Sunday, December 8, 2013

Walz v. Tax Commission of City of New York case brief

Walz v. Tax Commission of City of New York case brief summary
337 U.S. 664 (1970)

Appellant pipeline company disputed a judgment of the Supreme Court of Mississippi, which sustained the levying, by appellee, the Chairman of the State Tax Commission, under Miss. Code, 1942, Ann., Title 40, c. 3, §§ 10105, 10109 (1948 Cum. Supp.), of a tax measured by gross receipts from the operation of a pipeline wholly within the state. One issue was whether the operation of the pipelines between points in Mississippi was interstate commerce.

The tax was measured by the company's receipts for transporting oil from tanks to railroad loading plaforms, from which the oil was pumped into railroad tank cars for shipment out of state. There was no through bill of lading from the point of origin at the fields to the destination outside the state. The company was paid by the producer at the rate per barrel specified in a tariff the company filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission as required by the Interstate Commerce Act, as amended, 49 U.S.C.S. §§ 1(1), 1(3), 6. The Mississippi Supreme Court rejected the company's contention that imposition of the tax violated theCommerce Clause.

  • On appeal, the court held that, because all the activities upon which the tax was imposed were carried on in Mississippi, there was no due process objection. 
  • Nor did the tax discriminate against interstate commerce in favor of similar competing intrastate commerce. 
  • The nature of the subject of taxation made apportionment unnecessary and there was no attempt to tax interstate activity carried on outside Mississippi's borders. 
  • No other state could repeat the tax. 
  • Therefore, the Commerce Clause did not invalidate the tax.
The court affirmed.

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