ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE v. BLAZE CONSTR. CO.

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
97-1536
Petitioner 
Arizona Department of Revenue
Respondent 
Blaze Constr. Co.
Opinion 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the United States, as amicus curiae, by special leave of court, supporting the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
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Term:
Facts of the Case 

Over several years, the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs contracted with Blaze Construction Company to build, repair, and improve roads on several Indian reservations located in Arizona. When the various contracts expired, the Arizona Department of Revenue issued a tax deficiency assessment against Blaze for its failure to pay Arizona's transaction privilege tax, the tax levied on the gross receipts of companies doing business in the state, on the proceeds from its contracts with the Bureau. Blaze protested the assessment and prevailed in administrative proceedings. On review, the Arizona Tax Court granted summary judgment for the Department. In reversing, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that federal law pre-empted the tax's application to Blaze. The Supreme Court of Arizona denied review.

Question 

May a state impose a nondiscriminatory tax upon a private company's proceeds from contracts with the Federal Government when the federal contractor renders its services on an Indian reservation?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Arizona Department of Revenue, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision:

Yes. In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court held that a "State generally may impose a nondiscriminatory tax upon a private company's proceeds from contracts with the Federal Government, regardless of whether the federal contractor renders its services on an Indian reservation." Justice Thomas wrote for the Court that, "[a]bsent a constitutional immunity or congressional exemption, federal law does not shield Blaze (a federal contractor) from Arizona's transaction privilege tax."

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ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE v. BLAZE CONSTR. CO.. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 21 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_1536>.
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE v. BLAZE CONSTR. CO., The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_1536 (last visited October 21, 2014).
"ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE v. BLAZE CONSTR. CO.," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 21, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_1536.