United States v. Kales
314 U.S. 186 (1941)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Kales, 314 U.S. 186 (1941)

United States v. Kales

No. 35

Argued November 14, 1941

Decided December 8, 1941

314 U.S. 186

Syllabus

1. A taxpayer who had paid a 1919 income tax on the profits of a sale of stock computed on the basis of a March 1, 1913, valuation of the stock sold, and who later had been subjected by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to a jeopardy assessment for an additional tax on the profits of the same transaction computed upon a lower 1913 valuation, paid the additional tax and accompanied the payment with a letter protesting against it upon the ground that the Commissioner had no authority to reopen and set aside the 1913 valuation as made by his predecessor, but also asserting that the first 1913 valuation was itself too low, and that, if it were to be set aside by administrative action, or in the courts, the taxpayer would insist that the earlier tax was therefore excessive, and would claim a refund of the excess paid. Held, that the letter sufficed as a claim to stay the running of the statute of limitations on the taxpayer's right to a refund of an excess in the earlier tax. P. 314 U. S. 193.

2. A notice fairly advising the Commissioner of the nature of the taxpayer's claim, which the Commissioner could reject because too general or because it does not comply with formal requirements of the statute and regulations, will nevertheless be treated as a claim where formal defects and lack of specificity have been remedied by amendment filed after the lapse of the statutory period. This is

Page 314 U. S. 187

especially the case where such a claim has not misled the Commissioner and he has accepted and treated it as such. P. 314 U. S. 194.

3. Treatment by the taxing authorities of the informal claim and its later amendment as a claim for refund operated as a waiver of regulations prescribing the formality and particularity with which grounds for a refund are required to be stated. P. 314 U. S. 196.

4. A judgment against a Collector of Internal Revenue refunding 1919 income taxes collected by him in 1925 does not bar a later suit against the United States to recover an excess of tax on income for the same year, paid to a different Collector in 1920. P. 314 U. S. 197.

115 F.2d 497 affirmed.

Certiorari, 313 U.S. 553, to review a judgment reversing a dismissal by the District Court of a suit against the United States for refund of overpaid 1919 income taxes. The Collector to whom the payment was made had retired from office and had died before the suit was begun.

Page 314 U. S. 189

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