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U.S. Supreme Court

Detroit Bank v. United States, 317 U.S. 329 (1943)

Detroit Bank v. United States

No. 156

Argued December 9, 10, 1942

Decided January 4, 1943

317 U.S. 329


1. The tax lien imposed by § 315(a) of the Revenue Act of 1936 for federal estate taxes attaches at the date of the decedent's death without assessment or demand. P. 332.

2. The lien extends to an interest of the decedent as a tenant by the entirety. P. 317 U. S. 332.

3. The lien need not be recorded under the provisions of R.S. § 3186, as amended, in order to give it superiority to the lien of a mortgagee who acquired his mortgage for value in good faith without knowledge of the tax lien. P. 317 U. S. 333. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 317 U. S. 330

The differences between R.S. § 3186 and § 315(a), and their legislative history as separate enactments, indicate that each was intended to operate independently of the other. P. 317 U. S. 334.

4. In authorizing an unrecorded estate tax lien superior to the lien of a subsequent mortgage, while withholding such tax lien against innocent purchasers of property which a decedent had transferred inter vivos in contemplation of death, the statute does not violate the Fifth Amendment. P. 317 U. S. 337.

Unlike the Fourteenth Amendment, the Fifth contains no equal protection clause, and it provides no guaranty against discriminatory legislation by Congress. P. 317 U. S. 337.

127 F.2d 64 affirmed.

Certiorari, post, p. 607, to review the affirmance of a judgment of the District Court, 41 F.Supp. 41, enforcing at the suit of the Government an unrecorded tax lien on real property assessed as part of a decedent's estate.

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