Pacific Tel. & Tel. Co. v. Seattle
291 U.S. 300 (1934)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Pacific Tel. & Tel. Co. v. Seattle, 291 U.S. 300 (1934)

Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co. v. Seattle

No. 364

Argued January 15, 1934

Decided February 5, 1934

291 U.S. 300

Syllabus

1. A city ordinance imposing a license tax on a telephone company measured on the gross income from its business in the city, and providing penalties for delay in payment, cannot be held violative of due process upon the ground of being too vague and indefinite to enable the taxpayer to compute the amount of its tax where the ordinance does not purport to give the final definition of the taxpayer's obligation, but leaves that to be done by an administrative official through regulations and forms for tax returns, which are not shown to have been prepared, and where the duty to make return and pay any part of the tax cannot arise under the ordinance until such forms are available. P. 291 U. S. 303.

2. The Fourteenth Amendment does not require that legal duties shall be defined by any particular agency of the state government. P. 291 U. S. 303.

3. The demands of due process are satisfied if reasonably clear definition is afforded in time to give the taxpayer an opportunity to comply. P. 291 U. S. 304.

172 Wash. 649, 21 P.2d 721, affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment affirming the dismissal of a suit to restrain the collection of a tax.

Page 291 U. S. 301

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