The Collector v. Day
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78 U.S. 113 (1870)
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U.S. Supreme Court
The Collector v. Day, 78 U.S. 11 Wall. 113 113 (1870)
The Collector v. Day
78 U.S. (11 Wall.) 113
It is not competent for Congress, under the Constitution of the United States, to impose a tax upon the salary of a judicial officer of a state.
The Constitution of the United States ordains that
"Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States, but all duties, imposts, and excises, shall be uniform throughout the United States."
And an amendment to it, that
"The powers not delegated to the United States are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
With these provisions in force as fundamental law, Congress by certain statutes passed in 1864, '5, '6, and '7, [Footnote 1] enacted that
"There shall be levied, collected, and paid annually upon the gains, profits, and income of every person residing in the United States, . . . whether derived from any kind of property, rents, interest, dividends, or salaries, or from any profession, trade, employment or vocation, carried on in the United States or elsewhere, or from any other source whatever, a tax of 5 percentum on the amount so derived, over $1,000."
Under these statutes, one Buffington, collector of the internal revenue of the United States for the district, assessed the sum of $61.50 upon the salary, in the years 1866 and 1867, of J. M. Day as Judge of the Court of Probate and
Insolvency for the County of Barnstable, state of Massachusetts. The salary was fixed by law, and payable out of the Treasury of the state. Day paid the tax under protest, and brought the action below to recover it.
The case was submitted to the court below on an agreed statement of facts, upon which judgment was rendered for the plaintiff. The defendant brought the case here for review, the question being, of course, whether the United States can lawfully impose a tax upon the income of an individual derived from a salary paid him by a state as a judicial officer of that state.