Westvaco Corp. v. South Carolina Dept. of Revenue, No. 24341

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation321 S.C. 59,467 S.E.2d 739
PartiesWESTVACO CORPORATION, Appellant, v. SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE (f/k/a South Carolina Tax Commission); The City of North Charleston; Harley Henderson, The Finance Director for The City of North Charleston; and W.O. Thomas, County Treasurer, Charleston County, and The City of Charleston, Respondents. . Heard
Docket NumberNo. 24341
Decision Date22 March 1995

Page 739

467 S.E.2d 739
321 S.C. 59
WESTVACO CORPORATION, Appellant,
v.
SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE (f/k/a South Carolina
Tax Commission); The City of North Charleston; Harley
Henderson, The Finance Director for The City of North
Charleston; and W.O. Thomas, County Treasurer, Charleston
County, and The City of Charleston, Respondents.
No. 24341.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Heard March 22, 1995.
Decided Nov. 6, 1995.
Rehearing Denied March 7, 1996.

[321 S.C. 60] Elizabeth T. Thomas, of Warren & Sinkler, Charleston, and Walter Hellerstein, of Morrison & Foerster, New York City, for Appellant.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Ray N. Stevens and Deputy Attorney General Ronald W. Urban, Columbia, for Respondent S.C. Department of Revenue; Roger M. Young, North Charleston, for Respondents

Page 740

City of North Charleston and Harley Henderson; A. Arthur Rosenblum, Charleston, for Respondents[321 S.C. 61] County of Charleston and W.O. Thomas, County Treasurer; Ann Priest, Summerville, for Respondent City of North Charleston; Frances I. Cantwell, Charleston, for Respondent City of Charleston.

Scott Y. Barnes, of Holmes & Thomson, Charleston, for Amicus Curiae South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

PER CURIAM:

This appeal arises from the trial judge's finding upholding the constitutionality of the Local Option Sales Tax legislation, S.C. Code §§ 4-10-10 to -100. (Supp.1994). We affirm.

FACTS

In 1990, the General Assembly adopted a bill to provide for a Local Option Sales Tax (LOST). The LOST legislation allows counties with referendum approval to charge an additional 1% sales or use tax upon sales. S.C. Code Ann. § 4-10-20 (Supp.1994). The tax is collected and forwarded to the State Treasurer and then redistributed to the counties. The LOST legislation requires a portion of the revenues collected by the counties and municipalities that adopt LOST to be used as a credit to reduce property taxes. 1 The credit against the property tax liability of a taxpayer is determined according to the appraised value of the taxpayer's property. S.C. Code Ann. § 4-10-40(B) (Supp.1994). The County of Charleston adopted LOST in 1990.

Westvaco, a manufacturer of paper products, owns real and [321 S.C. 62] personal property in the County of Charleston and the City of North Charleston. Westvaco filed LOST and property tax returns for 1991 and 1992 and paid these taxes under protest. Thereafter, Westvaco filed this action challenging the allocation of the property tax credit. Westvaco alleged, among other claims, that the LOST legislation violates S.C. Const. art. X, §§ 1 and 6 by effectively altering the uniformity requirements in these sections and that the LOST legislation violates S.C. Const. art. III, § 17. Westvaco conceded the sales tax itself is constitutional but that the tax credit was severable from the sales tax portion of the Act.

The action was heard by the trial judge without a jury. The trial judge found the LOST scheme did not violate the uniformity and equality requirements of S.C. Const. art. X, §§ 1 and 6. The trial judge found the uniformity and equality provisions inapplicable because the property tax credit was a distribution of funds rather than the levying of tax. The trial judge also held the title of the LOST legislation was not constitutionally deficient under S.C. Const. art. III, § 17 because it provided notice of a distribution. Westvaco appeals.

DISCUSSION

Westvaco first contends the trial judge erred in finding the property tax credit in the

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LOST legislation did not violate the uniformity requirements in S.C. Const. art. X, §§ 1 and 6. We disagree.

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23 practice notes
  • State v. Harrison, No. 27228.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2013
    ...unconstitutional unless its repugnance to the constitution is clear beyond a reasonable doubt. Westvaco Corp. v. S.C. Dep't of Revenue, 321 S.C. 59, 62, 467 S.E.2d 739, 741 (1995).LAW/ANALYSIS Appellant argues that the trial court erred in refusing to find that the penalty provision of sect......
  • S.C. Human Affairs Comm'n v. Zeyi Chen, Appellate Case No. 2018-001879
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • July 22, 2020
    ...unless its repugnance to the constitution is clear and beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. (citing Westvaco Corp. v. S.C. Dep't. of Rev., 321 S.C. 59, 467 S.E.2d 739 (1995) ). "A legislative 430 S.C. 529 enactment will be declared unconstitutional only when its invalidity appears so clearly as ......
  • Johnson v. Collins Entertainment Co., Inc., No. 25474.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 28, 2002
    ...79, 535 S.E.2d 918 (2000); State v. Brown, 317 S.C. 55, 451 S.E.2d 888 (1994); see also Westvaco Corp. v. South Carolina Dep't of Revenue, 321 S.C. 59, 467 S.E.2d 739 A. Ambiguity and Vagueness The established test for vagueness is whether the statute provides "fair notice to those to whom ......
  • Martin v. Condon, No. 24518
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 14, 1995
    ...is constitutionally required are not subject to the same analysis we apply here. See Westvaco Corp. v. South Carolina Dept. of Revenue, 321 S.C. 59, 467 S.E.2d 739 (1995) (upholding local option sales tax as REVERSED. FINNEY, C.J., and Carol Connor, Acting Associate Justice, concur. BURNETT......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • State v. Harrison, No. 27228.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 3, 2013
    ...unconstitutional unless its repugnance to the constitution is clear beyond a reasonable doubt. Westvaco Corp. v. S.C. Dep't of Revenue, 321 S.C. 59, 62, 467 S.E.2d 739, 741 (1995).LAW/ANALYSIS Appellant argues that the trial court erred in refusing to find that the penalty provision of sect......
  • S.C. Human Affairs Comm'n v. Zeyi Chen, Appellate Case No. 2018-001879
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • July 22, 2020
    ...unless its repugnance to the constitution is clear and beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. (citing Westvaco Corp. v. S.C. Dep't. of Rev., 321 S.C. 59, 467 S.E.2d 739 (1995) ). "A legislative 430 S.C. 529 enactment will be declared unconstitutional only when its invalidity appears so clearly as ......
  • Johnson v. Collins Entertainment Co., Inc., No. 25474.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • May 28, 2002
    ...79, 535 S.E.2d 918 (2000); State v. Brown, 317 S.C. 55, 451 S.E.2d 888 (1994); see also Westvaco Corp. v. South Carolina Dep't of Revenue, 321 S.C. 59, 467 S.E.2d 739 A. Ambiguity and Vagueness The established test for vagueness is whether the statute provides "fair notice to those to whom ......
  • Martin v. Condon, No. 24518
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • November 14, 1995
    ...is constitutionally required are not subject to the same analysis we apply here. See Westvaco Corp. v. South Carolina Dept. of Revenue, 321 S.C. 59, 467 S.E.2d 739 (1995) (upholding local option sales tax as REVERSED. FINNEY, C.J., and Carol Connor, Acting Associate Justice, concur. BURNETT......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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