WASHINGTON - Reversing a decision of Missouri's highest court, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Farm Credit System's largest lender must pay state corporate income tax.

CoBank ASB, a Denver-based lender that makes loans to agricultural cooperatives, argued for a refund of its corporate income taxes for the years 1991 through 1994 on grounds that "instrumentalities" of the federal government are tax-exempt. A lower court had ruled against the bank but the state Supreme Court reversed the decision, setting the stage for the showdown in the Supreme Court.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion.

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