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U.S. Supreme Court

Massachusetts v. Western Union Tel. Co., 141 U.S. 40 (1891)

Massachusetts v. Western Union Telegraph Company

Nos. 1126-1131

Argued January 19-20, 1891

Decided May 25, 1891

141 U.S. 40


The tax imposed by the statutes of Massachusetts, (Pub.Stat. c. 13, §§ 40, 42), requiring every telegraph company owning a line of telegraph within the state to pay to the state treasurer "a tax upon its corporate franchise at a valuation thereof equal to the aggregate value of the shares in its capital stock," deducting such portion of that valuation as is proportional to the length of its lines without the state, and deducting also an amount equal to the value of its real estate and machinery subject to local taxation within the state, is in effect a tax upon the corporation on account of property owned and used by it within the state, and is constitutional and valid as applied to a telegraph company incorporated by another state, and which has accepted the rights conferred by Congress by § 5263 of the Revised Statutes.

Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Attorney General of Massachusetts, 125 U. S. 530, followed.

Upon rendering a decree for the plaintiff in a suit in equity brought in behalf of a state, pursuant to statute, to recover the amount of a tax with interest thereon at the rate of twelve percent until paid, a sum tendered and paid into court by the defendant for part of that amount and interest thereon at that rate is to be applied to the payment of both principal and interest of the sum so admitted to be due; interest at the rate of twelve percent is to be computed on the rest of the principal until the date of the decree, and from that date interest on the lawful amount of the decree is to be competed at the ordinary rate of six percent only, notwithstanding the final disposition of the case is delayed by appeal. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 141 U. S. 41

The case is stated in the opinion.

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