Wiloil Corporation v. Pennsylvania
294 U.S. 169 (1935)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Wiloil Corporation v. Pennsylvania, 294 U.S. 169 (1935)

Wiloil Corporation v. Pennsylvania

No. 439

Argued January 14, 1935

Decided February 4, 1935

294 U.S. 169

APPEAL FROM THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA

Syllabus

1. If goods carried from one State have reached their destination in another and there are held in original packages for sale, the latter State has power to tax them, without discrimination, as it does

Page 294 U. S. 170

other property within its jurisdiction; the tax may be laid on the property itself or upon the sale and delivery of it. P. 294 U. S. 175.

2. A state tax on distributors of gasoline of so much per gallon sold is not repugnant to the commerce clause as applied to a case where the vendor, under local contracts for sale of gasoline in tank car original packages, to be delivered to the purchasers locally on their rail sidings, was at liberty to take it from local or from outside source, and chose to consign it to the purchasers from another State. P. 294 U. S. 174.

3. In such a case, the interstate transportation is merely incidental, and the burden on interstate commerce, if any, is indirect. P. 294 U. S. 175.

316 Pa. 33, 173 A. 404, affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment affirming a recovery by the State in an action to collect a tax. See 37 Dauphin Co.Rep. 63.

Page 294 U. S. 172

MR. JUSTICE BUTLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case, coming before the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County upon the appeal of the company from determinations of state taxing authorities, is an action by the commonwealth against appellant to recover a tax under § 4 of the Liquid Fuels Tax Act of 1931. P.L. 149. By that act, a tax of three cents a gallon is imposed "upon all liquid fuels used or sold and delivered by distributors within this Commonwealth," and distributors are made liable for the payment of the tax. They may add the amount of the tax to the price, and are required on all delivery slips or bills to "state the rate of the tax separately from the price of the liquid fuels." Appellant maintained below, and it insists here, that, construed to impose the tax in question, the statute is repugnant to the commerce clause of the Federal Constitution, Art. I, § 8, cl. 3. The trial court held otherwise, and gave judgment for the amount claimed. The Supreme Court affirmed. 316 Pa. 33, 173 A. 404.

Appellant, a Pennsylvania corporation having its principal place of business in Pittsburgh, sells liquid fuels at wholesale, and is a distributor as defined by the act. The

Page 294 U. S. 173

tax in controversy was laid at three cents per gallon upon the contents of 13 tank cars sold and delivered by it. All were ordered through its agent in Philadelphia for delivery to purchasers at that city or at Essington, Pa. The orders specified a price per gallon "f.o.b. Wilmington, Del., plus 3

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