Leo Meyer v. Wells Fargo Company, No. 624

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHolmes
Citation223 U.S. 298,56 L.Ed. 445,32 S.Ct. 218
PartiesLEO MEYER, as Auditor of the State of Oklahoma, Appt., v. WELLS FARGO & COMPANY
Decision Date19 February 1912
Docket NumberNo. 624

223 U.S. 298
32 S.Ct. 218
56 L.Ed. 445
LEO MEYER, as Auditor of the State of Oklahoma, Appt.,



No. 624.
Argued January 16, 1912.
Decided February 19, 1912.

Page 299

Mr. Charles West, Attorney General of Oklahoma, for appellant.

Messrs. S. T. Bledsoe, J. R. Cottingham, and C. W. Stockton for appellee.

Mr. Justice Holmes delivered the opinion of the court:

This is a bill for an injunction against a tax alleged to be unconstitutional as a regulation of commerce among the states. Upon demurrer, three judges sitting in the circuit court granted the injunction, and the defendant appealed to this court. The statute in question is entitled, 'An Act Providing for the Levy and Collection of a Gross Revenue Tax from Public-Service corporations in This State,' and from persons engaged in certain mining and similar occupations. By § 2: 'Every corporation hereinafter named shall pay the state a gross revenue tax . . . which shall be in addition to the taxes levied and collected upon an ad valorem basis upon the property and assets of such corporation equal to the per centum of the gross receipts hereinafter provided, if such public-service corporation operate wholly within the state, and if such public-service corporation operate partly within and partly without the state, it shall pay tax equal to such proportion of said per centum of its gross receipts as the portion of its business done within the state bears to the whole of its business;' with a proviso for fixing a different proportion if it 'more fairly represents the proportion which

Page 300

the gross receipts of any such public-service corporation for any year within this state bear to its total gross receipts.' By § 3 the per centum to be paid by express companies (such as the plaintiff is) is 3 per cent of the gross receipts, and, 'for the purpose of determining the amount of such tax,' they are required to report under oath the gross receipts 'from every source whatsoever.'

The plaintiff's receipts are largely from commerce among the states, and it also receives large sums as income from investments in bonds and land all outside the state of Oklahoma. So that it is evident that if the tax is what it calls itself, it is bad on the former ground, and that whatever it is, it is bad on the latter. Fargo v. Hart, 193 U. S. 490, 48 L. ed. 761, 24 Sup. Ct. Rep. 498. In that case the tax was proportioned to mileage, and it was held that it could not be sustained when, although purporting to be a tax on property, it took into account, in order to increase proportionately the value of the mileage within the state, valuable property outside of it. The same principle would apply to a property tax measuring the total property by the total gross receipts, increased by the special outside sources of income, and taxing a proportion of this total fixed by the ratio of business...

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103 practice notes
  • Sea-Land Services, Inc. v. Municipality of San Juan, Civ. No. 1143-72.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Puerto Rico
    • 18 Septiembre 1980
    ...supra. This assumes, however, that cumulative taxation to that effect is inexistent within Puerto Rico. Cf. Meyer v. Wells, Fargo & Co., 223 U.S. 298, 299, 32 S.Ct. 218, 219, 56 L.Ed. 445 (invalidating a gross receipts tax levied in addition to the property 80 Plaintiffs constantly cite in ......
  • George Simpson v. David Shepard No 291 George Simpson v. Emma Kennedy No 292 George Simpson v. William Shillaber No 293, s. 291
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 9 Junio 1913
    ...54 L. ed. 355, 30 Sup. Ct. Rep. 190; Pullman Co. v. Kansas, 216 U. S. 56, 54 L. ed. 378, 30 Sup. Ct. Rep. 232; Meyer v. Wells, F. & Co. 223 U. S. 298, 56 L. ed. 445, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 218; Crenshaw v. Arkansas, 227 U. S. 389, 57 L. ed. ——, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 294); or upon persons or property i......
  • Freeman v. Hewit, 3
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 16 Diciembre 1946
    ...have not been sustained fall into the following groups: (a) Those which were not fairly apportioned. See, e.g., Meyer v. Wells Fargo Co., 223 U.S. 298, 32 S.Ct. 218, 56 L.Ed. 445. (b) Those which were not apportioned and subjected interstate commerce to the risk of multiple taxation. Philad......
  • Armco Steel Corp. v. State, 76
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • 1 Octubre 1959
    ...supra; Galveston, H. & S. A. R. Co. v. Texas, supra [210 U.S. 217, 28 S.Ct. 638, 52 L.Ed. 1031]; Meyer v. Wells Fargo & Co., supra [223 U.S. 298, 32 S.Ct. 218, 56 L.Ed. 445], with which compare Wisconsin & M. Ry. Co. v. Powers, supra. Whether the tax was sustained as a fair means of measuri......
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90 cases
  • Duluth, S.S. & A.R. Co. v. Michigan Corp. and Securities Commission, No. 45
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • 10 Septiembre 1958
    ...reasonably apportioned. Ratterman v. Western Union Telegraph Co., 127 U.S. 411, 8 S.Ct. 1127, 32 L.Ed. 229; Meyer v. Wells, Fargo & Co., 223 U.S. 298, 32 S.Ct. 218, 56 L.Ed. 445; East Ohio Gas Co. v. Tax Commission of Ohio, 283 U.S. 465, 51 S.Ct. 499, 75 L.Ed. 1171; Cooney v. Mountain State......
  • State v. Phillips Pipe Line Co., No. 34757.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 2 Octubre 1936
    ...U. Telegraph Co. v. Kansas, 216 U.S. 1, 54 L. Ed. 355; Pullman Co. v. Kansas, 216 U.S. 56, 54 L. Ed. 378; Meyer v. Wells, F. & Co., 223 U.S. 298, 56 L. Ed. 445; Crenshaw v. Arkansas, 227 U.S. 389, 57 L. Ed. 565; Simpson v. Shepard, 230 U.S. 352, 57 L. Ed. 1511; Lemke v. Farmers' Grain Co. o......
  • Williams v. State, Nos. 88-309
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 9 Noviembre 1990
    ...of State] had no right, as he had not, to collect the money, his doing so in the name of the State cannot protect him." 223 U.S. at 287, 32 S.Ct. at 218. Atchison previews the Court's recent decision in McKesson Corp. v. Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco, 496 U.S. ----, ----, 110 S.......
  • S.S. White Dental Mfg. Co. v. Commonwealth
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • 24 Mayo 1912
    ...added Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fé Ry. Co. v. O'Connor, 223 U. S. 280, 32 Sup. Ct. 216, 56 L. Ed. 436, and Oklahoma v. Wells Fargo & Co., 223 U. S. 298, 32 Sup. Ct. 218, 56 L. Ed. 628, decided since the argument. The principle established by these decisions is that the court, looking through......
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