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Society for Savings v. Bowers, 349 U.S. 143 (1955)

Society for Savings v. Bowers

Argued March 28, 1955

Decided May 16, 1955*

349 U.S. 143


Ohio assessed a property tax against a mutual savings bank and a federal savings and loan association in their own names. The tax was measured by the amount of each bank's capital, surplus or reserve and undivided profits, without deduction of the value of obligations of the Federal Government owned by it. Neither bank had any capital stock or shareholders, each was owned by its depositors, and there was no provision for reimbursement of the bank by its depositors for the tax.

Held: the tax is void as a tax upon obligations of the Federal Government. Pp. 349 U. S. 144-155.

(a) In determining the validity of the tax under federal law, this Court is not bound by the conclusion of the Supreme Court of Ohio that the tax is imposed on the depositors, rather than on the banks. P. 349 U. S. 151.

(b) In the circumstances of this case, the tax must be regarded for federal purposes as one imposed on the banks, rather than on the depositors. Pp. 349 U. S. 151-154.

(c) Without provisions protecting the banks against the burdens of the tax, it cannot be assumed that the operation of the tax statute will not infringe on the immunity of the federal obligations held by them. P. 349 U. S. 154.

161 Ohio St. 122, 118 N. E. 2d 651, and 161 Ohio St. 149, 118 N.E 2d 667, reversed.

Page 349 U. S. 144

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