Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Newman

Citation159 F.2d 848
Decision Date20 February 1947
Docket NumberNo. 16,Docket 20211.,16
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)

Melva M. Graney, Sp. Asst. to Atty. Gen. (Sewall Key, Acting Asst. Atty. Gen., and Helen R. Carloss, Sp. Asst. to Atty. Gen., on the brief), for petitioner.

Frederick E. Winkler, of New York City (Bruce McClain, of New York City, of counsel), for respondent.

Before L. HAND, SWAN, and CLARK, Circuit Judges.

CLARK, Circuit Judge.

The question presented is whether the income from two trusts established by Lillian M. Newman in 1940 is taxable to her husband, Sydney R. Newman, who is also trustee of both trusts. The two trusts were identical except for the income beneficiaries; one named the Newmans' minor daughter, the other their minor son, as recipient of the income for life, with remainder to the taxpayer, or, in case of his death, such persons as he should appoint, and in default thereof, to his distributees. Both trusts contained the usual grant of managerial powers and duties to the trustee in his official capacity. To these powers, successor trustees, provided for in the instruments, would succeed if respondent himself resigned or became incapacitated. There was, however, one grant of power to respondent individually, by name. This grant reads: "Said Sydney R. Newman shall have the power at any time during his life, by an instrument in writing delivered to the Trustee, to revoke this agreement, in whole or in part, or to alter or amend the same or to free any of the property held in trust from the terms of this trust, and upon receipt of such instrument in writing, the Trustee shall turn over to the Grantor any funds or property held by the Trustee hereunder as required by said written notice, and the receipt of the Grantor for such property shall be a full acquittance to the Trustee." If this grant empowers respondent to appropriate either the principal or the income of the trusts to himself, the income is taxable to him. Corliss v. Bowers, 281 U.S. 376, 50 S.Ct. 336, 74 L.Ed. 916; Richardson v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 2 Cir., 121 F.2d 1, certiorari denied 314 U.S. 684, 62 S.Ct. 188, 86 L.Ed. 584. The Tax Court, six judges dissenting, determined that it did not, 5 T.C. 603, and the Commissioner has petitioned this court for review.

Whether the grant gives respondent such power depends upon the intention of the grantor as expressed in the instruments. The instruments must be construed according to the law of New York because they were there executed and specifically provide that that law shall govern. Under New York law a power granted in trust must of course be exercised according to the provisions of the trust. But a power is not considered granted in trust unless its execution is beneficial to another who must be designated in or be clearly ascertainable from the instrument creating the power. Sweeney v. Warren, 127 N.Y. 426, 433, 434, 28 N.E. 413, 414, 24 Am.St.Rep. 468. Moreover, if a power is granted individually and not in trust, no intent to restrict it will be inferred from the fact that the grantee is in the same instrument given fiduciary duties. Manion v. Peoples Bank of Johnstown, 292 N.Y. 317, 55 N.E.2d 46. Such a power may be exercised for the grantee's own benefit. In the case at bar the powers to revoke, alter, and amend the trust and free the property from its terms are granted to respondent individually, by name. No inference that they were granted in trust may be drawn from the fact that he was also named trustee. All other powers and duties devolving upon respondent, even from the paragraph under discussion, were given him as "trustee." Since these powers alone were given to him by name, we must conclude that he was to enjoy them without restriction, regardless of who was trustee. Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Estate of Holmes, 326 U.S. 480, 489, 490, 66 S.Ct. 257. Moreover, the power to revoke the trust or free the property from it may be exercised only in a manner detrimental to the interests of the beneficiaries. By the exercise of these powers the interest of the beneficiaries in the trust property would necessarily be pro tanto destroyed. Since these powers so clearly cannot be considered as in trust, the others constituting a part of the same grant should not be differently construed.

As he therefore holds these powers individually, and not in trust, respondent may exercise them in whatever manner he sees fit, subject to limitations contained in the instrument. Under the grant the trustee, upon being notified of respondent's exercise of his powers, is required to transfer the property involved to the grantor. Since it does not provide affirmatively for the transfer of property to any one else, it is conceivable that this provision may prevent respondent from vesting the principal in any one but his wife. We need...

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  • In re Harris Teeter, LLC
    • United States
    • North Carolina Supreme Court
    • August 13, 2021
    ...L.Ed.2d 22 (1994) (O'Connor, J. concurring)).¶ 65 Later, Judge Hand expanded this principle in his dissent in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Newman, 159 F.2d 848 (1947) by observing: "Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one's affairs as t......
  • Yung v. Grant Thornton, LLP
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court — District of Kentucky
    • December 13, 2018
    ...are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant.Comm'r v. Newman, 159 F.2d 848, 850-51 (2d Cir. 1947) (Learned Hand, J., dissenting), cert. denied, 331 U.S. 859, 67 S.Ct. 1755, 91 L.Ed. 1866 (1947) ; quoted with approval, U.S. v. Thomps......
  • 31 318 Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. First Security Bank of Utah 8212 305
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    ...the classic statement of this principle is Judge Learned Hand's comment in his dissenting opinion in Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Newman, 159 F.2d 848, 850—851 (CA2 1947): 'Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one's affairs as to keep ta......
  • Caruth v. US
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Texas
    • October 20, 1987
    ...Atlantic Coast Line v. Phillips, 332 U.S. 168, 173, 67 S.Ct. 1584, 1587, 91 L.Ed. 1977 (1947) (quoting Commissioner v. Newman, 159 F.2d 848, 851 (2d Cir.1947) (Hand, C.J. Learned, 17 Section 42 of the Revenue Act of 1938 states: The amount of all items of gross income shall be included in g......
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