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U.S. Supreme Court

American Hide & Leather Co. v. United States, 284 U.S. 343 (1932)

American Hide & Leather Co. v. United States

No. 62

Argued November 25, 1931

Decided January 4, 1932

284 U.S. 343


1. A corporation which, under the Revenue Act of 1918, § 212(b), should have returned its income in 1918-1920 for its fiscal years ending June 30, in accordance with its books of account, mistakenly made returns and payments for the calendar years. Throughout the taxable periods, the total payments always exceeded the total taxes due, computed, as the statute required, on the basis of the taxpayer's fiscal years. The right to recover the excess turned on whether or not it was paid for a period bringing it within the applicable period of limitation.


(1) The object of the payment in each instance is defined by the intention of the taxpayer, to be ascertained from all relevant facts, including his return. P. 284 U. S. 347.

(2) Inasmuch as the return and payment for 1918 disclose an intention to pay the tax on all income received during that calendar chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 284 U. S. 344

year, the amount paid in excess of the tax accrued for the six months ended June 30 is not to be treated as an overpayment of that tax, but as a payment on the tax for the first six months of the next fiscal year, which form the last half of the calendar year. P. 284 U. S. 348.

(3) In like manner, the amount by which the sum of the overpayment thus applied to the fist half of the fiscal year ended June 30, 1919, and the payment intended for the calendar year 1919 exceeded the tax accrued for that fiscal year, should be treated a a payment in advance for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1920. P. 284 U. S. 348.

(4) There is no basis for the contention that the taxes paid for each calendar year should be divided and one-half applied to the tax due for the first six months and one-half for the tax accruing in the last six months of the year. Revenue Act, 1918, §§ 226, 252 considered. P. 284 U. S. 350.

2. In Revenue Act of 1926, § 284(h), providing that allowance of a claim for refund in respect of a tax for the taxable year 1920 shall not be barred "if such claim is filed before the expiration of five years after the date the return was due," the date intended is the statutory due date for return for the taxable year for which the payment was made, and where the payment was under a return mistakenly made for the calendar, instead of the taxpayer's fiscal, year, the time runs from the date when return for the fiscal year was due. P. 284 U. S. 348.

71 Ct.Cls. 114, 48 F.2d 430, reversed.

Certiorari, post, p. 599, to review a judgment denying a claim for refund of money paid for income taxes.

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