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U.S. Supreme Court

Dixie Ohio Express Co. v. State Revenue Comm'n, 306 U.S. 72 (1939)

Dixie Ohio Express Co. v. State Revenue Commission

No. 260

Argued December 16, 1938

Decided January 30, 1939

306 U.S. 72


The Georgia Maintenance Tax Act, as applied to appellant, an Ohio corporation engaged exclusively in interstate commerce as a common carrier of property by motor vehicle for hire, imposes a tax of $50 on each ton-and-a-half motor vehicle, $75 on each two-ton motor vehicle, and $50 on each trailer of 4,000 pounds factory weight. The tax would be the same if the carrier were engaged exclusively in intrastate commerce, or were engaged in interstate and intrastate commerce, but would be less if the vehicles were not used for hire.


1. While a State may not impose a tax on the privilege of engaging in interstate commerce, it may validly impose a fair and reasonable tax upon vehicles as compensation for the use of its highways, even though the vehicles be used exclusively in interstate transportation. P. 306 U. S. 76.

2. To sustain an exaction by the State for the use or privilege of using its highways for interstate transportation, it must affirmatively appear that the charge is for compensation or to pay the cost of policing the highways. P. 306 U. S. 77.

3. The scope and language of the Act clearly disclose that its purpose is to require compensation for the privilege of operating over the roads of the State. P. 306 U. S. 77.

4. The fact that the State, in the conduct of its fiscal affairs, chooses to use part or all of the proceeds of the tax for the improvement of roads other than those over which appellant operates does not render it violative of the commerce clause. P. 306 U. S. 77.

5. The amounts paid by the appellant for license tags, public service tags, and gasoline taxes are without significance in this case. P. 306 U. S. 78.

6. The fact that, in license and fuel taxes, motor vehicles bore over 6 percent of the total taxes collected by the State does not aid in ascertaining the value of appellant's use of, or privilege to use, the State's highways. P. 306 U. S. 78.

7. Figures showing the extent of appellant's use of the States roads may not be taken as an indication of the value of the chanrobles.com-red

Page 306 U. S. 73

privilege where it does not appear whether the privilege was fully availed of. P. 306 U. S. 78.

8. Failure of the appellant to furnish evidentiary details on the issue tends to support the State's claim that the exaction was reasonable compensation for the privilege of use of its roads. P. 306 U. S. 78.

9. The imposition of higher taxes on vehicles used for hire than on those not so used is not an arbitrary classification, and does not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 306 U. S. 78.

186 Ga. 228, 197 S.E. 887, affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment affirming a judgment which sustained a demurrer and dismissed an affidavit challenging the legality of a levy of execution by the state revenue commission.


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