Tait v. Western Maryland Ry Co, No. 842

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtROBERTS
Citation53 S.Ct. 706,77 L.Ed. 1405,289 U.S. 620
Decision Date29 May 1933
Docket NumberNo. 842
PartiesTAIT, Collector of Internal Revenue, v. WESTERN MARYLAND RY. CO

289 U.S. 620
53 S.Ct. 706
77 L.Ed. 1405
TAIT, Collector of Internal Revenue,

v.

WESTERN MARYLAND RY. CO.

No. 842.
Argued May 12, 1933.
Decided May 29, 1933.

Page 621

The Attorney General and Mr. Whitney North Seymour, of Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Messrs. Eugene S. Williams and William C. Purnell, both of Baltimore, Md., for respondent.

Mr. Justice ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.

Between the years 1902 and 1908 the Western Maryland Rail Road Company, a Maryland c rporation, sold and issued at a discount, large amounts of its first mortgage bonds. In foreclosure proceedings under a second mortgage its entire property was sold to a reorganization committee representing second mortgage bondholders, and a new company formed under the name the Western

Page 622

Maryland Railway Company took title to all the assets and operated the railroad. In 1911 the latter issued and sold at a discount additional bonds secured by the first mortgage of the original corporation.

In 1917 the Western Maryland Railway Company was consolidated, pursuant to Maryland statutes, with some seven subsidiaries. The new corporation so formed, named Western Maryland Railway Company, recognized as its own obligations the outstanding first mortgage bonds issued by its two predecessors. In computing this company's income tax for the years 1918 and 1919 the Commissioner of Internal Revenue refused to allow as a deduction from gross income an amortized proportion of the discount on the sales of bonds by the first and second companies. The Board of Tax Appeals sustained the ruling. 1 The Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the decision of the Board.2

In returns for 1920, 1921, and 1922 the company neglected to take any deduction for amortization of the bond discount in question. It made timely claim for refund for all three years, and, upon denial, brought a suit for the amount claimed against the petitioner, as collector; and also sued the United States for refund of the alleged overpayment for 1920. Deductions taken on the same ground for 1923, 1924, and 1925 were disallowed by the Commissioner, the resulting deficiencies in tax were paid under protest, claims for refund filed and disallowed, and suit brought against the petitioner as collector. The District Court consolidated the cases and tried them without a jury on an agreed stipulation. That court found that no facts were presented which had not been before the Board of Tax Appeals in the litigation over the 1918 and 1919 taxes, that the parties were concluded by the

Page 623

former decision, and rendered judgment for the respondent,3 which the Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.4

The petitioner seeks a reversal on the merits, asserting that a judgment in a suit concerning income tax for a given year cannot estop either of the parties in a later action touching liability for taxes of another year. He urges further that, if this position is not well taken, he is not concluded by the former judgment because neither the proofs nor the parties are the same as in the prior proceeding.

1. The scope of the estoppel of a judgment depends upon whether the question arises in a subsequent action between the same parties upon the same claim or demand or upon a different claim or demand. In the former case a judgment upon the merits is an absolute bar to the subsequent action. In the latter the inquiry is whether the point or question to be determined in the later action is the same as that litigated and determined in the original action. Cromwell v. County of Sac, 94 U.S. 351, 352, 353, 24 L.Ed. 195; Southern Pacific R. Co. v. United States, 168 U.S. 1, 48, 18 S.Ct. 18, 42 L.Ed. 355; United States v. Moser, 266 U.S. 236, 241, 45 S.Ct. 66, 69 L.Ed. 262. Since the claim in the first suit concerned taxes for 1918 and 1919 and the demands in the present actions embraced taxes for 1920—1925, the case at bar falls within the second class. The courts below held the lawfulness of the respondent's deduction of amortized discount on the bonds of the predecessor companies was adjudicated in the earlier suit. The petitioner, admitting the question was in issue and decided in respect of the bonds issued by the second company, and denying, for reasons presently to be stated, that this is true as to the bonds of the first company, contends that as to both the decision o the Court of Appeals is erroneous, for the reason that the thing adjudged in a

Page 624

suit for one year's tax cannot affect the rights of the parties in an action for taxes of another year.

