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ESSO STANDARD OIL CO. V. EVANS, 345 U. S. 495 (1953)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Esso Standard Oil Co. v. Evans, 345 U.S. 495 (1953)

Esso Standard Oil Co. v. Evans

No. 330

Argued March 10, 1953

Decided May 4, 1953*

345 U.S. 495


Appellant, a private corporation, entered into a contract with the Federal Government, under which, for a fee, appellant stored government-owned gasoline in tanks in Tennessee owned by appellant or leased by appellant from another private corporation. The Government agreed to assume liability for all state taxes. Tennessee levied on appellant a "special privilege tax" of six cents per gallon "for engaging in and carrying on such business" in the State.

Held: Sovereign immunity does not prohibit this tax. Pp. 345 U. S. 496-501.

(a) United States v. Allegheny County, 322 U. S. 174, distinguished. Pp. 345 U. S. 498-499.

(b) The Constitution does not extend sovereign exemption from state taxation to corporations or individuals, contracting with the United States, merely because their activities are useful to the Government or because the tax would burden the Government financially. P. 345 U. S. 500.

(c) Tennessee has not discriminated against the Federal Government by denying immunity in this case after recognizing the immunity of a public body from the same tax in Tennessee Oil Co. v. McCanless, 178 Tenn. 683, 157 S.W.2d 267, where the facts were different. Pp. 345 U. S. 500-501.

194 Tenn. 377, 250 S.W.2d 659, affirmed.

The Supreme Court of Tennessee sustained the validity of a tax levied on appellant under 2 Williams Tenn.Code §§ 1126-1147, for the privilege of storing government-owned gasoline in the State for the Government. 194 Tenn. 377, 250 S.W.2d 659. On appeal, to this Court, affirmed, p. 345 U. S. 501. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 345 U. S. 496

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