State v. Alt

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtGantt
Citation123 S.W. 882
PartiesSTATE ex rel. CARLETON DRY GOODS CO. et al. v. ALT, License Collector.
Decision Date29 November 1909
123 S.W. 882
STATE ex rel. CARLETON DRY GOODS CO. et al.
v.
ALT, License Collector.
Supreme Court of Missouri.
November 29, 1909.
Rehearing Denied December 21, 1909.

1. LICENSES (§ 1) — NATURE OF TAX.

The taxation of merchants and manufacturers, though nominally and in form a license tax, is in fact a property tax, and not merely an occupation or license tax, and the merchant's statement furnishes a basis alike for state, county, and municipal taxation.

2. LICENSES (§ 30) — LEVY OR ASSESSMENT.

Where the state or a city by authority of the state imposes a license tax, it fixes the amount, and there is no assessment, or any necessity for notice or a hearing thereon.

3. TAXATION (§ 301) — ASSESSMENT OF MERCHANDISE — MODE OF ASSESSMENT.

In this state merchandise is not listed for taxation as other personal property, but instead the merchant is required to apply for a license to trade as such, and he is required to pay an ad valorem tax, equal to that which is levied on real estate, on the highest amount of goods and merchandise which he may have in his possession at any time between the first Monday of March and the first Monday in June, and it is the amount furnished by his sworn statement that forms the basis on which the various state, county, school, and municipal taxes are levied.

4. TAXATION (§ 468) — REVIEW OF TAXPAYERS' RETURNS — POWER OF LICENSE BOARD.

St. Louis City Charter, art. 5, § 24 (Ann. St. 1906, p. 4842), provides for a board of equalization, whose duty is to correct and equalize the valuation of property for taxation. Laws 1895, p. 223, provides for a merchant's license tax, which is an ad valorem tax, to take the place of all other modes of the taxation of merchandise for state, county, and municipal

[123 S.W. 883]

purposes, and this provision applies to the city of St. Louis, but that city is excepted by section 9130, Rev. St. 1899 (Ann. St. 1906, p. 4205), from the provisions of section 8546 (page 4016) for a county board of equalization of the value of merchants' stocks. Held, that the board of license revision created by St. Louis city ordinance to "determine as far as possible whether all persons have been listed, who are required to have the license or pay a license tax and whether all persons have made correct returns," etc., have no power either to increase or reduce the valuations placed on merchants' stocks in their sworn statements to the license collector.

In banc. Original applications in the name of the State, on the relation of the Carleton Dry Goods Company and others, for mandamus to Louis Alt, License Collector of the City of St. Louis. Writs granted.

Nagel & Kirby and Judson & Green, for relators. L. E. Walther, City Counselor, for respondent.

GANTT, J.


These are original proceedings in mandamus to compel the respondent, license collector of the city of St. Louis, to issue to the relators merchants' licenses. The cases all involve the same questions, and the pleadings are identical, except as to the amount of taxes and the dates.

In substance, the petitions alleged that relators are merchants engaged in business in the city of St. Louis, and the respondent is license collector of said city, and is charged under the law with the duty of issuing licenses to merchants in the city of St. Louis, and of collecting taxes levied by the state, the board of education, and the said city on such licenses. That on or about the 1st day of June, 1909, the respondent, under the ordinance of the city of St. Louis, called upon each of said relators to furnish the statement of the value of the largest amount of goods, wares, and merchandise which it had in its possession or under its control at any time between the first Monday of March and the first Monday of June, 1909, and a statement of the aggregate amount of sales made by it during the year next preceding the first Monday of June, 1909. That in addition to the state tax and the tax for the support of the public schools in said city, there was also levied for city purposes an ad valorem tax of one-fifth of 1 per cent. on the valuation of such goods, wares, and merchandise situated in the city of St. Louis. That relators thereupon each prepared and filed a statement of said largest amount of goods, wares, and merchandise which it had under its control and in its possession between the dates aforesaid, and the total amount of sales made during the year preceding the first Monday of June, 1909, said amounts so returned by relators being, respectively, as follows: "Carleton Dry Goods Company, valuation $766,788.00, total sales $7,365,012.00; Rice-Stix Dry Goods Company, valuation $1,021,314.00, total sales $11,781,630.00; Hargadine-McKittrick Dry Goods Company, valuation $679,749.95, total sales $7,514,698.00; Ely & Walker Dry Goods Company, valuation $1,133,845.00, total sales $10,676,080.00." That the said amounts were duly sworn to and signed and delivered to the respondent. That upon the said valuation of the stock there was levied, under the law, a state ad valorem tax of 17 cents on the dollar for state purposes, an ad valorem tax of 60 cents for school purposes, and 20 cents ad valorem for municipal purposes, making a total of 97 cents, which amount of taxes the license collector is chargeable by law with the duty of collecting. That the said taxes for state, school, and city purposes, upon the said valuation and the tax of $1 per thousand upon the aggregate sales levied under ordinances of the said city for city purposes, amounted, upon the returns so made by said relators, as follows: "Carleton Dry Goods Company, on stock $7,437.84, on sales $7,356.01; or a total of $14,802.85; Rice-Stix Dry Goods Company, on stock $9,906.75, on sales $11,781.63, or a total of $21,688.38; Hargadine-McKittrick Dry Goods Company, on stock $7,292.48, on sales $7,514.70, or a total of $14,807.18; Ely & Walker Dry Goods Company, on stock $10,998.29, on sales $10,676.08, or a total of $21,674.37." That under the statutes of the state and the ordinances of the city it was made the duty of the license collector on the payment of the said amounts to issue to relators, respectively, licenses in due form of law as prescribed in the statutes and ordinances, authorizing relators to sell goods, wares, and merchandise in one store, stand, or place of business in the city of St. Louis for the year following the first Monday of July, 1909; that each relator, on the first Monday of July, 1909, tendered to the said respondent the said several amounts so due upon their said returns as aforesaid, and that respondent refused to accept the same, and still refuses so to do. That relators then demanded, upon such tender of payment, the issuance to each, respectively, of a license as in such cases made and provided. That said respondent refused and still refuses to issue the said licenses, and threatenes to prosecute relators for doing business without a license in the city of St. Louis. The petitions conclude with an allegation that relators have no adequate remedy at law, and that they are still ready and offer to pay said sums so payable on their respective statements, and pray the issuance of a writ of mandamus commanding and compelling respondent, on the payment of said sums, to issue to relators merchants' licenses in due form of law.

