Lincoln Nat'l Life Ins. Co. v. Read
325 U.S. 673 (1945)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Lincoln Nat'l Life Ins. Co. v. Read, 325 U.S. 673 (1945)

Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. v. Read

No. 833

Argued April 24, 25, 1945

Decided June 11, 1945

325 U.S. 673

Syllabus

When appellant, an Indiana life insurance company, first qualified to do business in Oklahoma in 1919, the Oklahoma Constitution provided that no foreign insurance company should be granted a license or be permitted to do business in the State unless it "shall agree to pay all such taxes and fees as may at any time be imposed" by the legislature. Foreign life insurance companies were required to pay annually an "entrance fee" of $200, a 2 percent tax on all premiums collected in the State, and a tax of three dollars on each local agent. A renewal license was obtainable by payment on or before the last day of February of the gross premium tax on all premiums received during the preceding calendar year. A statute of 1941 increased the 2 percent gross premium tax to 4 percent.

Held:

1. Appellant was not denied equal protection of the laws in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, either by the 2 percent or the 4 percent gross premium tax, even though the tax was inapplicable to domestic corporations. Hanover Inc. Co. v. Harding,272 U. S. 494, distinguished. P. 325 U. S. 675.

A State may impose on a foreign corporation for the privilege of doing business within its borders more onerous conditions than it imposes on domestic companies.

2. The equal protection clause does not require that the tax or rate of tax exacted from a foreign corporation be the same as that imposed on domestic corporations. P. 325 U. S. 678.

3. The fact that the State collects the tax at the end of the license year is immaterial; what is controlling is that the tax was levied upon the privilege of entering the State and engaging in business there. P. 325 U. S. 678.

194 Okla. 542, 156 P.2d 368, affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment denying, in part, a recovery of allegedly unconstitutional taxes.

Page 325 U. S. 674

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