Hodge v. Muscatine County
196 U.S. 276 (1905)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hodge v. Muscatine County, 196 U.S. 276 (1905)

Hodge v. Muscatine County, Iowa

No. 160

Argued December 9, 12, 1904

Decided January 16, 1905

196 U.S. 276

Syllabus

If the taxpayer be given an opportunity to test the validity of a tax at any time before it is made final, either before a board having quasi-judicial character or a tribunal provided by the state for that purpose, due process is not denied, and if he does not avail himself of the opportunity to present his defense to such board or tribunal, it is not for this Court to determine whether such defense is valid.

A state may reserve to itself the right to tax or prohibit the sale of cigarettes, and while this Court is not bound by the construction given to a statute by the highest court of the state as to whether a tax is or is not a license to sell it will accept it unless clearly of the opinion that it is wrong.

Section 5007, Iowa Code, imposing a tax against every person and upon the real property and the owner thereof whereon cigarettes are sold does not give a license to sell cigarettes, nor is it invalid as depriving the owner of the property of his property without due process of law because it does not provide for giving him notice of the tax, §§ 2441, 2442, Iowa Code, providing for review with power to remit by the board of supervisors.

Whether or not a state statute violates the state constitution in not stating distinctly the tax and the object to which it is to be applied is a local and not a federal question.

A tax to carry on a business may be made a lien on the property whereon the business is carried, and the owner is presumed to know the business there carried on and to have let the property with knowledge that it might be encumbered by a tax on such business.

This was a petition in the district court by the owner and tenant of certain real estate in Muscatine, used for a tobacconist's shop, to enjoin the defendants from assessing, and collecting a tax of $240 upon the ground of the unconstitutionality of the law.

Demurrers were interposed to the petition and to certain amendments thereto, which were sustained, the bill dismissed, and an appeal taken to the Supreme Court of Iowa, which affirmed the judgment of the court below. 121 Ia. 482.

Page 196 U. S. 277

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