Stamp Taxes

A stamp tax imposed on foreign bills of lading,1994 charter parties,1995 or marine insurance policies,1996 was in effect a tax or duty upon exports, and so void; but an act requiring the stamping of all packages of tobacco intended for export in order to prevent fraud was held not to be forbidden as a tax on exports.1997

Footnotes

1994
Fairbank v. United States, 181 U.S. 283 (1901). [Back to text]
1995
United States v. Hvoslef, 237 U.S. 1 (1915). [Back to text]
1996
Thames & Mersey Inc. v. United States, 237 U.S. 19 (1915). In United States v. IBM Corp., 517 U.S. 843 (1996), the Court adhered to Thames & Mersey, and held unconstitutional a federal excise tax upon insurance policies issued by foreign countries as applied to coverage for exported products. The Court admitted that one could question the earlier case’s equating of a tax on the insurance of exported goods with a tax on the goods themselves, but it observed that the government had chosen not to present that argument. Principles of stare decisis thus cautioned observance of the earlier case. Id. at 854–55. The dissenters argued that the issue had been presented and should be decided by overruling the earlier case. Id. at 863 (Justices Kennedy and Ginsburg dissenting). [Back to text]
1997
Pace v. Burgess, 92 U.S. 372 (1876); Turpin v. Burgess, 117 U.S. 504, 505 (1886). [Back to text]