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U.S. Supreme Court

Provident Savings Life Assur. Soc'y v. Kentucky, 239 U.S. 103 (1915)

Provident Savings Life Assurance Society v. Kentucky

No. 328

Argued October 20, 21, 1915

Decided November 15, 1915

239 U.S. 103


The state court, having placed its decision sustaining a tax on the ground that the corporation taxed was doing business within the state, and hence liable under the statute taxing corporations carrying on business, this Court need only consider the question of whether the company was so transacting business as to render it subject to the taxing power of the state, and need not consider whether another statute under which the tax might have been levied was unconstitutional as impairing the obligation of the legislative contract under which the corporation entered the state.

Whether acts done by a corporation at the time to which a tax relates are of such a nature as to subject it to the local authority on the ground that such acts can only be done with the permission of the state is a federal question, and this Court has authority to review the decision of the state court in that respect.

The principle that taxation without jurisdiction violates the due chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 239 U. S. 104

process provision of the Fourteenth Amendment applies to the assertion of authority on the part of the state to exact a license tax for the privilege of doing acts beyond the sphere of local control.

The continuance of insurance contracts on the lives of residents of the state already written by the company does not depend upon the consent of the State, nor has a state the power to treat the mere continuance of the obligations of existing policies of insurance held by residents as the transaction of local business justifying the imposition of a privilege tax in the absence of actual conduct of business within the limits of the state. Equitable Life Assurance Society v. Pennsylvania, 238 U. S. 143, distinguished.

The imposition of taxes on premiums collected on policies on residents of Kentucky in pursuance of the statutes of that state after the company has ceased to do business therein held in this case to be an unconstitutional exercise of power under the due process provision of the Fourteenth Amendment.

160 Ky. 16 reversed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality of a statute of Kentucky taxing insurance companies on premiums paid outside the state on policies on lives of residents of the state and the determination of what constitutes doing business within the state by an insurance company, are stated in the opinion. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 239 U. S. 106

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