Monamotor Oil Co. v. Johnson,
292 U.S. 86 (1934)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Monamotor Oil Co. v. Johnson, 292 U.S. 86 (1934)

Monamotor Oil Co. v. Johnson

No. 555

Argued March 7, 8, 1934

Decided April 2, 1934

292 U.S. 86


1.Laws of Iowa, 42 General Assembly, c. 103, § 1, imposing an additional tax per gallon on motor vehicle fuel imported and used

Page 292 U. S. 87

within the State, held consistent with provisions of the Iowa Constitution respecting title and substance of taxing laws. P. 292 U. S. 93.

2. A State may impose a tax on the local use of gasoline imported from without and collect it by requiring the importing distributor to report the amounts of his importations, account to the State for the corresponding taxes, as collecting agent of the State, and pass on the tax burden to consumers by adding it to the selling price. P. 292 U. S. 93.

3. No unlawful burden on interstate commerce results from the circumstance that, in the application of this method of collection, the distributor may make preliminary payments in respect of imported gasoline which he intends at the time to export, or which he may afterwards in fact export, from the State, where, as in this case, he is entitled to a refund of such payments. P. 292 U. S. 94.

4. The Iowa statute here involved obviously was not intended to reach transactions in interstate commerce, but to tax the use of motor fuel after it had come to rest in Iowa, and the requirement that the distributor as the shipper into Iowa shall, as agent of the State, report and pay the tax on the gasoline thus coming into the State for use by others on whom the tax falls, imposes no unconstitutional burden either upon interstate commerce or upon the distributor. P. 292 U. S. 95.

5. A distributor of gasoline, in being required to prepay to the State the taxes that are ultimately to be passed on to and paid by those who buy the gasoline for local consumption as motor vehicle fuel, is not himself taxed, but is merely made a collecting agency, and has no ground for alleging that he is deprived of equal protection of the laws by a statutory provision under which the tax, when paid on gasoline consumed for other uses, not taxed, is refunded to the consumer by the State. P. 292 U. S. 95.

6. Code of Iowa, c. 241-B1, 4755-b38, laying an additional tax on all motor fuel imported and used within the State, applies to gasoline manufactured within the State, as well as to that which is imported. P. 292 U. S. 96.

7. One who has not sustained and is not threatened with injury from a statute cannot complain of an alleged discrimination arising from it. P. 292 U. S. 96.

8. Revocation without notice or hearing of a license to distribute gasoline, required by the Iowa law, held not a taking of property, in the absence of any penalty for doing business unlicensed and of any threat of other injury to the licensee. P. 292 U. S. 97.

Page 292 U. S. 88

9. In a suit to restrain State officers from enforcing a taxing statute, a federal court has no jurisdiction to enjoin the prosecution of a prior action in a state court for collection of taxes under such statute. Jud.Code, § 265. P. 292 U. S. 97.

3 F.Supp. 189 affirmed.

Appeal from a decree of the District Court, of three judges, dismissing a bill seeking to restrain the Treasurer, Attorney General, and other officials of the State of Iowa. Questions under the State and Federal Constitutions were involved, and diverse citizenship was alleged.

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