United States v. Scovil
348 U.S. 218 (1955)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Scovil, 348 U.S. 218 (1955)

United States v. Scovil

No. 35

Argued November 16, 1954

Decided January 10, 1955

348 U.S. 218

CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF SOUTH CAROLINA

Syllabus

A tax lien of the United States under § 3670 of the Internal Revenue Code held entitled to priority over a landlord's distress lien under South Carolina law where the distress lien was obtained (but not perfected) after the federal tax lien had attached, but before notice thereof had been filed. Pp. 348 U. S. 218-221.

(a) Section 3672 affords no protection to the holder of a distress lien such as that here involved. P. 348 U. S. 220.

(b) Whether the distress lien was perfected at the time the lien of the United States was filed is a question of federal law. P. 348 U. S. 220.

(c) The distress lien in this case was not perfected in the federal sense at the time the liens of the United States were filed. P. 348 U. S. 220.

(d) The landlord in this case was not a "purchaser" within the meaning of § 3672 of the Internal Revenue Code, and the tax lien of the United States was not invalid as to him under that section. Pp. 348 U. S. 220-221.

224 S.C. 233, 78 S.E.2d 277, reversed.

MR. JUSTICE MINTON delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case involves the relative priority of a landlord's distress for rent under the laws of South Carolina and a lien for unpaid taxes due the United States. The landlord, herein referred to as respondent, on April 7, 1952, filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Greenville County,

Page 348 U. S. 219

South Carolina, an affidavit setting forth that the Dan Tassey, Inc., was indebted to him for rent and requesting a distress warrant, which issued. The master's report shows only that the landlord for past due rent "proceeded on the 7th day of April, 1952 to distress upon the assets of said corporation for said rent in arrears." The record does not disclose what was actually done in the distress proceedings. South Carolina Code Annotated, 1952, § 41

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