Payment to a club by member for golf privileges held
taxable as "dues or membership fees" under § 501 of the Revenue Act
of 1926, as amended by § 413 of the Revenue Act of 1928. White
v. Winchester Country Club, ante,
p. 315 U. S. 32
315 U. S.
119 F.2d 578 affirmed.
Certiorari, 314 U.S. 589, to review the affirmance of a judgment
for the United States in a suit for a refund of taxes.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON delivered the opinion of the Court.
The question in this case -- whether amounts paid members of the
Merion Cricket Club during the period from July 1, 1931, to June
30, 1935, for golf privileges constituted payments as "dues or
membership fees" subject to the tax imposed by § 501 of the Revenue
Act of 1926, 44 Stat. 9, 92, as amended by Section 413 of the
Revenue Act of 1928, 45 Stat. 791, 864 -- does not differ in
substance from that decided this day in White v. Winchester
Country Club, ante
U. S. 32
With certain exceptions, a member of the Merion Cricket Club
could obtain annual golf privileges only by payment of a fee, which
varied in amount according to his age and status. The fee was
payable in two equal installments, one on the first of January and
the other on
Page 315 U. S. 43
the first of July. A member admitted to golf privileges after
the latter date was entitled to remission of one-half of the annual
fees, but, if one stopped using the golf facilities during the
year, there was no proportionate refund. If a member elected to
play golf, he continued to be liable for the succeeding year unless
he gave notice of withdrawal before the end of the year. Members
who paid the annual golf fees were entitled to use the golf
facilities as often as they desired without further charge, and
could on occasion obtain golf privileges for their wives and
After a claim for refund of the amounts alleged to have been
paid as taxes on the annual golf fees had been duly filed and
rejected, the Club, on its own behalf and on behalf of its members,
sued the United States in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania to recover them. The District
Court entered a judgment for the United States which was affirmed
on appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
119 F.2d 578. Certiorari was granted in this case and in White
v. Winchester Country Club, supra,
because of an asserted
conflict between the decisions below. 313 U.S. 555; 314 U.S.
In this case, as in White v. Winchester Country Club,
we hold that amounts paid were paid as "dues or
membership fees," since they were for rights to the repeated and
general use of a common club facility for an appreciable period of
time, and were not fixed by each occasion of actual use.
The decision below is therefore
MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS took no part in the decision of this