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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. County of Allegheny, 322 U.S. 174 (1944)

United States v. County of Allegheny

No. 417

Argued March 1, 1944

Decided May 1, 1944

322 U.S. 174


Pursuant to a contract with the United States for the production of ordnance, a contractor installed machinery in his mill. In the assessment of the mill for state taxes, the value of the machinery was included.


1. Whether the machinery was property of the United States was a federal question. P. 322 U. S. 182.

2. Title to the machinery was in the United States. P. 322 U. S. 183.

3. The state tax law, so far as it purports to authorize taxation of the property interests of the United States in the machinery in the contractor's plant, or to use that interest to tax or to enhance the tax upon the Government's bailee, violates the Federal Constitution. P. 322 U. S. 192.

4. The claim in this case that immunity from state taxation was waived is unsupported. P. 322 U. S. 189.

(a) A provision of the contract requiring the contractor to abide by the "applicable" state law was inadequate to waive federal immunity. P. 322 U. S. 189.

(b) A provision of the contract whereby the Government was obligated to pay certain taxes of the contractor did not operate to waive immunity. P. 322 U. S. 189. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 322 U. S. 175

5. The invalidity of the tax was not dependent upon where it economic burden fell. P. 322 U. S. 189.

6. Local government may not impose either compensatory or retaliatory taxes on property interests of the Federal Government. P. 322 U. S. 190.

7. The contractor, upon whom the tax was laid, and the Government, as intervenor, having made timely insistence in the proceeding below that the state tax law as applied violated the Federal Constitution, and the highest court of the State having rendered final judgment against the claim of federal right, this Court has jurisdiction on appeal. Jud.Code § 237(a). P. 322 U. S. 191.

347 Pa.191, 32 A.2d 236, reversed.

Appeal from the reversal of a judgment which held a state tax invalid under the Federal Constitution.

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