United States v. Goelet,
232 U.S. 293 (1914)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Goelet, 232 U.S. 293 (1914)

United States v. Goelet

Nos. 631, 632

Argued January 6, 7, 1914

Decided February 24, 1914

232 U.S. 293


Billings v. United States, ante, p. 232 U. S. 261, followed to the effect that the tax on the use of foreign-built yachts imposed by § 37 of the Tariff Act of 1909 is not an unconstitutional exercise of power by Congress, and it became due for the year 1909 on the first day of September, 1909.

While Congress may have the power to impose an excise duty on a citizen permanently domiciled abroad, such an imposition is so unusual that an intent to do so will not be presumed unless clearly expressed.

The expectation of those who sought the enactment of legislation may not be used for the purpose of affixing to such legislation, when enacted, a meaning which it does not express.

The tax imposed by § 37 of the Tariff Act of 1909 does not apply to the use of a foreign-built yacht owned by a citizen of the United States who was permanently resident and domiciled in a foreign country for more than one year prior to September 1, 1909, and to the levy of such tax.

The facts, which involve the construction and constitutionality of § 37 of the Tariff Act of 1909, imposing a tax

Page 232 U. S. 294

on foreign-built yachts and the application of that section to a yacht owned by an American citizen permanently domiciled abroad and which had not been within the jurisdiction of the United States during a part of the period for which the tax was levied, are stated in the opinion.

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