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U.S. Supreme Court

Concordia Fire Insurance Co. v. Illinois, 292 U.S. 535 (1934)

Concordia Fire Insurance Co. v. Illinois

No. 12

Argued October 11, 12, 1933

Decided June 4, 1934

292 U.S. 535


1. A state statute may be valid when given a particular application and invalid when given another. P. 292 U. S. 545.

2. Under an Illinois statute taxing net receipts of foreign fire, marine and inland navigation insurance companies at the same rate as all other personal property, the net receipts were assessed at full value, chanrobles.com-red

Page 292 U. S. 536

whereas personal property in general was systematically assessed at 60% of its value, with the result that the tax on the insurance companies was disproportionately high. Held that the discrimination was a denial of equal protection of the laws. P. 292 U. S. 545.

3. Upon a review of a judgment recovered by a state in a suit to collect a tax on net receipts of a foreign fire insurance company, held that the company was in no position to attack the assessment upon the ground that failure to deduct insurance losses in making it resulted in unconstitutional discrimination, it appearing that it did not claim the right to such deduction in the proceeding before the assessors, and was precluded by the state law from claiming it for the first time in defense of the suit. P. 292 U. S. 546.

4. Substantial equality and fair equivalence are important factors in determining the presence or absence of arbitrary discrimination in state taxation. Mathematical equivalence is neither required nor attainable; nor is identity in mere modes of taxation of importance where there is substantial equality in the resulting burdens. P. 292 U. S. 547.

5. A foreign corporation complaining of a tax on its net receipts upon the ground that no such tax is imposed upon competing domestic corporations is under the burden of showing that the latter are not subjected to other forms of taxation, not applied to foreign corporations, and which are the substantial equivalent of the tax in question. P. 292 U. S. 546.

6. Two classes of foreign corporations, those engaged in fire, marine, inland navigation, and casualty insurance and those engaged in casualty insurance alone, do business in Illinois by license of the state. The second class conduct the same character of casualty insurance business as the first class, and these businesses are competitive. Both classes are taxed on their local tangible property, but the former class are subjected in addition to a property tax on net receipts, including the receipts from their casualty business -- a tax which the latter class are not required to pay. Held that the discrimination is arbitrary and unconstitutional. P. 292 U. S. 548.

350 Ill. 365, 183 N.E. 241, reversed in part.

Appeal from a judgment recovered by the state in an action of debt, to collect taxes. chanrobles.com-red

Page 292 U. S. 537


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