Gwin, White & Prince, Inc. v Henneford - 305 U.S. 434 (1939)
U.S. Supreme Court
Gwin, White & Prince, Inc. v Henneford, 305 U.S. 434 (1939)
Gwin, White & Prince, Inc. v Henneford
Argued November 10, 1938
Decided January 3, 1939
305 U.S. 434
A state tax measured by the gross receipts of the taxpayer from his business of marketing fruit shipped from the State to the places of sale in other States and foreign countries, held a burden on interstate and foreign commerce prohibited by the commerce clause of the Constitution. P. 305 U. S. 436.
The business was that of a marketing agent for a federation of fruit growers. The agent, with the aid of numerous representatives without the State, sold the fruit to purchasers in other States and in foreign countries, for prices fixed by the principal, collected and accounted for the proceeds, and was paid at so much per box. The tax, though nominally imposed upon the agent's activities in Washington, is not apportioned to those activities, but is measured, like the compensation taxed, upon the entire interstate commerce service rendered, both within and without the State, and burdens that commerce in direct proportion to its volume. If Washington is free to exact such a tax, other States to which the commerce extends may, with equal right, lay a tax similarly measured for the privilege of conducting within their respective territorial limits the activities there which contribute to the service.
193 Wash. 451, 75 P.2d 1017, reversed.
Appeal from a judgment affirming a judgment dismissing on the merits a bill to enjoin members of the State Tax Commission of Washington from collecting a tax on the "business activities" of the plaintiff appellant.