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Wheeler v. State of Vermont

249 A.2d 887, 127 Vt. 361 (1969)

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Wheeler v. State of Vermont

Vermont Supreme Court

249 A.2d 887, 127 Vt. 361 (1969)

Facts

Wilfred Wheeler (plaintiff) was a New Hampshire resident who earned income in New Hampshire and Vermont (defendant). In 1966, Wheeler earned approximately $7,715, of which $1,930 came from Vermont. Under Vermont tax law, resident and nonresident taxpayers had to compute their Vermont income taxes the same way, calculating their total gross income minus deductions and then applying Vermont’s progressive income tax to that figure. After applying the progressive income tax, a nonresident taxpayer would deduct the income derived from another state. The result of this scheme was that some nonresident taxpayers who earned the same amount of money in Vermont as resident taxpayers paid a higher amount in Vermont income taxes because their Vermont-derived income was taxed at a higher rate. Wheeler argued that Vermont’s progressive income tax violated the Privileges and Immunities Clause and Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution by discriminating against nonresident taxpayers, and he sought a reduction of his Vermont income-tax liability. The tax commissioner denied Wheeler’s petition, and the trial court affirmed the tax commissioner. Wheeler appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Barney, J.)

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