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Iowa-Des Moines National Bank v. Bennett, 284 U.S. 239 (1931)

Iowa-Des Moines National Bank v. Bennett

No. 15

Argued October 19, 20, 1931

Decided December 14, 1931

284 U.S. 239


1. A state tax on the shares of stock of a national bank at rates greater than those applied in exacting payment of domestic corporations in competition with it exceeds the permission of Rev.Stats. § 5219, and is therefore invalid. P. 284 U. S. 244.

2. Intentional, systematic discrimination on the part of a state in exacting taxes on the shares of national and state banks at a higher rate than is applied to domestic corporations in competition with them, violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 284 U. S. 245.

3. Though discrimination in assessing and collecting state taxes be not due to inequality in the state law itself, but to the unauthorized and illegal acts of subordinate taxing officials in applying it, the state is nonetheless chargeable with the discrimination, where it insists upon retaining the higher tax exacted in its name, and is sustained in so doing by its highest court. Barney v. New York City, 193 U. S. 430, distinguished. Pp. 284 U. S. 244-246.

4. A taxpayer who has been subjected to discriminatory state taxation through the favoring of others in violation of his federal right, is entitled to recover the excess paid. He is not required to assume the burden of seeking to have the others' taxes increased; nor need he await such action by the state officials on their own initiative. P. 284 U. S. 247.

___ Iowa ___, 232 N.W. 445, reversed.

Certiorari, 283 U.S. 813, to review judgments sustaining state taxes in mandamus proceedings brought by two banks against county officers to compel refunds.

Page 284 U. S. 240

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