United States v. Rizzo,
297 U.S. 530 (1936)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Rizzo, 297 U.S. 530 (1936)

United States v. Rizzo

No. 272

Argued January 9, 1936

Decided March 9, 1936

297 U.S. 530


1. In a suit in admiralty to forfeit a cargo of alcohol for breach of the customs and navigation laws, a claim of the United States for internal revenue taxes on the alcohol, being a nonmaritime claim, cannot be set up in the libel, and to defer the presentation of such claim until after the final decree adjudicating the right to the property is therefore not dilatory conduct. P. 297 U. S. 533.

2. The basic tax imposed upon distilled spirits is not a penalty; it is imposed irrespective of the legality of their origin; the lien attaches when the spirits as such come into existence, continues until the tax is paid, and is valid against all transferees, without assessment, distraint, or other administrative proceedings. P. 297 U. S. 533.

3. One who claims that alcohol, admittedly not imported, is not subject to tax must prove payment of the tax. P. 297 U. S. 533.

4. The United States, by seeking a forfeiture of distilled spirits for violation of the customs and navigation laws, is not estopped, through election of remedies, from claiming the tax imposed upon the spirits by the internal revenue laws. P. 297 U. S. 534.

5. An agreement by the United States, in a proceeding by libel to forfeit distilled spirits, for a judicial sale of the spirits "free and clear of all claims of any kind or character," and transfer of all existing liens from property to proceeds, does not waive a lien on the proceeds for internal revenue taxes. P. 297 U. S. 534.

6. The Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in admiralty in a proceeding to forfeit distilled spirits under the customs and navigation laws, having sold the spirits free of liens and transferred existing

Page 297 U. S. 531

liens to the proceeds of sale, has jurisdiction to entertain a petition of the Government for satisfaction out of such money in custodia legis of its lien for internal revenue taxes on the spirits. P. 297 U. S. 535.

7. Denial of a claim by the United States for payment of internal revenue taxes on distilled spirits out of the proceeds of their sale in a proceeding by libel for breach of the customs and navigation laws, held a final judgment for the purposes of review in this Court -- cases denying review of merely administrative proceedings under a decree are inapplicable. P. 297 U. S. 536.

73 F.2d 1010 reversed.

Certiorari, 29 U. S. 559, to review an order rejecting a petition by the United States that moneys in the custody of the court below, proceeding from a judicial sale of alcohol in a forfeiture suit, be paid into the Treasury in satisfaction of internal revenue taxes.

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