Anstat's Estate, In re

Citation4 Ohio App.2d 284,208 N.E.2d 771
Decision Date16 March 1964
Parties, 94 Ohio Law Abs. 181, 31 O.O.2d 438 In the Matter of the ESTATE of Abraham ANSTAT, Deceased. Stanley J. BOWERS, Tax Commissioner of Ohio, Appellant, v.LEAGUE OF B'NAL B'RITH, Hadassah, the Womens' Zionlst Organization of America, Inc., Histadrut, National Committee for Labor Israel, Appellees.
CourtUnited States Court of Appeals (Ohio)

William B. Saxbe, Atty. Gen., and Donald A. Hertlein, Asst. Atty. Gen., Columbus, for appellant.

Carl Morgenstern, Hamilton, Baron Gold, Cincinnati, Anita Walters, New York City, Allen Brown, Milton M. Bloom, Cincinnati, for appellees.

HOVER, Presiding Judge.

This is an appeal by the Tax Commissioner from a determination of the Probate Court of Butler County, holding certain bequests of the Estate of Abraham Anstat (deceased October 29, 1960) exempt from Ohio Inheritance Tax because made to religious or charitable organizations. The exemptions appealed from concern bequests to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (a non-profit corporation of the District of Columbia); Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (a corporation of the state of New York); and Histadrut, the National Committee for Labor Israel (a legal entity of the state of New York). The will also made bequests to other organizations which were originally excepted to in the court below but which were not pressed by the appellant Tax Commissioner, namely; The Leo N. Levi Memorial Hospital (Hot Springs, Arkansas); The National Jewish Hospital (Denver, Colorado); and The Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati, Ohio.

The court found, without opinion, that the three organizations with which we are here concerned were exempt as being religious and charitable in nature; and, although not located in the state of Ohio, were located in other states, including the District of Columbia, which provide reciprocal exemptions for similar bequests as contemplated by the Inheritance Tax Law of Ohio.

From the record it appears that the three organizations differ materially as to scope of operation, purposes, and the ultimate beneficiaries, both as to the kind of philanthropy provided and the locale of their good works. It will accordingly be necessary to give some consideration separately to each of the three organizations as their activities appear from the record.


This is a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia and maintaining a regional office at Columbus, Ohio. The stated purpose of the organization is 'to advance good will and proper group understanding between American groups, to preserve and translate into greater effectiveness the ideals of American democracy; to eliminate defamation of the Jews and counteract unAmerican and anti-American activities'.

The organization operates on a national scale. Its detailed activites set out in the record are totally consistent with and in furtherance of the above stated purposes. The activities of the organization while concerned to some degree with matters peculiar to the Jewish religion and in explanation thereof, are by no means confined to this field and, apparently, have as their principal aim the furtherance of interdenominational understanding, tolerance and cooperation. The organization works closely with many other eleemosynary and religious groups of general community service and long-standing acceptance. The work of the organization is carried on generally throughout the United States and is not concentrated in any one area. It is apparent that a substantial portion of the organization's religious, educational and charitable work is carried on within the state of Ohio. The financial structure of the organization is not such as would readily permit an accurate monetary evaluation of the actual amount of service performed within the state of Ohio, but there is no doubt that the scope of the organization's activities include not only this state and the place of its incorporation, but indiscriminately the country as a whole.


This is a New York corporation having a number of different but related objectives and purposes which may be paraphrased as follows: To provide welfare services for needy persons in the state of Israel; to promote medical education and other scientific studies and research in that state; to effect the immigration to Israel of Jewish young people from areas in which they might be oppressed, threatened, abused or discriminated against; to provide for the support of such immigrants; to foster the Jewish religion among Jewish youth; to promote the growth and welfare of a national Jewish homeland; and to strengthen American democracy through information and study programs.

Membership in the organization is open to any woman in the United States subscribing to its purposes. The organization maintains local chapters for carrying out its programs and objectives. There are sixteen of these in the state of Ohio. The organization has as major sources of income, membership dues and various fundraising projects undertaken by the chapters. Of the membership dues, fifty per cent is retained by local chapters. Again, as in the case of the Anti-Defamation League, it is impractical if not impossible to pinpoint the actual amount of money spent by Hadassah in promoting its purposes within the state of Ohio other than to say that the sum is, again, substantial. The record indicates, however, that of the total amount raised in Ohio approximately two per cent was spent on the so-called Americanism Program of Education and Information. Although the record does not say so explicitly, apparently similar fundraising and expenditures are carried on in other states, including the state of domicile, New York. Total funds handled during the course of a year by the organization approximate eleven million dollars, of which approximately one million eight hundred thousand dollars is from dues and the balance from fund-raising. Of the total amount of income of the organization from all sources, approximately seventy-seven per cent is sent to the state of Israel in furtherance of the objectives of the organization there.


This non-profit organization, as originally formed, had as stated purposes the assisting of Jewish workers and Jewish pioneers in Palestine; the building of agricultural settlements and other enterprises and schools there; the furnishing of tools, machinery and other aid for workers; and the operating of an employment and lending agency for such persons. It is also authorized in the furtherance of these purposes, to cooperate with other organizations having similar purposes both in Palestine and in the United States, and to raise funds to further the objectives as well as to establish committees and bureaus in the United States to carry out the above primary purposes of the organization. Subsequent to its original formation, the charter was amended to enlarge upon and set out in further detail the above objects. The amended charter, however, does not materially affect the matters pertinent to this inquiry.

In furthering its aims, the organization carries on educational programs in the United States and the state of Ohio to acquatint people with its program for the furtherance of its welfare operations in Israel. The latest available accounting of the funds of the organization, prepared by Haft & Haft of Tel Aviv, Israel, for the year 1960, indicates the expenditure there in furtherance of the organization's various programs to have been $2,930,000.00. All of the funds received by the organization over and above administrative costs, are forwarded to Israel to support the charitable and welfare programs established there.

Each of these organizations performs highly commendable and valuable services to the beneficiaries of their respective activities. The mere fact, however, that activities are worthwhile or commendable or highly beneficial, is not in and of itself sufficient to effect a tax exemption under exemption statutes generally, and, more specifically, under the terms of the Inheritance Tax Law of Ohio.

The only statute directly involved in this litigation is Ection 5731.09, Revised Code. The statute, insofar as it relates to tax exempt bequests as distinguished from individual, private legatees, has been amended eight times since 1919. The effect of each successive amendment has been to enlarge both the subjects and the objects of exemption. Rather consistently, statutory amendments have occurred after the courts have determined that some institution or activity, otherwise worthy and desirable, is nevertheless not exempt from the payment of a succession tax. Amendments have rather consistently followed providing additional and specific exemptions. The statute became effective in its present form in August of 1959 and, consequently, is the form to be considered in determining successions originating in the decedent here who died in October of 1960. The statute in its present form has been amended piecemeal and has become sufficiently complicated to require some detailed analysis in view of the facts developed in this record. It can be clarified by some abstracting as follows: Successions are exempt to political subdivisions if they are within the state and have an exclusive public purpose. Successions to educational institutions, non-profit hospitals, and established religious organizations are exempt if they are within the state. Successions to educational institutions, non-profit hospitals, religious organizations and community trusts or foundations for public charity only are exempt if they are carried on within any state of the United States not taxing similar successions to Ohio institutions. Institutions of purely public charity are exempt if carried...

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