W. P. Brown & Sons Lumber Co. v. Burnet
282 U.S. 283 (1931)

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U.S. Supreme Court

W. P. Brown & Sons Lumber Co. v. Burnet, 282 U.S. 283 (1931)

W. P. Brown & Sons Lumber Co. v. Burnet

No. 115

Argued December 3, 1930

Decided January 5, 1931

282 U.S. 283

Syllabus

1. A return for 1917 income and profits tax was filed April 1, 1918; the taxpayer, within the three-year period for assessment allowed by the Revenue Act of 1917, filed a waiver extending that period to April 1, 1924; notice of a deficiency, an intradepartmental appeal therefrom, a jeopardy assessment, and a claim of abatement all occurred in 1923, within the extended period. Held that the waiver was valid even though executed by the taxpayer before the date of the Revenue Act of 1921 and not executed by the Commissioner until 1922, and that, under § 250(d) of the Act of 1921, the assessment was in time. Stange v. United States, ante, p. 282 U. S. 270; Aiken v. Burnet, ante p. 282 U. S. 277. P. 282 U. S. 285.

2. Three successive waivers held valid and productive of successive extensions of the period for collecting 1917 taxes beyond the five-year period provided in § 250(d), Revenue Act of 1921, although the first waiver was executed by the taxpayer before the date of that Act and not executed by the Commissioner until 1922, and did not refer expressly to collection, and although the other two, both in terms covering collection, were given after five years from the filing of the return. Aiken v. Burnet, ante, p. 282 U. S. 277; Stange v. United States, ante, p. 282 U. S. 270; Burnet v. Chicago Ry. Equipment Co., post, p. 282 U. S. 295. P. 282 U. S. 286.

3. The right to collect a deficiency assessment of 1917 taxes, the limitation period for which, as extended by waivers, did not expire until after the taxpayer had appealed from the assessment to the Board of Tax Appeals, did not become barred under § 250(d) of the Revenue Act of 1921 when the time specified in the last extension expired pending the appeal, even though the Commissioner, despite the appeal, remained free to collect the tax as assessed. So held in view of provisions of the Revenue Act of 1926, mentioned below. P. 282 U. S. 288.

Page 282 U. S. 284

4. The deficiency in 1917 taxes was assessed, but not paid in full, before June 3, 1924; the Commissioner, after June 2, 1924 (date of the Revenue Act of that year), but before the date of the Revenue Act of 1926, finally determined the amount of deficiency, and the taxpayer's appeal to the Board of Tax Appeals was taken before the date of the 1926 Act, and was then pending.

Held:

(1) That § 283(f) of the Act of 1926 confirmed the jurisdiction of the Board over the appeal. P. 282 U. S. 288.

(2) Sections 274(a) and 277(b) of that Act were made applicable by § 283(f), and extended the period for collection until after final determination by the Board. P. 282 U. S. 290.

(3) Section 1000 of the Act of 1926, amending the 1924 Act by providing that, where the Board found a tax barred by limitations, its decision should be that there was no deficiency, was intended to confirm its jurisdiction in making final disposition of a deficiency already barred, and does not affect the special jurisdiction conferred by § 283(f), supra. P. 282 U. S. 291.

(4) Under § 283(f), Act of 1926, the suspension by § 277(b) of the time limit on collection applies retroactively to the date the appeal was filed with the Board of Tax Appeals. P. 282 U. S. 292.

(5) Section 278(e), Act of 1926, which prohibits collection, in the absence of a waiver prior to that Act, if at the date of its enactment the tax was already barred does not apply where, although the waiver had in terms expired before that date, the time is extended under § 283(f) pending appeal before the Board. P. 282 U. S. 292.

(6) Section 283(1), Act of 1926, which provides that, in case of any tax imposed by a prior Act, there shall be added to the period of suspension given by § 277(b) any period prior to the Act of 1926 during which the Commissioner was prohibited from beginning distraint or proceeding in court, does not limit application of §§ 274(a) and 277(b), as directed by § 283(f), supra, to the present case, even though the Commissioner was free to make collection between the date of the appeal to the Board and the date of the 1926 Act. P. 282 U. S. 293.

38 F.2d 425 affirmed.

CERTIORARI, 281 U.S. 718, to review a judgment of the circuit court of appeals affirming a decision of the Board of Tax Appeals, 13 B.T.A. 1425, which sustained an income and profits tax against the defense that it was barred by limitations.

Page 282 U. S. 285

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