New Colonial Ice Co v. Helvering, No. 547

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtVAN DEVANTER
PartiesNEW COLONIAL ICE CO., Inc., v. HELVERING, Commissioner of Internal Revenue
Decision Date28 May 1934
Docket NumberNo. 547

292 U.S. 435
54 S.Ct. 788
78 L.Ed. 1348
NEW COLONIAL ICE CO., Inc.,

v.

HELVERING, Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

No. 547.
Argued March 5, 6, 1934.
Decided May 28, 1934.

Page 436

Messrs. Joseph Sterling and Edward G. Griffin, both of New York City, for petitioner.

The Attorney General and Mr. H. Brian Holland, of Philadelphia, Pa., for respondent.

Mr. Justice VAN DEVANTER delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is a controversy respecting deficiencies in the petitioner's income taxes for 1922 and 1923.

Page 437

The question presented is, Where all the assets and business of an older corporation are taken over by a new corporation, specially organized for the purpose and having substantially the same capital structure, in exchange for a portion of its stock, which is distributed by the older corporation among the latter's stockholders share for share, thereby retiring the old shares, is the new corporation entitled, notwithstanding the change in corporate identity and ownership, to have its taxable income for the succeeding period computed and determined by deducting from its net income for that period the net losses sustained by the older corporation in the preceding period? The answer involves a construction of section 204(b) of the Revenue Act of 1921, c. 136, 42 Stat. 227, 231, which declares:

'If for any taxable year beginning after December 31, 1920, it appears upon the production of evidence satisfactory to the Commissioner that any taxpayer has sustained a net loss, the amount thereof shall be deducted from the net income of the taxpayer for the succeeding taxable year; and if such net loss is in excess of the net income for such succeeding taxable year, the amount of such excess shall be allowed as a deduction in computing the net income for the next succeeding taxable year; the deduction in all cases to be made under regulations prescribed by the Commission with the approval of the Secretary.'

The material facts out of which the controversy arises are as follows:

Both corporations were organized under the laws of New York for the purpose of producing and selling ice—the older in 1920, with an authorized capital of $750,000, and the new on April 13, 1922, with an authorized capital of $700,000. The older one had proceeded to issue and sell stock, acquire a site for its plant, and supply necessary equipment. When the equipment was only partly in

Page 438

stalled, and the plant was being operated at 40 per cent. of its intended capacity, the company became financially embarrassed and unable to meet its indebtedness or supply additional equipment needed to render the business profitable.

A creditors' committee was organized, and likewise a stockholders' committee. Investigation disclosed that much stock had been issued of which there was no record and for which no consideration was received. Negotiations resulted in the restoration and cancellation of the spurious stock and in an agreement to organize a new company to take over the assets and liabilities, proceed with the completion of the equipment, and continue the operation of the business. The agreement included provisions for the issue of stock by the new company to the old equal in class, par-value, and number of shares, to the outstanding stock so that the old company could make an exchange share for share with its stockholders and thereby retire its outstanding stock; for obtaining new funds with which to complete the equipment; for an extension of time by existing creditors; and for investing creditors with a supervising management through a stock voting trust until their claims were paid.

Accordingly the new corporation—petitioner here—was organized and took over the assets, liabilities, and business of the old corporation on April 13, 1922. Other provisions of the agreement were carried out in the manner contemplated, save in minor particulars not material here. The corporate existence of the old corporation continue (so it is stipulated) during the remainder of 1922 and all of 1923, but after the transfer it transacted no business and had no assets or income.

The old corporation sustained statutory net losses in the sum of $36,093.19 during 1921 and in the further sum of $10,338.90 during the part of 1922 preceding the transer. The new corporation realized a net income of $48,763.43 during the part of 1922 succeeding the transfer

Page 439

and of $56,242.55 during the year 1923. In this proceeding the new corporation asserts a right under section 204(b) to a deduction from its income so realized of the losses so sustained by the old corporation.

The petitioner insists that the continuity of the business was not broken by the transfer from the old company to the new; and this may be conceded. But it should be observed that this continuity was accomplished by deliberate elimination of the old company and substitution of the new one. Besides, the matter of importance here, as will be shown presently, is not continuity of business alone but of ownership and tax liability as well. Had the transfer from one company to the other been effected by an unconditional sale for cash, there would have been continuity of business, but not of...

