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U.S. Supreme Court

Farmers Loan & Trust Co. v. Minnesota, 280 U.S. 204 (1930)

Farmers Loan & Trust Co. v. Minnesota

No. 26

Argued October 30, 1929

Decided January 6, 1930

280 U.S. 204


1. The maxim mobilia sequuntur personam applies to negotiable bonds and certificates of indebtedness issued by a state or her municipality, as to ordinary choses in action, and they have situs for taxation -- in this case, a testamentary transfer tax at the domicile of their owner. P. 280 U. S. 209.

2. When negotiable bonds and certificates of indebtedness issued by a state or her municipality and not used in business in that state are owned at the time of his death by a person domiciled in another state in which they are kept, an attempt of the state in which they were issued to tax their transfer by inheritance is repugnant to the Fourteenth Amendment. Blackstone v. Miller, 188 U. S. 189, overruled. P. 280 U. S. 209.

3. Existing conditions imperatively demand protection of choses in action against multiplied taxation, whether following misapplication of some legal fiction or conflicting theories concerning the sovereign's right to exact contributions. P. 280 U. S. 212.

4. Taxation is an intensely practical matter, and laws in respect of it should be construed and applied with a view of avoiding, so far as possible, unjust and oppressive consequences. Id.

Page 280 U. S. 205

5. The Court can find no sufficient reason for saying that intangible property is not entitled to enjoy an immunity from being taxed at more than one place similar to that accorded to tangible property. P. 280 U. S. 212.

6. This case does not present the question whether choses in action that have acquired a situs for taxation other than at the domicile of their owner through having become integral parts of some local business may be taxed a second time at his domicile. P. 280 U. S. 213.

176 Minn. 634 reversed.

Appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court of Minnesota upholding an inheritance tax. See also 175 Minn. 310; id. 314.

Page 280 U. S. 208

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