282 U.S. 656 (1931), United States v. Michel

Citation:282 U.S. 656, 51 S.Ct. 284, 75 L.Ed. 598
Party Name:United States v. Michel
Case Date:February 24, 1931
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 656

282 U.S. 656 (1931)

51 S.Ct. 284, 75 L.Ed. 598

United States



United States Supreme Court

Feb. 24, 1931




1. Under R.S. § 3226, as amended, a suit against the United States to recover an internal revenue tax will not lie if not commenced within five years after payment of the tax or within two years after disallowance by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue of the taxpayer's claim for refund. P. 658.

2. Notwithstanding the provision of this statute directing the Commissioner within 90 day after any disallowance to notify the taxpayer thereof by mail, the two-year limitation on suit begins on disallowance, and not on the giving of notice by the Commissioner. P. 658.

3. Suit may not be maintained against the United States in any case not clearly within the terms of the statute by which it consents to be sued. P. 659.

37 F.2d 38 reversed.

Page 656

Certiorari, 281 U.S. 714, to review two reversals of judgments dismissing the complaints in suits to recover money collected as taxes.

BUTLER, J., lead opinion

[51 S.Ct. 285] MR. JUSTICE BUTLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

These actions were brought in the District Court for the Southern District of New York. Each respondent sued to recover income taxes incorrectly determined for 1919 and paid in 1920. On defendant's motion in the nature of a general demurrer, that court dismissed. The circuit court of appeals reversed. 37 F.2d 38.

The sole question is whether the actions were commenced within the time allowed by R.S. § 3226, as amended. 26 U.S.C., § 156.

In 1924, Michel on February 7, and Krieger on September 15, filed a claim for refund. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue, by a letter dated August 17, 1925, advised Michel that his claim would be rejected and that the rejection would officially appear on the next schedule to be approved by him. The claim was rejected September 2. The Commissioner, April 2, 1925, sent a like letter to Krieger, and his claim was rejected April 20. The Commissioner did not give notice to either of them that his claim had been disallowed or of the date of disallowance until June 27, 1928. The suits were subsequently brought more than two years after the rejections and less than two years after the notices.

Page 658

Section 3226 as amended provides:

No suit or proceeding shall be maintained in any court for the recovery of any internal revenue tax alleged to have been erroneously or illegally assessed or collected . . . until a claim for refund of credit has been duly filed with the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. . . . No such suit or proceeding shall be begun before the expiration of six months from the date of filing such claim unless the commissioner renders a decision thereon within that time, nor...

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