Can Net Income from the Interstate Operations of a Foreign Corporation Be Subjected to State Taxation ?
In Northwestern States Portland Cement Co. v. Minnesota, 358 U.S. 450 (1959), salesmen for an Iowa cement corporation, operating out of a three-room office in Minnesota that was rented by their employer, engaged in a regular and systematic course of solicitation of orders for the sale of the company's products in Minnesota.
The solicited orders were then accepted, filled, and delivered from an out-of-state plant.
The salesmen also dealt with complaints about goods that had been lost or damaged in shipment, forwarding such complaints to the company's out-of-state headquarters.
The Supreme Court rejected Commerce Clause and due process challenges to Minnesota's imposition of an income tax on Northwestern States, concluding that "net income from the interstate operations of a foreign corporation may be subjected to state taxation provided the levy is not discriminatory and is properly apportioned to local activities within the taxing State forming sufficient nexus to support the same." Northwestern States, 358 U.S. at 452.