Elliott v. Railroad Company
99 U.S. 573

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U.S. Supreme Court

Elliott v. Railroad Company, 99 U.S. 573 (1878)

Elliott v. Railroad Company

99 U.S. 573

Syllabus

1. The Court reaffirms its ruling in Erskine v. Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Co.,94 U. S. 819, that the forfeiture of $1,000 is the only penalty to which a corporation is liable for default, under, sec. 122 of the Internal Revenue Act of June 30, 1884, 13 Stat. 284, as amended by the Act of July 13, 1866, 14 id. 138.

2. No intention to add to the penalty for that default, while the section remained in force, is manifested by the Act of July 14, 1870, 18 Stat. 280.

3. Penalties are never extended by implication. Unless expressly imposed, they cannot be enforced.

This is an action of trespass on the case by the East Pennsylvania Railroad Company against William B. Elliott, Collector of Internal Revenue for the First District of Pennsylvania. The jury returned a special verdict as follows:

1. That the plaintiff is a railroad company, incorporated under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania, and having its principal office in the first United States internal revenue collection district of said state at the date of the returns and payments hereinafter mentioned.

2. That the defendant was, at the date of the said payments, collector of internal revenue of the United States for the said district.

3. That on the eighteenth day of January, 1870, a dividend of $39,276, being three percent on the capital stock of the said company, became due and payable, and was paid to the stockholders of the said company by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company as rent for the railroad of the said plaintiff, payable for the preceding six months, under the provisions of a lease and contract dated May 19, 1869, whereby the railroad of the said plaintiff was leased to the Philadelphia

Page 99 U. S. 574

and Reading Railroad Company, and the said rent was received and made payable directly by the latter company to the stockholders of the said company plaintiff, without the declaration of any dividend by the directors of the said company plaintiff.

4. That on the fifteenth day of December, 1871, the said company, in accordance with the requirement of the assessor for the said district, made a return (accompanied by a written protest), whereby it appeared that a tax of five percent upon the said dividend ($39,276), with the sum of $2,067.16 (five percent of a sum of which the said dividend is ninety-five percent) added thereto, would amount to $2,067.16.

5. That a list containing said return was duly forwarded by the said assessor to the collector of internal revenue for the said district.

6. That on the twenty-ninth day of July, 1873, the said company paid the said sum of $2,067.16 to the said defendant, then collector as aforesaid, together with alleged penalties, amounting to $475.45 (viz., $103.36, five percent on said tax, and $372.01, interest at the rate of one percent per month from Jan. 1, 1872, to July 1, 1873), making in all the sum of $2,542.61; that said payment was made under compulsion, and was accompanied by a written protest of the company against its liability therefor.

7. That on the sixteenth day of January, 1872, a dividend of $39,276, being three percent on the capital stock of the plaintiff, was paid to the holders of the shares of the said capital stock by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company as rent for the preceding six months, under the provisions of the lease above mentioned.

8. That on the tenth day of January, 1872, the said company, in accordance with the requirement of the assessor for the said district, made a return (accompanied by a written protest), whereby it appeared that a tax of two and one-half percent upon the said dividend ($39,276), with the sum of $1,007.08 (two and one-half percent of a sum of which the said dividend is ninety-seven and one-half percent) added thereto, would amount to $1,007.08.

9. That a list containing said return was duly forwarded by

Page 99 U. S. 575

the said assessor to the collector of internal revenue for the said district.

10. That on the twenty-ninth day of July, 1873, the said company paid the said sum of $1,007.08 to the said defendant, then collector as aforesaid, together with the alleged penalties, amounting to $211.48 (viz., $50.35, five percent on said tax, and $161.13, interest at the rate of one percent per month from March 1, 1872, to July 1, 1873), making in all the sum of $1,218.56; that said payment was made under compulsion, and was accompanied by a written protest of the company against its liability therefor.

11. That on the twenty-fifth day of September, 1873, the said company duly presented claims to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue of the United States for refunding the said sums of $2,542.61 and $1,218.56.

12. That on the sixth day of February, 1874, the said claims were rejected by the said Commissioner of Internal Revenue of the United States.

Judgment having been entered in favor of the company for

"$686.93 (being the penalty of five percent, and interest thereon at the rate of one percent per month, as mentioned in said verdict), together with interest thereon from July 29, 1873, $183.64, in all, the sum of $870.57,"

the collector brought the case here.

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