Charles Peckat Mfg. Co. v. Jarecki, 10535.

Decision Date25 June 1952
Docket NumberNo. 10535.,10535.
Citation196 F.2d 849
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit

John E. Hughes, John W. Hughes, Harold R. Burnstein, Chicago, Ill., for appellant.

Otto Kerner, Jr., U. S. Atty., John A. Looby, Jr., Asst. U. S. Atty., Chicago, Ill., Ellis N. Slack, Acting Asst. Atty. Gen., Hilbert P. Zarky, Sp. Asst. to Atty. Gen., A. F. Prescott, Joseph F. Goetten, Sp. Asst. to Atty. Gen., for appellee.

Before DUFFY, LINDLEY and SWAIM, Circuit Judges.

DUFFY, Circuit Judge.

This is a civil action brought by plaintiff to recover the amount paid by it as manufacturer's excise tax from April through October, 1948, on an automobile accessory, namely, sun visors.

Taxpayer was the owner by assignment of a patent on a bracket for fastening sun visors to automobiles.1 It entered into a contract with Davis Stamping Company (hereinafter called Davis) of Detroit, Michigan, to fabricate sun visors including the patented bracket. It paid Davis $6.30 per visor, including the bracket. It cost 25¢ to 35¢ to manufacture the bracket. The charge of $6.30 per unit did not include any excise tax. Neither plaintiff nor its officers owned any stock or interest in Davis, nor did Davis or its officers have any stock or other interest in plaintiff.

The machinery used to fabricate the sun visors was owned by Davis and was operated by Davis employees. Under the contract plaintiff paid for and owned the dies and tools used. Plaintiff did not own or operate a factory, and did not possess any presses or other machinery required to stamp out the required metal parts. In quarters 30 feet by 30 feet in a building in Chicago it maintained an office and a small stock supply. The visors were made largely from stainless steel purchased by Davis from Rigidtex Corporation. Plaintiff did not have inspectors or other employees stationed at the Davis factory. Davis shipped the sun visors only as ordered by plaintiff or its sales agent, packing the visors in cartons. Plaintiff furnished to Davis for use on the cartons advertising and labels representing that plaintiff was the manufacturer of the visors. Plaintiff had obtained the registered trademark "Skyshield" which, with the name "Comet," was used to designate the sun visors involved in this action. This mark was incorporated in the dies used and was thus stamped on the visors.

The contract, which was in the form of a letter from Davis to plaintiff with a notation of acceptance by the latter, also contained the following provisions, among others:

"5. After the first run of 10,000 units is completed, analysis of production costs and tool amortization shall be made for the purpose of adjusting our unit charge to you.
"6. You will make proper application to the Internal Revenue Department to determine what excise tax shall apply, if any, and at what point in the billing the tax shall be computed and assessed; you to furnish us with a copy of the Treasury Department\'s ruling. * * *
"7. All orders received by us from you shall be considered firm orders and any cancellation shall be at your responsibility for all raw materials and fabricated parts and supplies purchased for such orders subject to whatever recovery we may be able to obtain from our suppliers through cancellations and return of materials and supplies."

Plaintiff sold the visors to distributors at $8.08 per unit, and, based on that figure, paid excise taxes of $45,669.28, and in its complaint plaintiff sought judgment for that amount. However, by stipulation, plaintiff has waived any right to recover the portion of the tax paid computed on its cost of $6.30 per visor, which plaintiff claimed should have been collected from Davis. The net result is that plaintiff is now seeking recovery of the difference between the tax paid based on $8.08 per visor (its selling price), and a tax based on $6.30 per visor (the amount it paid to Davis), or approximately a tax of 8c per visor.

The issues were tried to a jury and at the conclusion of plaintiff's evidence the court directed a verdict for defendant on the ground that the sales of sun visors by the plaintiff were sales by the manufacturer within the meaning of Sec. 3403(c), Internal Revenue Code.