The returns of respondent admit the allegations of the petitions of relators as to their business, the office of respondent; that

123 S.W. 884

on or about the 1st day of June, 1909, he called upon relators to furnish statements of the character described in the petition. That relators did file with him statements showing the respective amounts alleged; that respondent refused to accept the same, and relators then severally demanded the issuance of licenses to them, respectively, which demands were refused. The other allegations of the petitions were denied generally. The returns then set up affirmatively the various provisions of the charter of the city of St. Louis, and of the scheme of separation of said city from the county of St. Louis, whereby the city, through the mayor and municipal assembly, is empowered to assess, levy, and collect all taxes, for general and special purposes, on real and personal property and licenses, to license, tax, and regulate various occupations, including merchants, and to enact all ordinances necessary to carry into execution the laws relating to state, county, city, and other revenue within the city of St. Louis. There are likewise set forth in the returns various provisions of said charter authorizing the municipal assembly, by ordinance, to define the duties of all city officers, to create new offices, and to transfer and distribute the powers and duties, in whole or in part, of any office provided for in the charter to another or others. That by statute it is provided that the council shall, in all things appertaining to the assessing and collecting of the state revenue and licenses within the limits of said city, perform and do all things which, before the separation by the city and county, devolved on the county court of St. Louis county, unless otherwise provided in the scheme and charter of the city, and that whenever the county of St. Louis or the county court of St. Louis county is mentioned in the chapter of the statutes relating to the assessment and collection of the revenue, it shall be taken and understood as applying to the city of...

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7 practice notes
  • Kansas City v. Threshing Machine Co., No. 31452.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 18, 1935
    ...Mo. 270, 139 S.W. 453; State ex inf. v. Mo. Athletic Club, 261 Mo. 576, 170 S.W. 904; State ex rel. Tarleton D.G. Co. v. Alt, 224 Mo. 493, 123 S.W. 882; State ex rel. Wyatt v. Ashbrook, 154 Mo. 375, 55 S.W. 627. (2) The city is restricted by statute which applies to merchants and Section 2 ......
  • Simmons Hardware Co. v. City of St. Louis, No. 18196.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • December 1, 1916
    ...or mode of proceeding, be recovered back." Dillon on Municipal Corporations (5th Ed.) § 1617. In State ex rel. v. Alt, 224 Mo. 493, 123 S. W. 882, we held that neither the board of license revision of the city of St. Louis nor the license collector had power to revise merchants' statements ......
  • State v. Lesser
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 14, 1911
    ...47 S. W. 105, 68 Am. St. Rep. 561; State ex rel. v. Cunningham, 153 Mo. 642, 55 S. W. 249; State ex rel. Carlton v. Alt, 224 Mo. 493, 123 S. W. 882. Section 11,348 requires the assessor to furnish the person to be assessed a printed or written blank, prepared for that purpose, containing a ......
  • Jarman v. School District of Unionville, No. 18420.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • April 1, 1915
    ...the court in banc, in the case of State ex rel. Carleton Dry Goods Co. v. Louis Alt, License Collector, 224 Mo. 493, on pages 506, 507, 123 S. W. 882, on page 885, and following, reviewed to some extent the question under consideration here, but the act of 1897, above mentioned, was not ref......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Kansas City v. Threshing Machine Co., No. 31452.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 18, 1935
    ...Mo. 270, 139 S.W. 453; State ex inf. v. Mo. Athletic Club, 261 Mo. 576, 170 S.W. 904; State ex rel. Tarleton D.G. Co. v. Alt, 224 Mo. 493, 123 S.W. 882; State ex rel. Wyatt v. Ashbrook, 154 Mo. 375, 55 S.W. 627. (2) The city is restricted by statute which applies to merchants and Section 2 ......
  • Simmons Hardware Co. v. City of St. Louis, No. 18196.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • December 1, 1916
    ...or mode of proceeding, be recovered back." Dillon on Municipal Corporations (5th Ed.) § 1617. In State ex rel. v. Alt, 224 Mo. 493, 123 S. W. 882, we held that neither the board of license revision of the city of St. Louis nor the license collector had power to revise merchants' statements ......
  • State v. Lesser
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 14, 1911
    ...47 S. W. 105, 68 Am. St. Rep. 561; State ex rel. v. Cunningham, 153 Mo. 642, 55 S. W. 249; State ex rel. Carlton v. Alt, 224 Mo. 493, 123 S. W. 882. Section 11,348 requires the assessor to furnish the person to be assessed a printed or written blank, prepared for that purpose, containing a ......
  • Jarman v. School District of Unionville, No. 18420.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • April 1, 1915
    ...the court in banc, in the case of State ex rel. Carleton Dry Goods Co. v. Louis Alt, License Collector, 224 Mo. 493, on pages 506, 507, 123 S. W. 882, on page 885, and following, reviewed to some extent the question under consideration here, but the act of 1897, above mentioned, was not ref......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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