Home Ins. & Trust Co. v. Tennessee
161 U.S. 198 (1896)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Home Ins. & Trust Co. v. Tennessee, 161 U.S. 198 (1896)

Home Insurance and Trust Company v.

Syllabus

The charter of the Memphis Life and General Insurance Company contained a provision "that there shall be a state tax of one half of one per cent upon the amount of the capital actually paid in." The charter of the Home Insurance and Trust Company authorized that company to

"organize

Page 161 U. S. 199

with all the forms, officers, terms, powers, rights, reservations. restrictions, and liabilities given to and imposed upon the Memphis Life and General Insurance Company."

Held that the Home Company was not subject to the provision respecting taxation in the charter of the Memphis Life Company.

The plaintiff below sought by this bill to recover certain taxes against the Home Insurance Company or its shareholders under the general revenue laws of the state at a greater rate than the plaintiffs in error claimed they are liable to pay. This case was also tried on an agreed statement of facts, by which it appears that on the 29th day of February, 1856, the Legislature of Tennessee passed an act incorporating the Home Insurance Company. On March 20, 1858, the legislature passed an act the fourteenth section of which provides:

"That the name of the Home Insurance Company of Memphis be changed to that of the Home Insurance & Trust Company, and said company may organize with all the forms, officers, terms, powers, rights, reservations, restrictions, and liabilities given to and imposed upon the Memphis Life & General Insurance Company, provided nothing herein contained shall in any wise be construed to release said company from any existing liability."

The present company organized under this charter. The Memphis Life & General Insurance Company, referred to in the above section, was chartered March 2, 1854, the thirtieth section of which reads: "That there shall be a state tax of one-half of one percent upon the amount of the capital actually paid in." It is conceded that the Home Insurance Company has regularly paid this tax. The Supreme Court of Tennessee held that the shares of stock, the capital stock, the surplus, and franchises of the company were subject to taxation, and that the exemption from taxation claimed by it and its shareholders was not well founded. The court rendered a decree against the company under the stipulation, by which the company assumed the liability of its shareholders for taxes against them, from which decree plaintiffs in error have prosecuted this writ of error.

Page 161 U. S. 200

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