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In re Opinion of the Justices

557 A.2d 273, 131 N.H. 640, (1989)

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In re Opinion of the Justices

New Hampshire Supreme Court

557 A.2d 273, 131 N.H. 640, (1989)

Facts

New Hampshire had a business-profits tax, Revised Statutes Annotated 77-A, that was imposed on adjusted gross business profits. Reasonable compensation paid by a business to its employees, partners, proprietors, or trustees was fully deductible from the business’s gross profits. In 1989 the New Hampshire House of Representatives (the house) proposed to amend the business-profits tax to limit a business’s compensation deduction to no more than $100,000 for any individual paid by the business, regardless of the reasonableness of the compensation. If one person were paid by multiple businesses, his total compensation would be aggregated for the purpose of the maximum business-profits tax deduction. The house requested an opinion from the justices of the New Hampshire Supreme Court to ensure that the proposed amendment was constitutional under both the New Hampshire constitution and the United States Constitution. The New Hampshire constitution included a uniformity provision, similar to that of many other states’ constitutions, that required all state taxes to be proportionate, reasonable, just, and uniform in rate. The provision further prohibited taxes that impermissibly classified taxpayers or property.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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