GPO-CONAN-2017-10-15.pdf

455 240 us 635 631 1916 a decision rendered in 1926

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455 240 U.S. 635, 631 (1916). A decision rendered in 1926 which is seemingly in conflict was Wachovia Bank & Trust Co. v. Doughton, 272 U.S. 567 (1926), in which North Carolina was prevented from taxing the exercise of a power of appointment through a will executed therein by a resident, when the property was a trust fund in Massachusetts created by the will of a resident of the latter State. One of the reasons assigned for this result was that by the law of Massachusetts the property involved was treated as passing from the original donor to the appointee. However, this holding was overruled in Graves v. Schmidlapp, 315 U.S. 657 (1942). 456 Levy of an inheritance tax by a nondomiciliary State was also sustained on similar grounds in Wheeler v. New York, 233 U.S. 434 (1914) wherein it was held that the presence of a negotiable instrument was sufficient to confer jurisdiction upon the State seeking to tax its transfer. 1917 AMENDMENT 14—RIGHTS GUARANTEED
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On the other hand, the mere ownership by a foreign corpora- tion of property in a nondomiciliary state was held insufficient to support a tax by that state on the succession to shares of stock in that corporation owned by a nonresident decedent. 457 Also against the trend was Blodgett v. Silberman , 458 in which the Court de- feated collection of a transfer tax by the domiciliary state by treat- ing coins and bank notes deposited by a decedent in a safe deposit box in another state as tangible property. 459 In the course of about two years following the Depression, the Court handed down a group of four decisions that placed the stamp of disapproval upon multiple transfer taxes and—by inference— other multiple taxation of intangibles. 460 The Court found that “prac- tical considerations of wisdom, convenience and justice alike dic- tate the desirability of a uniform rule confining the jurisdiction to impose death transfer taxes as to intangibles to the State of the [owner’s] domicile.” 461 Thus, the Court proceeded to deny the right of nondomiciliary states to tax intangibles, rejecting jurisdictional claims founded upon such bases as control, benefit, protection or situs. During this interval, 1930–1932, multiple transfer taxation of intangibles came to be viewed, not merely as undesirable, but as so arbitrary and unreasonable as to be prohibited by the Due Pro- cess Clause. The Court has expressly overruled only one of these four deci- sions condemning multiple succession taxation of intangibles. In 1939, in Curry v. McCanless , the Court announced a departure from “[t]he doctrine, of recent origin, that the Fourteenth Amendment pre- cludes the taxation of any interest in the same intangible in more than one state . . . . 462 Taking cognizance of the fact that this doc- trine had never been extended to the field of income taxation or consistently applied in the field of property taxation, the Court de- clared that a correct interpretation of constitutional requirements would dictate the following conclusions: “From the beginning of our constitutional system control over the person at the place of his do-
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