As petitioner...

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345 practice notes
  • Harnischfeger Sales Corporation v. Sternberg Dredging Co, 33421
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • June 3, 1940
    ...and that principle, it seems to us, should certainly apply with equal force to a plea of res adjudicata. Tait v. Western Md. Ry. Co., 289 U.S. 620, 77 L.Ed. 1405; Blair v. Commissioner, 300 U.S. 9, 81 L.Ed. 469; Watkins v. Miss. State Board of Pharmacy, 154 So. 277, 170 Miss. 26; Morris & C......
  • J.E. Blank, Inc., v. Lennox Land Co., No. 37647.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 20, 1943
    ...is binding. McFarland v. McFarland, 278 Mo. 1, 211 S.W. 23; Seested v. Dickey, 318 Mo. 192, 300 S.W. 1088; Tait v. West Maryland Ry. Co., 289 U.S. 620, 53 Sup. Ct. Rep. 706, 77 L. Ed. 1405; Continental Pet. Co. v. United States, 87 Fed. (2d) 91; Kelley v. United States, 90 Fed. (2d) 73; Buc......
  • A.B.C. Truck Lines v. Kenemer, 6 Div. 391.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • March 28, 1946
    ...judgment operates as an estoppel only to those matters in issue or questions controverted and determined. Tait v. Western Maryland R. Co., 289 U.S. 620, 53 S.Ct. 706, 77 L.Ed. 1405; Cromwell v. County of Sac, 94 U.S. 351, 24 L.Ed. 195. But, in the latter mentioned case, if 'some matter liti......
  • United States v. Rexach, No. 72-1051.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • June 27, 1973
    ...from prohibiting him from using the same formula for these projects in 1959. He particularly relies on Tait v. Western Maryland R.R. Co., 289 U.S. 620, 53 S.Ct. 706, 77 L.Ed. 1405 (1933) and Thomas v. C. I. R., 324 F.2d 798 (5th Cir. 1963), which the district court cited in sustaining taxpa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
345 cases
  • Harnischfeger Sales Corporation v. Sternberg Dredging Co, 33421
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • June 3, 1940
    ...and that principle, it seems to us, should certainly apply with equal force to a plea of res adjudicata. Tait v. Western Md. Ry. Co., 289 U.S. 620, 77 L.Ed. 1405; Blair v. Commissioner, 300 U.S. 9, 81 L.Ed. 469; Watkins v. Miss. State Board of Pharmacy, 154 So. 277, 170 Miss. 26; Morris & C......
  • J.E. Blank, Inc., v. Lennox Land Co., No. 37647.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 20, 1943
    ...is binding. McFarland v. McFarland, 278 Mo. 1, 211 S.W. 23; Seested v. Dickey, 318 Mo. 192, 300 S.W. 1088; Tait v. West Maryland Ry. Co., 289 U.S. 620, 53 Sup. Ct. Rep. 706, 77 L. Ed. 1405; Continental Pet. Co. v. United States, 87 Fed. (2d) 91; Kelley v. United States, 90 Fed. (2d) 73; Buc......
  • A.B.C. Truck Lines v. Kenemer, 6 Div. 391.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • March 28, 1946
    ...judgment operates as an estoppel only to those matters in issue or questions controverted and determined. Tait v. Western Maryland R. Co., 289 U.S. 620, 53 S.Ct. 706, 77 L.Ed. 1405; Cromwell v. County of Sac, 94 U.S. 351, 24 L.Ed. 195. But, in the latter mentioned case, if 'some matter liti......
  • United States v. Rexach, No. 72-1051.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • June 27, 1973
    ...from prohibiting him from using the same formula for these projects in 1959. He particularly relies on Tait v. Western Maryland R.R. Co., 289 U.S. 620, 53 S.Ct. 706, 77 L.Ed. 1405 (1933) and Thomas v. C. I. R., 324 F.2d 798 (5th Cir. 1963), which the district court cited in sustaining taxpa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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