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CENTRAL OF GEORGIA RY. CO. V. WRIGHT, 207 U. S. 127 (1907)

U.S. Supreme Court

Central of Georgia Ry. Co. v. Wright, 207 U.S. 127 (1907)

Central of Georgia Railway Company v. Wright

No. 85, 82

Argued October 21, 22, 23, 1907

Decided November 18, 1907

207 U.S. 127


Due process of law requires that opportunity to be heard as to the validity of the tax and the amount of the assessment be given to a taxpayer, who, without fraudulent intent and in the honest belief that it is not taxable, withholds property from tax returns, and this requirement is not satisfied where the taxpayer is allowed to attack the assessment only for fraud and corruption.

Page 207 U. S. 128

The assessment of a tax is action judicial in its nature, requiring for the legal exertion of the power such opportunity to appear as the circumstances of the case require, and this Court, as the ultimate arbiter of rights secured by the federal Constitution, is charged with the duty of determining whether the taxpayer has been afforded due process of law.

The system provided by the Political Code of Georgia, §§ 804, 879, as construed by the highest court of that state, not allowing the taxpayer any opportunity to be heard as to the valuation of property not returned by him and honestly withheld, except as to fraud and corruption, does not afford due process of law, which adjudges upon notice and opportunity to be heard, within the meaning of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

124 Ga. 596, 630, 125 Ga. 589, 617, reversed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 207 U. S. 131

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