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U.S. Supreme Court

Helvering v. Commissioner, 296 U.S. 85 (1935)

Helvering v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

No. 10

Argued October 15, 1935

Decided November 11, 1935

296 U.S. 85


1. Section 302(d), Revenue Act of 1926, which includes in the gross estate any interest in property of which the decedent has at any time made a transfer, where the enjoyment thereof was subject at the date of his death to any change through the exercise of a power, "either by the decedent alone or in conjunction with any other person, to alter, amend, or revoke," applies to a transfer which was complete when made but subject to be altered or revoked by the transferor with the consent of another person who was himself a beneficiary of the transfer. P. 296 U. S. 87.

2. When the language of a statute is plain, there is no occasion for construction or for referring to committee reports. P. 296 U. S. 89.

3. As applied to transfers in trust made after its enactment, § 302(d) is not arbitrary or unreasonable. P. 296 U. S. 89.

4. The purpose of Congress in adding clause (d) to the section as it stood in an earlier Act, was to prevent avoidance of the tax by the device of joining with the grantor in the exercise of the power of revocation someone who he believed would comply with his wishes. Congress may well have thought that a beneficiary who was of the grantor's immediate family might be amenable to persuasion, or be induced to consent to a revocation in consideration of other expected benefits from the grantor's estate. P. 296 U. S. 90.

5. A legislative declaration that a status of the taxpayer's creation shall, in the application of the tax, be deemed the equivalent of another status falling normally within the scope of the taxing power, if reasonably requisite to prevent evasion, does not take property without due process. P. 296 U. S. 90.

74 F.2d 242 reversed.

Certiorari, 295 U.S. 723, to review a judgment affirming an order of the Board of Tax Appeals, 29 B.T.A. 1141, overruling an increase of estate tax assessment. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 296 U. S. 86

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