Hatch v. Reardon - 204 U.S. 152 (1907)
U.S. Supreme Court
Hatch v. Reardon, 204 U.S. 152 (1907)
Hatch v. Reardon
Argued December 11, 12, 13, 1906
Decided January 7, 1907
204 U.S. 152
The rule that the general expressions of the Fourteenth Amendment must not be allowed to upset familiar and long established methods is applicable to stamp taxes which are necessarily confined to certain classes of transactions, which, in some points of view are similar to classes that escape.
Whether a tax on transfers of stock is equivalent to a tax on the stock itself depends on the scope of the constitutional provision involved and whatever may be the rights of parties engaged in interstate commerce, a sale depends in part on the laws of the state where made and that state may make the parties pay for the help of its laws.
There must be a fixed mode of ascertaining a stamp tax, and equality in the sense of actual value has to yield to practical considerations and usage.
Although a statute, unconstitutional as to one is void as to all. of a class, the party setting up in this Court the unconstitutionality of a state tax law must belong to the class for whose sake the constitutional protection is given, or the class primarily protected.
The protection of the commerce clause of the federal Constitution is not available to defeat a state stamp tax law on transactions wholly within a state because they affect property without that state, or because one or both of the parties previously came from other states.
The tax of two cents a share imposed on transfers of stock, made within that state, by the tax law of New York of 1905 does not violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as an arbitrary discrimination because only imposed on transfers of stock, or because based on par, and not market, value; nor does it deprive nonresident owners of stock transferring, in New York, shares of stock of nonresident corporations of their property without due process of law; nor is it as to such transfers of stock an interference with interstate commerce.
184 N.Y. 431 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the constitutionality of the stock transfer law of the New York, are stated in the opinion.