Stockholms Enskilda Bank v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE

Decision Date29 April 1932
Docket NumberDocket No. 55755.
Citation25 BTA 1328
PartiesSTOCKHOLMS ENSKILDA BANK, PETITIONER, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, RESPONDENT
CourtU.S. Board of Tax Appeals

Truman Henson, Esq., for the petitioner.

O. J. Tall, Esq., for the respondent.

OPINION.

MARQUETTE:

The petitioner is a foreign corporation, organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Kingdom of Sweden, with its principal office in said country, and has no office or place of business in the United States. During the year 1927 petitioner received from the United States Government the sum of $8,683.91 as interest on a refund of Federal income taxes theretofore overpaid for a prior year. The Commissioner increased petitioner's income for the year 1927 by including therein said sum of $8,683.91; and on account of such increase determined a deficiency in the sum of $1,173.32, from which determination the petitioner brings this appeal.

The only question for decision is whether interest paid by the United States to a nonresident foreign corporation on a refund of Federal income taxes in 1927 is a part of gross income from sources within the United States as defined in section 217 (a) (1) of the Revenue Act of 1926.

Section 233 of the Revenue Act of 1926 provides as follows:

(b) In the case of a foreign corporation, gross income means only gross income from sources within the United States, determined (except in the case of insurance companies subject to the tax imposed by sections 243 or 246) in the manner provided in section 217.

Section 217 (a) of the Revenue Act of 1926 provides in part as follows:

(a) In the case of a nonresident alien individual * * * the following items of gross income shall be treated as income from sources within the United States:

(1) Interest on bonds, notes, or other interest-bearing obligations of residents, corporate or otherwise, not including (A) interest on deposits with persons carrying on the banking business paid to persons not engaged in business within the United States and not having an office or place of business therein, * * * Subdivision (c) of the said section 217 provides in part as follows:

(c) The following items of gross income shall be treated as income from sources without the United States:

(1) Interest other than that derived from sources within the United States as provided in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).

Section 284 (a) of the Revenue Act of 1926 provides:

Where there has been an overpayment of any income, war-profits, or excess-profits tax * * *, the amount of such overpayment shall * * * be credited against any income, war-profits, or excess-profits tax or installment thereof then due from the taxpayer, and any balance of such excess shall be refunded immediately to the taxpayer.

Section 1116 of the Revenue Act of 1926 provides in part:

(a) Upon the allowance of a credit or refund of any internal-revenue tax erroneously * * * collected * * * interest shall be allowed and paid on the amount of such credit or refund at the rate of 6 per centum per annum from the date such tax * * * was paid to the date of the allowance of the refund * * *.

The petitioner rests its case on two propositions, (1) that interest paid by the United States Government upon a refund of Federal income taxes is not "interest on bonds, notes or other interest-bearing obligations" within the purview of section 217 (a) (1) of the act, and invokes the rule of ejusdem generis to support its contention; and (2) that in any event, the interest is not upon the obligations "of residents, corporate or otherwise," for the reason that the United States is not a "resident" within the intent and meaning of the statute.

It is at once apparent that all interest, even though concededly from sources within the United States, is not to be treated as interest from sources within the United States, for subdivision (c) (1) of section 217 provides that interest other than that derived from sources within the United States as provided in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall be treated as income from sources without the United States. Therefore to constitute gross income from sources within the United States the interest herein must be brought within the provisions of said paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).

We think the petitioner's first contention can not be sustained. The rule of ejusdem generis is but an aid in the construction of a statute, and the rule must give way where the statute manifests a contrary purpose. Reading this subdivision as a whole, we think it is apparent that the Congress did not intend to restrict the inclusion to interest on obligations of a like character as bonds or notes, for it speaks of interest on deposits...

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