The statute and regulations involved are:

"Sec. 3403. Tax on automobiles, etc.
"There shall be imposed upon the following articles sold by the manufacturer, producer, or importer, a tax equivalent to the following percentages of the price for which so sold: * * * (c) Parts or accessories * * *." 26 U.S.C. § 3403(c).
"Treasury Regulations 46 (1940 Ed.):
"Sec. 316.4. Who is a manufacturer. — The term `manufacturer\' includes a person who produces a taxable article from scrap, salvage, or junk material, as well as from new or raw material, (1) by processing, manipulating, or changing the form of an article, or (2) by combining or assembling two or more articles.
"Under certain circumstances, as where a person manufactures or produces a taxable article for a person who furnishes materials and retains title thereto, the person for whom the taxable article is manufactured or produced, and not the person who actually manufactures or produces it, will be considered the manufacturer.
"A manufacturer who sells a taxable article in a knockdown condition, but complete as to all component parts, is liable for the tax, and not the person who buys, and assembles a taxable article from, such component parts.
"Sec. 316.5. When tax attaches. — In general the tax attaches when the title to the article sold passes from the manufacturer to a purchaser.
"When title passes is dependent upon the intention of the parties as gathered from the contract of sale and the attendant circumstances. In the absence of expressed intention, the legal rules of presumption followed in the jurisdiction where the sale is made govern in determining when title passes. Generally, title passes upon delivery of the article to the purchaser or to a carrier for the purchaser."

That sun visors are manufactured automobile accessories which under Sec. 3403 of the Code, are subject to excise tax at the time they are sold by the manufacturer is not disputed. The question for determination is whether plaintiff was the "manufacturer" of the sun visors within the purview of the applicable statutes and regulations. The evidence pertaining to this phase of the case is not in dispute.

The taxpayer and the government each claim support for their respective contentions in the second paragraph of Sec. 316.4, Treas. Reg. 46. The government cites this paragraph to demonstrate that one who makes the initial sale of a manufactured article need not have personally produced it to be subject to the excise tax as the manufacturer; on the other hand plaintiff points out that it did not furnish or retain title to the steel used by Davis in fabricating the sun visors, and that the regulation necessarily...

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    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • 23 Julio 2013
    ...(“We do not find design and development contrary to the ‘plain meaning’ of the word ‘manufacture.’ ”); see also Charles Peckat Mfg. Co. v. Jarecki, 196 F.2d 849, 851 (7th Cir.), cert. denied,344 U.S. 875, 73 S.Ct. 169, 97 L.Ed. 678 (1952) (finding a patent holder that contracted with an ind......
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    ...of ...." Carbon Steel Co. v. Lewellyn , 251 U.S. 501, 506, 40 S.Ct. 283, 64 L.Ed. 375 (1920) ; see also Charles Peckat Mfg. Co. v. Jarecki , 196 F.2d 849, 851 (7th Cir. 1952) ("[I]t is not unusual in taxing statutes for the term ‘manufacturer’ to include one who has contracted with others t......
  • Martin's Auto Trimming, Inc. v. Riddell
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    ...U.S. 570, 51 S.Ct. 601, 75 L.Ed. 1277; Standard Oil Company v. United States, 130 F.Supp. 821, 131 Ct.Cl. 644, and Peckat Mfg. Co. v. Jarecki, 7 Cir., 1952, 196 F.2d 849. It is obvious that appellant has misread the effect of the decisions in these cases. None of these cases hold that the e......
  • US Truck Sales Co. v. United States, 12454.
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    ...3 F.Supp. 635, 639, 77 Ct.Cl. 752; Indian Motorcycle Co. v. United States, 9 F. Supp. 608, 610, 80 Ct.Cl. 594; Charles Peckat Mfg. Co. v. Jarecki, 7 Cir., 196 F. 2d 849, 851. In Broad Motors Co. v. Smith, D.C.E.D.Pa., 86 F.Supp. 4, at page 6, the Court construed Sec. 3403 as follows: "The l......
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