United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Kentucky,
231 U.S. 394 (1913)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Kentucky, 231 U.S. 394 (1913)

United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Kentucky

No. 26

Argued April 21, 1913

Decided December 1, 1913

231 U.S. 394


A state may lay an excise or privilege tax on conducting commercial agencies unless it has the effect of directly violating a federal right, such as burdening interstate commerce.

Courts will not interfere with the exercise of the taxing power of a state on the ground that it violates the commerce clause of the federal Constitution unless it appears that the burden is direct and substantial.

The license tax imposed by § 4224, Kentucky Statutes, 1909, on persons or corporations having representatives in the state engaged in the business of inquiring into and reporting upon the credit and standing of persons engaged in business in the state is not unconstitutional as a burden on interstate commerce as applied to a nonresident engaged in publishing and distributing a selected list of guaranteed attorneys throughout the United States and having a representative in that state. In this case, held that the service rendered in furnishing a list of guaranteed attorneys did not, except incidentally and fortuitously, affect interstate commerce, and that it was within the power of the state to subject the business to a license tax. Fickln v. Shelby County,

Page 231 U. S. 395

145 U. S. 1 followed. International Textbook Co. v. Pigg, 217 U. S. 91, distinguished.

13 Ky. 27 affirmed.

The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the commerce clause of the federal Constitution of a license tax imposed by § 4224 of the Kentucky statutes on commercial agencies, as applied to nonresident agencies, are stated in the opinion.

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