Goldsmith v. United States Board of Tax Appeals

Decision Date01 March 1926
Docket NumberNo. 320,320
Citation46 S.Ct. 215,270 U.S. 117,70 L.Ed. 494
PartiesGOLDSMITH, Certified Public Accountant of State of New York, v. UNITED STATES BOARD OF TAX APPEALS
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

Mr. H. Ely Goldsmity, of New York City, pro se.

Mr. Chief Justice TAFT delivered the opinion of the Court.

H. Ely Goldsmith, a citizen of New York and qualified to practice as a certified public accountant by certificate issued under the laws of that state, filed a petition in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, asking for a writ of mandamus against the United States Board of Tax Appeals, created by the Revenue Act of 1924 (43 Stat. 253, 336, tit. 9, § 900 (Comp. St. Supp. 1925, § 6371 5/6 b)) to compel the board to enroll him as an attorney, with the right to practice before it, and to enjoin the board from interfering with his appearance before it in behalf of taxpayers whose interests are there being dealt with.

The petition avers that the board has published rules for admission of persons entitled to practice before it, by which attorneys at law admitted to courts of the United States and the states, and the District of Columbia, as well as certified public accountants duly qualified under the law of any state or the District are made eligible. The applicant is required to make a statement under oath, giving his name, residence, and the time and place of his admission to the bar, or of his qualification as a public accountant, and disclosing whether he has ever been disbarred, or his right to practice as a certified accountant has ever been revoked. The rules further provide that the board may in its discretion deny admission to any applicant, or suspend or disbar any person after admission.

The petitioner says that pursuant to these rules he made application showing that he was a public accountant of New York duly certified, and that his certificate was unrevoked; that he thereupon filed petitions for taxpayers before the board, but that he was then advised, September 5, 1924, by the board that the question of his admission to practice had been referred to a committee for investigation; that in due course he would be notified whether the committee desired him to appear before it, and of its action in the premises; and that on September 27 he received notice that his application had been received, considered, and denied. It does not appear that he made any further application to the board to be heard upon the question of his admission, but filed his petition for mandamus at once. In his petition, he denies the power of the board to make rules for admission of persons to practice before it.

Upon the filing of the petition, a judge of the Supreme Court of the District ordered a rule against the board to show cause. The members of the board answered the rule as if they were individual defendants, and set out at considerable length the discharge of the petitioner for improper conduct as examiner of municipal accounts in the office of state comptroller of New York (People ex rel. Goldschmidt v. Travis, 152 N. Y. S. 1058, 167 App. Div. 475; Id., 114 N. E. 1078, 219 N. Y. 589), and the rejection of the petitioner as an applicant for admission to practice in the Department of the Treasury because of improper advice to clients, as grounds upon which the committee and the board had denied his application to practice before it.

To this answer the petitioner replied consenting to the appearance of individual members of the board as defendants, denying some of the charges made, but averring that they were none of them competent evidence on the issue presented and were merely hearsay, and that the action in New York and in the Treasury Department was due to prejudice against him for doing his duty. To this reply the defendants demurred. Upon the issue thus presented, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition for mandamus.

The Court of Appeals of the District affirmed the judgment of the Supreme Court (4 f.(2d) 422, 55 App. D. C. 229), and the case has been brought here on error under section 250 of the Judicial Code (Comp. St. § 1227), as a case in which the construction of a law of the United States is drawn in question.

The chief issue made between the parties is whether the Board of Tax Appeals has power to adopt rules of practice before it by which it may limit those who appear before it to represent the interest of taxpayers to persons whom the board deem qualified to perform such service and to be of proper character.

The board is composed of members appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, with a chairman appointed by the board. It is charged with the duty of hearing and determining appeals from the Commissioner of Internal Revenue on questions of tax assessments for deficiencies in returns of taxpayers. Notice and opportunity of be heard is to be given to the taxpayer. Hearings before the board are to be open to the public. The board may subpoena witnesses, compel the...

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183 cases
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    ...a notice, hearing and opportunity to answer for the applicant as would constitute due process." Goldsmith v. Board of Tax Appeals, 270 U.S. 117, 123, 46 S. Ct. 215, 70 L. Ed. 494 (1926). 15. That language, taken from the current revision of § 31-349, although not identical to the language i......
  • Davis v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Kansas
    • March 25, 1976
    ...the type of interest deserving constitutional protection, the Court observed in a footnote: "Goldsmith v. United States Board of Tax Appeals, 270 U.S. 117, 46 S.Ct. 215, 70 L.Ed. 494, is a related case. There, the petitioner was a lawyer who had been refused admission to practice before the......
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    ...the respondent's general practice of law. We perceive no constitutional impediment to these proceedings. See Goldsmith v. United States Board of Tax Appeals, 270 U.S. 117 (1926). The respondent also maintains that there is an absence of statutory authority for this disbarment action. It is ......
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