104 U.S. 689 (1882), Mason v. Sargent

Citation:104 U.S. 689, 26 L.Ed. 894
Party Name:MASON v. SARGENT.
Case Date:March 06, 1882
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 689

104 U.S. 689 (1882)

26 L.Ed. 894




United States Supreme Court.

March 06, 1882

ERROR to the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Massachusetts.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.


Mr. George Putnam for the plaintiffs in error.

The Solicitor-General, contra.


MR. JUSTICE MATTHEWS delivered the opinion of the court.

The action was brought by William P. Mason and Walter C. Cabot, to recover back the amount of a legacy tax, paid, under protest, by them to John Sargent, the defendant, as collector of internal revenue for the Fourth Massachusetts District.

The facts upon which the judgment was rendered in the court below, it was agreed, were as follows: William P. Mason, the plaintiffs' testator, died Dec. 4, 1867. By his will, duly proved and allowed, the personal property upon which the tax in question was levied was bequeathed to plaintiffs in trust for his widow for her life, and upon her death one-half to the plaintiff, William P. Mason, and one-half to Elizabeth R. Cabot,

Page 690

children of the testator of full age at his death. The widow died on June 17, 1872. In April, 1873, the tax in question was assessed by Jonathan H. Mann, assessor of said district; and, May 13, 1873, plaintiffs paid defendant said tax under protest, to avoid distraint or other forcible process to collect the same. May 19, 1873, plaintiffs duly made claim upon the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for the refunding of said tax, for the reason that the said property did not vest in possession in the plaintiffs' cestuis que trust, until the death of the testator's widow, which occurred after Oct. 1, 1870, the date at which the repeal of the legacy succession tax went into effect, and that the tax had not accrued at said date so as to come within the saving clause of the act of repeal. Act of July 14, 1870, sect. 17. Aug. 5, 1873, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue rejected the appeal, 'for the reason that the tax accrued under the 124th section of the act of June 30, 1864, and was saved by section 17 of the act of July 14, 1870, and, still existing, was properly assessed.' Judgment was rendered in favor of the collector, and the plaintiffs sued out this writ of error.

The tax in question was imposed by sect. 124 of the act of June 30, 1864, c. 173 (13 Stat. 223, 285), upon...

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