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2822 practice notes
  • Farmers Cooperative Co. v. Birmingham, Civ. No. 537.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • October 8, 1949
    ...tax purposes; and that is what they have to determine in the case of patronage dividends. In New Colonial Ice Company v. Helvering, 1934, 292 U.S. 435, 440, 54 S.Ct. 788, 790, 78 L.Ed. 1348, 1352, the United States Supreme Court stated, "* * * a taxpayer seeking a deduction must be able to ......
  • Southern Pacific Transp. Co. v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, Docket No. 3493-69.
    • United States
    • U.S. Tax Court
    • December 31, 1980
    ...premise for which petitioner cites the case is of dubious validity in light of subsequent cases such as New Colonial Ice Co v Helvering 292 U.S. 435 (1934), and its progeny. 414. For the purposes of this discussion, we will assume that our conclusion regarding basis carryover does not precl......
  • N. Cal. Small Bus. Assistants Inc. v. Comm'r, 153 T.C. No. 4
    • United States
    • United States Tax Court
    • October 23, 2019
    ...in accordance with Congress' policy objectives. INDOPCO, Inc. v. Commissioner, 503 U.S. 79, 84 (1992); New Colonial Ice Co. v. Helvering, 292 U.S. 435, 440 (1934); see Keeler v. Commissioner, 70 T.C. 279, 284-285 (1978). Under the Sixteenth Amendment, "[t]he power of Congress to tax gross i......
  • In re Vermont Toy Works, Inc., Bankruptcy No. 85-252
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Second Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court —District of Vermont
    • December 23, 1987
    ...otherwise would present an obstacle to the due protection or enforcement of public or private rights," New Colonial Ice Co. v. Helvering, 292 U.S. 435, 442, 54 S.Ct. 788, 791, 78 L.Ed. 1348, 1353 (1934), to serve the ends of natural justice, Bangor Punta Operations v. Bangor & A.R. Co., 417......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2813 cases
  • Farmers Cooperative Co. v. Birmingham, Civ. No. 537.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • October 8, 1949
    ...tax purposes; and that is what they have to determine in the case of patronage dividends. In New Colonial Ice Company v. Helvering, 1934, 292 U.S. 435, 440, 54 S.Ct. 788, 790, 78 L.Ed. 1348, 1352, the United States Supreme Court stated, "* * * a taxpayer seeking a deduction must be able to ......
  • Southern Pacific Transp. Co. v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, Docket No. 3493-69.
    • United States
    • U.S. Tax Court
    • December 31, 1980
    ...premise for which petitioner cites the case is of dubious validity in light of subsequent cases such as New Colonial Ice Co v Helvering 292 U.S. 435 (1934), and its progeny. 414. For the purposes of this discussion, we will assume that our conclusion regarding basis carryover does not precl......
  • N. Cal. Small Bus. Assistants Inc. v. Comm'r, 153 T.C. No. 4
    • United States
    • United States Tax Court
    • October 23, 2019
    ...in accordance with Congress' policy objectives. INDOPCO, Inc. v. Commissioner, 503 U.S. 79, 84 (1992); New Colonial Ice Co. v. Helvering, 292 U.S. 435, 440 (1934); see Keeler v. Commissioner, 70 T.C. 279, 284-285 (1978). Under the Sixteenth Amendment, "[t]he power of Congress to tax gross i......
  • In re Vermont Toy Works, Inc., Bankruptcy No. 85-252
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Second Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court —District of Vermont
    • December 23, 1987
    ...otherwise would present an obstacle to the due protection or enforcement of public or private rights," New Colonial Ice Co. v. Helvering, 292 U.S. 435, 442, 54 S.Ct. 788, 791, 78 L.Ed. 1348, 1353 (1934), to serve the ends of natural justice, Bangor Punta Operations v. Bangor & A.R. Co., 417......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 firm's commentaries
1 books & journal articles
  • Down the Rabbit Hole With the IRS' Challenge to Perpetual Conservation Easements, Part Two
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 51-3, March 2021
    • March 1, 2021
    ...Court Rule 142(a), 60 T.C. 1057, 1133 (1973); INDOPCO, Inc. v. Commissioner, 503 U.S. 79, 84 (1992); New Colonial Ice Co. v. Helvering, 292 U.S. 435, 440 (1934); Welch v. Helvering, 290 U.S. 111, 115 (1933). 94. See Tax Court Rule 142(a); INDOPCO, Inc. , 503 U.S. at 84; New Colonial Ice Co.......

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