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U.S. Supreme Court

Atlantic Refining Co. v. Virginia, 302 U.S. 22 (1937)

Atlantic Refining Co. v. Virginia

No. 1

Argued October 21, 22, 1936

Reargued October 11, 1937

Decided November 8, 1937

302 U.S. 22


1. An entrance fee exacted by a State from a foreign corporation for a license to carry on local business is not a tax, but compensation for a privilege, and the validity of the charge is not dependent upon the method by which the amount is determined. P. 302 U. S. 26.

2. There is nothing to show that the entrance fee of $5,000 charged the corporation in this case was more than reasonable compensation for the privilege granted. P. 302 U. S. 27.

3. The amount of authorized capital stock does not represent either property owned or business done by a corporation, and an entrance fee for the privilege of doing local business, measured by the authorized capital stock of a foreign corporation having property situate in many of the States and abroad, used in interstate and foreign commerce, does not necessarily burden such commerce. P. 302 U. S. 28.

4. Such an entrance fee, so measured, held not an arbitrary taking of property beyond the jurisdiction, nor arbitrary in amount. P. 302 U. S. 29.

The value of the privilege is dependent upon the financial resources of the corporation, not only present capital, but also capital to be procured by issuing additional stock. The power inherent in the possession of large financial resources is not dependent upon, or confined to, the place where the assets are located, and the value of the privilege to exert that power is not necessarily measured by the amount of the property located, or by the amount of the local business done, in the State granting the privilege.

5. Virginia statute imposing graded fees on foreign corporations, measured on authorized capital stock, for authority to do business in the State does not operate arbitrarily and unequally between the appellant and other foreign corporations seeking the same privilege within the State. P. 302 U. S. 31.

6. Cudahy Packing Co. v. Hinkle, 278 U. S. 460, and other cases distinguished. P. 302 U. S. 32.

165 Va. 492, 183 S.E. 243, affirmed. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 302 U. S. 23

Appeal from a judgment sustaining, on review, the refusal of the State Corporation Commission of Virginia to refund a sum of money paid, under protest, by the appellant corporation, for a certificate of authority to do local business in the State.

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