Statutes may impose a tax upon the transaction of certain business merely for the purpose of raising revenue, and not with any view of regulating the business itself. Even though such statutes impose a penalty for failure to comply with their provisions, contracts made without paying the requisite tax or obtaining the requisite license generally are not thereby made unenforceable. Of course, the legislature may provide that the failure to comply with a revenue statute will invalidate a bargain. But where, as in the Acuff case, the purpose of the statute is the protection of the public, a bargain made in violation thereof generally will be held unenforceable,even though it may incidentally raise revenue.
Paul J. Hartman,
Contracts -- 1961 Tennessee Survey (II),
15 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol15/iss3/12