Saylor Wire Co. v. Wollbrinck, 275 Mo. 339, 205 S.W. 196; Sess. I, ch. 45, United States Statutes at Large, Volume 12, p. 309; Pollock......
  • In re Gross Prod. Tax of Wolverine Oil Co., Case Number: 7426
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • October 12, 1915
    ...to Bacon v. Board of State Tax Commissioners, 126 Mich. 22, 85 N.W. 307, 60 L. R. A. 339 et seq., 86 Am. St. Rep. 524; Glasgow v. Rowse, 43 Mo. 479; Gatlin v. Tarboro, 78 N.C. 119; Metropolitan St. R. Co. v. New York, 199 U.S. 1, 47, 25 S. Ct. 705, 50 L. Ed. 65, 4 Ann. Cas. 381. ¶18 To just......
  • O'Connell v. State Bd. of Equal., No. 7151.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • September 30, 1933
    ...who, after all, are the corporation. The discrimination, if any there be, does not render the act unconstitutional. Glasgow v. Rowse, 43 Mo. 479;Alderman v. Wells, 85 S. C. 507, 67 S. E. 781, 27 L. R. A. (N. S.) 864, 21 Ann. Cas. 193. It is argued by the plaintiff that the submission of an ......
  • Thunder Oil Co. v. City of Sunset Hills, No. 47975
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • July 10, 1961
    ...344 Mo. 1098, 130 S.W.2d 532, 535; General American Life Insurance Co. v. Bates, 363 Mo. 143, 249 S.W.2d 458, 462; Glasgow v. Rowse, 43 Mo. 479; City of St. Lois v. Sternberg, 69 Mo. 289; Bacon v. Ranson, 331 Mo. 985, k6 S.W.2d 786; City of St. Charles ex rel. Palmer v. Schulte, 305 Mo. 124......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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