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U.S. Supreme Court

Helvering v. Twin Bell Oil Syndicate, 293 U.S. 312 (1934)

Helvering v. Twin Bell Oil Syndicate

No. 170

Argued November 15, 16, 1934

Decided December 3, 1934

293 U.S. 312


1. The legislative history of § 204(c)(2) of the Revenue Act of 1926 shows that this section does not grant a deduction for depletion, but merely provides methods for computing the amount of the deduction granted by § 234(a)(8) of the Act. Pp. 293 U. S. 315, 293 U. S. 319.

2. The deduction for depletion in the case of a lease of oil and gas wells must be apportioned between the lessor and lessee as provided by § 234(a)(8), irrespective of which of the methods prescribed by § 204 for computing the amount of the deduction is chosen. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 293 U. S. 313

The last clause of § 204(c)(2), providing that " . . . in no case shall the depletion allowance be less than it would be if computed without reference to this paragraph," does not require a different result. P. 293 U. S. 319.

3. Under § 204(c)(2) of the Revenue Act of 1926, which provides that, "[i]n the case of oil and gas wells, the allowance for depletion shall be 27 1/2 percentum of the gross income from the property during the taxable year," the basis for computing the allowance ill the case of a taxpayer operating under a lease requiring the payment of royalties is the gross income from production less the amounts which the taxpayer was obligated to pay as royalties, whether the royalties were paid in kind or their value in cash. Pp. 293 U. S. 320-321.

4. The provision of § 114(b)(3) of the Revenue Act of 1932 which expressly excludes from the basis for computing the percentage depletion for oil and gas wells "any rents or royalties paid or incurred by the taxpayer in respect of the property" was merely clarifying in purpose and declaratory of § 204(c)(2) of the 1926 Act as administered. P. 293 U. S. 322.

70 F.2d 402 reversed.

Certiorari to review a judgment reversing a decision of the Board of Tax Appeals, 26 B.T.A. 172, which sustained an assessment of deficiency in income tax.

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