SOVEREIGN v. STATE ex rel. READ

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SOVEREIGN v. STATE ex rel. READ
1937 OK 474
72 P.2d 332
181 Okla. 74
Case Number: 27472
Decided: 09/14/1937
Supreme Court of Oklahoma

Sovereign Camp, W. O. W.,
v.
State ex rel. Read

Syllabus by the Court.

¶0 1. TAXATION--Roreign Fraternal Beneficiary Association Doing Business in State Under Applicable Laws Held not Indebted to State for Premium Tax Exacted of "Foreign Insurance Companies"
A foreign fraternal beneficiary association, which each year since statehood has been admitted and licensed to do business in the state as such an association under applicable laws (chapter 51, art. 4, sections 10564-10593, O.S.1931 (36 Okl.St.Ann. §§ 271 and note et seq., 261-266), and which association has transacted business in this state in compliance with such applicable laws, is not a "foreign insurance company" as defined and taxed in chapter 51, art. 1, § 10451 et seq. (36 Okl.St.Ann. § 1 et seq.), and sections 10451 and 10478 O.S. 1931 (36 Okl.St.Ann. §§ 1, 104), and such fraternal beneficiary association is not indebted to the state for any premium tax under section 10478, O.S.1931 (36 Okl.St.Ann. § 104), for any of the years 1908 to 1934.
2. SAME--Association Held not Indebted for Premium Taxes as Old Line Insurance Company Because It Maintained Reserve Fund and Paid Substantial Salaries and Commissions to Officers and Agents.
The fact that a foreign fraternal beneficiary association maintained a reserve fund to remain solvent as authorized by statute, and paid substantial salaries and commissions to its officers and agents, held not sufficient to show that such association had been doing business for profit and was an old line life insurance company and indebted for taxes as such a company.
3. SAME--Status of Association for Taxation Purposes not Changed Because of Issuance of Unauthorized Beneficiary Certificates.
A foreign fraternal beneficiary association licensed and doing business as such in this state is not converted into a corporation for profit or an old line life insurance company for taxation purposes merely because such association has issued improper, illegal, or unauthorized beneficiary certificates.
4. SAME--Foreign Fraternal Beneficiary Association Operating With Lodge System, etc., and Complying With State Statues Held Exempt From Premium Taxes.
A foreign fraternal beneficiary association with lodge system, ritualistic form of work, and representative form of government, which under its articles, constitution, and by-laws conformed with statutes defining and regulating fraternal beneficiary associations, and which otherwise complied with such statute, held to be a fraternal beneficiary association and exempt from premium taxes while so operating, notwithstanding such association paid substantial salaries to officers, accumulated substantial reserve, and issued many types of beneficiary certificates.

Appeal from District Court, Tulsa County; Thurman S. Hurst, Judge.

Suit for taxes in the name of the State, on the relation of Jess G. Read, State Insurance Commissioner, against the Sovereign Camp, Woodmen of the World. From a judgment for plaintiff, the defendant appeals.

Rainey T. Wells, of Omaha, Neb., H. L. Stuart, of Oklahoma City, and O. H. Searcy, of Tulsa, for plaintiff in error.
John M. Wheeler, of Tulsa, Creekmore Wallace, of Oklahoma City, Mac Q. Williamson, Atty. Gen., and Randell S. Cobb, Asst. Atty. Gen., for defendant in error.

WELCH, Justice.

¶1 This action was commenced to recover an alleged back tax indebtedness for the defendant, Sovereign Camp, Woodmen of the World, a fraternal beneficiary association, incorporated, and domiciled in Nebraska, and doing business in this State.

¶2 The material facts and issues are the same as were involved in the case of Royal Neighbors of America v. State (Okl.Sup.) 72 P. (2d) 325, this day decided.

¶3 The decision in that case is controlling here, and upon that authority we hold that the defendant here is not liable.

¶4 The judgment of the trial court is therefore reversed and the cause remanded, with directions to dismiss.