L & R Distributing, Inc. v. Missouri Dept. of Revenue, No. 58925

CourtMissouri Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation529 S.W.2d 375
PartiesL & R DISTRIBUTING, INC., a corporation, et al., Respondents, v. MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE and James R. Spradling, Director of Revenue, Appellants
Docket NumberNo. 58925,No. 2
Decision Date13 October 1975

Page 375

529 S.W.2d 375
L & R DISTRIBUTING, INC., a corporation, et al., Respondents,
v.
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE and James R. Spradling,
Director of Revenue, Appellants.
No. 58925.
Supreme Court of Missouri, Division No. 2.
Oct. 13, 1975.
Motion for Rehearing or Transfer Denied Dec. 8, 1975.

Carp & Morris, Gary Morris, Clayton, Stein & Seigel, Hyman G. Stein, Charles Alan Seigel, St. Louis, for plaintiffs-respondents, L & R Distributing, Inc., et al.

John C. Danforth, Atty. Gen., Clarence Thomas, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, for defendants-appellants.

HENRY I. EAGER, Special Commissioner.

This action involves the validity of Revised Rule No. 49 of the Revenue Department which, for the first time, construed

Page 376

§ 144.020.1(2) of the Sales and Use Tax Law as imposing the tax upon the gross receipts of coin-operated devices such as pinball machines. 1 The applicable portion of this statute is as follows: 'A tax equivalent to three percent of the amount paid for admission and seating accommodations or fees paid to, or in any place of amusement, entertainment or recreation, games and athletic events'; that subdivision has been in its identical form since 1937. Plaintiffs are the owners and operators of various pinball machines and other coin-operated devices. They filed this declaratory judgment action seeking to invalidate the Revised Rule, for an injunction, and for the return of sales taxes paid under protest since May 1, 1974. Their theory is, as stated, that the statute does not impose a tax upon these proceeds and that the Rule is arbitrary and in violation of the statute; defendants, by answer, admitted all formal allegations, admitted that they had collected no sales tax on such proceeds until (after) April 30, 1974, but asserted that the Revised Rule embodied a correct construction of the statute, and that the tax was properly collected. The issue does not require a more elaborate review of the pleadings.

We have jurisdiction because the construction of a Revenue Law is required. The parties stipulated all the necessary facts, except those already admitted in the pleadings. They are, in substance, as follows: that the plaintiffs own and operate pinball machines and other coin-operated devices in St. Louis and St. Louis County, which are placed in 'restaurants, confectionaries, bowling alleys, hotels, motels, bus stations, airports and other similar places * * *'; that they receive a percentage of the gross receipts; that in 1937 the Attorney General rendered an opinion which is incorporated into the stipulation as an exhibit; that the Revenue Department has issued Rules construing the statutes 'and in so doing promulgated Rule No 49 (issued in 1972 as a successor to prior rules dating back to 1934) which specifically exempted receipts derived from pinball and other slot machines (which provision, or similar provisions, was included in the said prior rules dating back to 1939)'; that copies of such Rules were attached as exhibits; that the Department did not attempt to collect a tax on such proceeds from 1937 to 1974, nor was such its practice, and that, on information, the same was true from 1933 to 1937; that effective May 1, 1974, Revised Rule No. 49 was promulgated under which defendants are attempting to collect sales taxes upon such proceeds for the use of such facilities; that on May 10, 1974, the Attorney General issued his opinion No. 68, a copy of which is incorporated into the stipulation; this upheld collection of the tax on fees paid for the use of facilities such as billiard tables, pool tables, bowling alleys 'and the like'; that defendants have demanded such taxes since May 1, 1974, and plaintiffs and others have paid such taxes under protest--pursuant to § 144.700.

In the stipulation there are statements also concerning certain legislative bills which were introduced in 1939 and 1941. We prefer to discuss these in more detail later from our own examination of the legislative files. The parties stipulated that we may take judicial notice of the legislative history which, of course, we might do anyway.

The trial court filed its 'Order, Judgment and Decree' granting to plaintiffs the relief prayed, and also filed an extended memorandum opinion. It declared the Revised Rule to be void insofar as it purported to tax the proceeds in question, adjudged that the statute does not impose such a tax, enjoined collection, and ordered a refund of the amounts collected. It would be somewhat superfluous to review the memorandum opinion, since it covers much of the same ground which we are required to cover here. It shows, however, a considered and studious review of the legal issues.

Page 377

It is appropriate here to review the legislative history of this part of the Sales Tax Law. The Act was first...

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17 practice notes
  • Jane Doe v. St. Louis Cmty. Coll., No. ED 104574.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • July 11, 2017
    ...than non-action and clearly shows the legislature's view of its own intent." L & R Distributing, Inc. v. Missouri Dept. of Revenue , 529 S.W.2d 375 (Mo. 1975). Simply put, neither past practice nor legislative action supports SLCC's pivot. I would stop here.However, impelled to wade deeper,......
  • State v. Grubb, No. SC 85195.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 28, 2003
    ...determining intent, legislative action is far more indicative of intent than mere inaction. L & R Dist., Inc. v. Mo. Dep't of Revenue, 529 S.W.2d 375 120 S.W.3d 741 (Mo.1975). For example, the legislature may not have amended section 556.016.2 to include court-martial convictions because th......
  • Kostman v. Pine Lawn Bank & Trust Co., No. 59299
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • September 13, 1976
    ...statute by those charged with its administration is entitled to great weight. L & R Distributing, Inc. v. Missouri Department of Revenue, 529 S.W.2d 375 (Mo.1975); State ex rel. Jackson County v. Public Service Commission, 532 S.W.2d 20 (Mo. banc 1975); Foremost-McKesson, Inc. v. Davis, 488......
  • State v. Grubb, Case Number: SC85195.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 28, 2003
    ...determining intent, legislative action is far more indicative of intent than mere inaction. L & R Dist., Inc. v. Mo. Dep't of Revenue, 529 S.W.2d 375 (Mo. 1975). For example, the legislature may not have amended section 556.016.2 to include court-martial convictions because the plain langua......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Jane Doe v. St. Louis Cmty. Coll., No. ED 104574.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • July 11, 2017
    ...than non-action and clearly shows the legislature's view of its own intent." L & R Distributing, Inc. v. Missouri Dept. of Revenue , 529 S.W.2d 375 (Mo. 1975). Simply put, neither past practice nor legislative action supports SLCC's pivot. I would stop here.However, impelled to wade deeper,......
  • State v. Grubb, No. SC 85195.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 28, 2003
    ...determining intent, legislative action is far more indicative of intent than mere inaction. L & R Dist., Inc. v. Mo. Dep't of Revenue, 529 S.W.2d 375 120 S.W.3d 741 (Mo.1975). For example, the legislature may not have amended section 556.016.2 to include court-martial convictions because th......
  • Kostman v. Pine Lawn Bank & Trust Co., No. 59299
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • September 13, 1976
    ...statute by those charged with its administration is entitled to great weight. L & R Distributing, Inc. v. Missouri Department of Revenue, 529 S.W.2d 375 (Mo.1975); State ex rel. Jackson County v. Public Service Commission, 532 S.W.2d 20 (Mo. banc 1975); Foremost-McKesson, Inc. v. Davis, 488......
  • State v. Grubb, Case Number: SC85195.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 28, 2003
    ...determining intent, legislative action is far more indicative of intent than mere inaction. L & R Dist., Inc. v. Mo. Dep't of Revenue, 529 S.W.2d 375 (Mo. 1975). For example, the legislature may not have amended section 556.016.2 to include court-martial convictions because the plain langua......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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