Comptroller of Maryland v. Wynne

Posted: February 15, 2015 by beguide in case summaries, Commerce Clause, Federalism
Tags: ,

WHAT HAPPENED: The Wynnes are Maryland residents whose business requires them to pay taxes in multiple states. The Comptroller of Maryland is the agency that collects taxes. The Wynnes requested a tax credit in Maryland for the taxes that were paid in other States, and the Comptroller refused, requiring the Wynnes to pay duplicative taxes because of the business conducted outside of the State.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT: The Dormant Commerce Clause is a provision of the Constitution that prevents States from passing laws relating to interstate commerce. The Dormant Commerce Clause serves as the inverse of the Commerce Clause, which preserves the federalist relationship between the Federal and State government. The Wynnes argue that Maryland’s refusal to credit taxes is a violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause because Maryland’s tax statute affects interstate commerce and gives an unfair benefit to citizens who transact business only in Maryland, since those citizens are entitled to pay less taxes.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS DECISION: Presumably, if one State is allowed to refuse tax credits for taxes paid out of State, you would assume that other States would follow suit.

WHAT WAS THE RULING: No decision yet.

YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR WYNNE IF: you pay taxes in any form, but especially if your tax obligations cross state lines.

YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR THE COMPTROLLER IF: you are a front-runner who likes the New York Yankees, Manchester United, Hulk Hogan, and other indestructible monoliths who always win even though they don’t need more victories.

WHO WAS RIGHT: Both Brett and Nazim believed that the Wynnes would win, although they are both probably going to be wrong. Nazim seemed less comfortable with rooting against the government, which is probably a good move by him.

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Comments
  1. […] have failed trying to make income taxes unconstitutional.  Afterward, Brett and Nazim discuss Comptroller of Maryland v. Wynn, in which the Court is asked to determine if a State is required to credit taxes paid to other […]

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