Commercial Domicile

Commercial Domicile – In order to constitute “commercial domicile” where intangible property is taxable other than at owner’s domicile, possession and control of such intangible property must be localized in some independent business or investment away from owner’s domicile so that its substantial use and value primarily attach to and become an asset of the outside business. 68 O.S.1941, §§ 1501, 1504. In re Harris, Upham & Co., 148 P.2d 191, 194 Okl. 155.

Where corporation has only a paper domicile, the state where the greatest portion of corporation’s control exists is its “commercial domicile”. Southern Pac. Co. v. McColgan, 156 P.2d 81, 100, 68 Cal.App.2d 48.

Where railroad company, incorporated in Kentucky, was not authorized to do business in Kentucky, but did its business in California and six other states, and over 50 per cent. of its transportation business was done in California, company had its “commercial domicile” in California. Southern Pac. Co. v. McColgan, 156 P.2d 81, 100, 68 Cal.App.2d 48.

Where a corporation organized under the laws of one state transacts no business therein and establishes its principal office in another state where the corporation manages and directs its business, it acquires a “commercial domicile” there. Cargill, Inc., v. Spaeth, 10 N.W.2d 728, 733, 215 Minn. 540.

Delaware corporation, which had its principal office and manufacturing facilities in Michigan where it kept its books and records and held officers’ and directors’ meetings, had a “business situs” as to its intangibles and also a “commercial domicile” in Michigan for purposes of determining its liability for Michigan privilege fees. Udylite Corp. v. Michigan Corp. & Securities Commission, 29 N.W.2d 132, 136, 319 Mich. 1.

Where steamship company, which was incorporated in Indiana, and which operated steamships on the Great Lakes between ports in New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota and Canada, had its executive offices in Michigan where all its officers and all but one of its directors resided, and steamships, on their regularly scheduled routes, did not enter any port in Indiana, company had its “commercial domicile” in Michigan, and was subject to privilege fee in Michigan. Chicago, Duluth & Georgian Bay Transit Co. v. Michigan Corp. & Securities Commission, 29 N.W.2d 303, 306, 319 Mich. 14.

A nonstock co-operative membership corporation incorporated under Maryland laws and comprising some 1,150 dairy farmers as members, by carrying on commercial transactions in the District of Columbia, established its “commercial domicile” in the District and was “engaged in business” in the District and was thus subject to intangible personal property tax there, even though its “legal residence” was in Maryland. Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Ass’n v. District of Columbia, 119 F.2d 787, 790, 73 App.D.C. 399.

Where Delaware corporation purchased natural gas in Louisiana and transported it through its pipeline to points in Tennessee where it delivered the gas into pipelines of two distributing companies who distributed the gas to consumers, corporation was licensed to do business in Tennessee, and maintained a statutory office in Delaware and a stock transfer office in New York but conducted no business at either, and managed its business from its office in Tennessee, where it kept accounts, provided for payroll of employees on its line in Tennessee and other states and sent out bills for gas delivered in Tennessee and other states, the corporation established a “commercial domicile” in Tennessee by virtue of which corporation was subject to taxation there upon its intangibles, unless such taxation infringed the commerce clause. Memphis Natural Gas Co. v. Beeler, Tenn., 62 S.Ct. 857, 860, 315 U.S. 649, 86 L.Ed. 1090.

A commercial domicile is a domicile which is acquired by the maintenance of a commercial establishment. The residence of the person holding such domicile is immaterial to its existence. U.S. v. Chin Quong Look, 52 F. 203, 204.

“Commercial domicile” is the domicile which the citizen of a foreign country may acquire by the conduct of a business in a different country. “By general international law, foreigners who have become domiciled in a country other than their own acquire rights and must discharge duties in many respects the same as possessed by and imposed upon the citizens of that country, and no restriction on the footing on which such person stands by reason of his domicile of choice or commercial domicile is to be presumed.” Lau Ow Bew v. U. S., 12 S.Ct. 517, 521, 144 U.S. 47, 36 L.Ed. 340.

Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, Vol. 7A, 1952, pp. 530-531.


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