Salomon v. State Tax Commission,
278 U.S. 484 (1929)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Salomon v. State Tax Commission, 278 U.S. 484 (1929)

Salomon v. State Tax Commission

Nos. 79 and 80

Argued November 28, 1928

Decided February 18, 1929

278 U.S. 484


1. A state law imposing a graduated tax on the transfer of contingent remainders measured by the value at the testator's death of the estate transferred, undiminished by the value of the intervening life estate, and requiring the executor to deposit security for the payment of the tax, but postponing the definitive assessment and the payment of the tax until after the death of the life tenant, held consistent with due process of law. P. 278 U. S. 489.

2. The due process clause places no restriction on a state as to the time at which an inheritance tax shall be levied or the property valued for purposes of such tax. P. 278 U. S. 490.

3. The graduation of the tax and the impossibility of forecasting exactly the duration of life estates may cause a lack of equivalency of tax burden as between a contingent remainder, when taxed as above stated, and a like vested remainder when the tax on the latter is based on its value separate from the intervening life estate and is paid at the testator's death, but such differences do not amount to an unjustifiable discrimination against the contingent remainderman violative of the equal protection clause. Id.

Page 278 U. S. 485

4. There are differences between vested and contingent remainders which justify classification in imposing inheritance taxes. P. 278 U. S. 491.

5. The fact that a state tax is not the best that might be conceived and produces minor inequalities and hardships does not render it invalid under the Constitution. Id.


Error to judgments fixing transfer taxes, entered in the Surrogates' Court of the County of New York, on remittitur from the court of appeals, the latter court having affirmed judgments of the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, which had affirmed the assessments as originally made in the Surrogates' Court. See 127 Misc. 211, 219 App.Div. 56, 246 N.Y. 601, 602.

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