Florsheim Bros. Drygoods Co., Ltd. v. United States
280 U.S. 453 (1930)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Florsheim Bros. Drygoods Co., Ltd. v. United States, 280 U.S. 453 (1930)

Florsheim Bros. Drygoods Co., Ltd. v. United States

Nos. 118 and 414

Argued January 13, 14, 1930

Decided February 24, 1930

280 U.S. 453

Syllabus

1. Although the Revenue Act of 1918 was not approved until February 24, 1919, § 241(a) required that returns on the basis of the calendar year be made on or before March 15, and § 239 required that a corporation's return should state specifically the items of its gross income and deductions and credits. In order to allow corporations extended time to prepare their returns under § 239, and in order to avoid the postponement of initial payments of tax that would have resulted under § 250(a) if extensions were granted unconditionally, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue devised a plan whereby extensions of time to file the return required by the Act were granted to corporations only on condition that, on or before March 15, they send to the Collector one-fourth of their estimated tax with an instrument executed under oath, containing only a statement that one-fourth of the estimated tax was remitted therewith and that, for reasons set forth, an extension of time to file the "complete return" was requested. The form provided by the Commissioner for this purpose was entitled "Tentative Return of Corporation Income and Profits Taxes and Request for Extension of Time for Filing Return."

Held: that this so-called "tentative return" was not the return within the meaning of §§ 250(d) of the Revenue Act of 1921, limiting the time within which taxes under the Act of 1918 might be determined and assessed to five years after the return was filed, etc., and that the filing of such "tentative return" did not start that period of limitation. P. 280 U. S. 456.

2. A waiver executed by the Commissioner and a taxpayer pursuant to § 250(d) of the Revenue Act of 1921, consenting to a determination, assessment, and collection of income taxes under the

Page 280 U. S. 454

Act of 1918, and to be in effect for one year after the expiration of the statutory period of limitation, was not a contract preventing Congress from extending the statutory period for the collection of such taxes by legislation enacted before that period as extended by the waiver has expired. P. 280 U. S. 465.

3. Income taxes assessed within the statutory period, as extended by waiver, and after the enactment of the Revenue Act of 1924, the collection of which had not been previously barred, could be collected pursuant to §§ 278(d) of that Act at any time within six years of the assessment. P. 280 U. S. 467.

4. Income taxes assessed at any time within the statutory period, as extended by waiver, and the collection of which was not barred on the enactment of the Revenue Act of 1926, could be collected under § 278(d) of that Act within six years of the assessment. Id.

29 F.2d 895 affirmed; 33 F.2d 739 reversed.

Certiorari, post, pp. 539, 547, to review judgments of circuit courts of appeals in actions to recover amounts assessed and collected as income and excess profits taxes. In No. 118, the action was brought in Louisiana against the United States, and the judgment of the district court, 26 F.2d 505, for the defendant was affirmed by the circuit court of appeals. The other case was an action against the Collector in Massachusetts. The judgment of the district court, 28 F.2d 54, was for the plaintiff, and was affirmed by the circuit court of appeals.

Page 280 U. S. 455

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