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U.S. Supreme Court

Cudahy Packing Co. v. Minnesota, 246 U.S. 450 (1918)

Cudahy Packing Co. v. Minnesota

No. 32

Argued April 26, 1917

Decided April 15, 1918

246 U.S. 450


Insofar as the property, tangible and intangible, constituting a freight car line is regularly and habitually used or employed in a state, it is within the taxing power of that state although chiefly devoted or applied to interstate transportation, and may be taxed at its real value as part of a going concern.

In determining whether a state tax is to be viewed as a tax on property measured by earnings or a tax on earnings, the view of the state court and legislature, though not conclusive, will not be rejected by this Court unless ill founded.

Under a law of Minnesota, part of a general system applied to railroads, telephone lines, etc., a company owning freight cars which it furnished to railroads for a fixed compensation per mile of travel and which were employed by the railroads within and without the state in hauling both interstate and intrastate commerce was taxed at a stated percent of its gross earnings from the mileage within the state, in lieu of other taxes on the property so engaged, the tax being treated by the state court and legislature as a property tax, and not being in excess of what would be legitimate as an ordinary tax on such property, tangible and intangible, taken at its real value as part of a going concern. Held that the tax was a property tax, not a tax on gross earnings burdening interstate commerce, and was not distinguishable from the tax sustained in United States Express Co. v. Minnesota, 223 U. S. 335.

Held further that the tax was not to be deemed double or excessive from the fact that the receipts of the railroads from shipments in these cars, less the rental paid to the company, were made a factor in valuing the property on which the railroads were taxed.

129 Minn. 30 affirmed.

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 246 U. S. 451

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