CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF COLORADO.
Vinson, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Jackson, Burton, Clark, Minton
MR. JUSTICE REED delivered the opinion of the Court.
The facts here are simple and undisputed. Petitioner is a commissioned officer of the United States Air Force. He was assigned to duty at Lowry Field, near Denver, Colorado, in 1948 and, throughout that year, resided in
a privately rented apartment in that city. Respondent, acting Manager of Revenue and ex-officio Treasurer and Assessor of the City and County of Denver, assessed a tax of $23.51 on his personal property, mostly household goods in the apartment, which he valued at $460, by virtue of 4A Colorado Statutes Annotated (1935 ed.), c. 142.*fn1 Petitioner paid the tax under protest, and sued to recover. His complaint pleaded as a fact that he, "during the whole of the calendar year 1948, and for many years prior thereto, was, and at the present time is, a citizen and a resident of the State of Louisiana, domiciled in the Town of Port Allen, in the Parish of West Baton Rouge, in the State of Louisiana, and remains a domiciliary of that town, parish, and state, and a citizen and resident of said state, in which during all of the period of time pertinent hereto the plaintiff was and is a qualified voter." He claimed that § 514 of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, 54 Stat. 1186, as amended, 56 Stat. 777, 58 Stat. 722, 50 U. S. C. App. §§ 501, 574, therefore forbade imposition of the Colorado tax. Respondent moved to dismiss, argument was had and the trial court entered judgment for petitioner. The Colorado Supreme Court, on appeal, reversed. Cass v. Dameron, 125 Colo. 477, 244 P. 2d 1082. It held that the purpose of the statute was to prevent multiple taxation of military personnel, but that since Louisiana had not taxed petitioner's personal property, Colorado was free to do so. Our grant of certiorari rested on 28 U. S. C. § 1257 (3). 344 U.S. 891.
Section 514 of the Act was added, in large part, in 1942. It then provided essentially that:
"For the purposes of taxation in respect of any person, or of his property, income, or gross income, by any State, Territory, possession, or political subdivision of any of the foregoing, or by the District of Columbia, such person shall not be deemed to have lost a residence or domicile in any State, Territory, possession, or political subdivision of any of the foregoing, or in the District of Columbia, solely by reason of being absent therefrom in compliance with military or naval orders, or to have acquired a residence or domicile in, or to have become resident in or a resident of, any other State, Territory, possession, or political subdivision of any of the foregoing, or the District of Columbia, while, and solely by reason of being, so absent."
The 1944 Amendment thereto, which is crucial here, first concerned personal property taxes. It stated:
"personal property shall not be deemed to be located or present in or to have a situs for taxation in such State, Territory, possession, or political subdivision, or district."
It also interpolated "personal" in the second line of § 514 (1). 58 Stat. 722.
Respondent's argument that the statute in this form cannot affect Colorado's attempt to tax petitioner is two-fold -- either it ...