Document Type



Having recently weathered one fiscal crisis due to statutory changes in federal law, several states now face the possibility of further revenue loss. For those states which impose a tax on the shares of national bank and other financial institutions' stock, pending constitutional challenges could result in a substantial erosion of the tax base, and de facto elimination of the shares tax. Indeed, one court has significantly impaired the use of bank and other financial institution stock as a state tax source. Other courts have been forced to go to some length to validate their state's shares tax. The primary issue in the viability of shares taxes is whether the value of federal obligations held by financial institutions can be included in the calculation of the shares tax. Final resolution of this issue will lie with the decision of the United States Supreme Court in American Bank and Trust Co. v. Dallas County.

This article will examine state shares taxes and the judicial scrutiny which has jeopardized this avenue of taxation. It will also suggest options, including alternative revenue raising methods, which states might pursue to preserve the continued viability of this tax. Particular emphasis will be placed upon those issues which states will have to face when drafting alternative taxes.


Arthur F. McNulty: Legal Counsel, House Finance Committee, House of Representatives, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, B.A., Temple University (1976); J.D., Drake University (1979).

Publication Date


Included in

Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.