ST. LOUIS-S.F. RY. CO. V. MIDDLEKAMP, 256 U. S. 226 (1921)

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U.S. Supreme Court

St. Louis-S.F. Ry. Co. v. Middlekamp, 256 U.S. 226 (1921)

St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company v. Middlekamp

No. 636

Argued March 2, 3, 1921

Decided May 2, 1921

256 U.S. 226


1. The question whether the Missouri law laying on corporations an annual franchise tax of a percentage of their capital stock and surplus employed in the state (Laws 1917, pp. 237-242) lacks

Page 256 U. S. 227

due process in not providing a hearing of right before the commission that assesses the tax is presumably open in the suit provided for collecting the tax, and therefore cannot be relied on in a suit in the district court to restrain collection brought by a corporation which had a hearing and whose valuations were accepted by the commission in making the assessment. P. 256 U. S. 229.

2. Its own figures having been so accepted, the corporation cannot complain that it was taxed disproportionately as compared with other railroads, the commission not having acted fraudulently. P. 256 U. S. 230.

3. The Missouri law, as this Court understands it to have been construed by the supreme court of the state, subjects foreign corporations with stock having no stated par value to the tax; it therefore does not discriminate against domestic corporations whose stock has a stated par value. P. 256 U. S. 230.

4. The tax does not contravene the Commerce Clause, even if the value of the franchise taxed is derived partly from the fact that the corporation does interstate business. P. 256 U. S. 231.

5. Federal control of its railroad during the tax year did not exonerate the plaintiff railroad company from the tax. P. 256 U. S. 231.

6. The act does not violate the constitution of Missouri by imposing double taxation. P. 256 U. S. 231.

7. The "surplus" is the excess in value of the assets in the state (where the corporation employs part of its "capital stock" in business elsewhere) over the capital stock employed in the state. P. 256 U. S. 231.

8. While, in respect of such corporations, the statute, in one clause, describes the tax as measured by the capital stock employed in the state, other connected clauses show the intention to include the surplus so employed as well. P. 256 U. S. 231.


Appeal from a decree of the district court sustaining a franchise tax imposed on a Missouri railroad corporation, which sought to enjoin its collection. The facts are given in the opinion.

Page 256 U. S. 228

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