Tavener v. Tax Comm'n of Iowa, No. 45711.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtHALE
Citation300 N.W. 653,231 Iowa 162
PartiesTAVENER v. TAX COMMISSION OF IOWA et al.
Docket NumberNo. 45711.
Decision Date18 November 1941

231 Iowa 162
300 N.W. 653

TAVENER
v.
TAX COMMISSION OF IOWA et al.

No. 45711.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

Nov. 18, 1941.


Appeal from District Court, Franklin County; Dean W. Peisen, Judge.

Action in equity to enjoin the assessing and collecting of inheritance tax upon plaintiff's life estate in real property. Motion to dismiss sustained; judgment entered for defendants, and plaintiff appeals.

Affirmed.

[300 N.W. 654]

Hirschburg & Reynolds, of Ames, for appellant.

John M. Rankin, Atty. Gen., John E. Mulroney, Asst. Atty. Gen., and C. Ream Daughrity, of Ida Grove, Counsel for Inheritance Tax Division, for appellees.


HALE, Justice.

Lou Mallory Luke, a resident of Hampton, died testate on the 31st day of May, 1940, owning among other property the north 22 feet of lot 1, block 22, original town of Hampton. By her will she devised to Harriett Edith Webb Tavener, plaintiff herein, a life estate in that property, subject to the provision, among others, that the life tenant shall be charged with the payment of all taxes and other expenses mentioned. After various bequests she devised the remainder interest in said property to the Hampton Public Library, which is a library open to the use of the public and one not operated for gain. The petition states that the defendant tax commission caused the real estate to be appraised for the purpose of imposing inheritance taxes upon the plaintiff's life use or estate, and asks decree adjudging that her life estate is not subject to inheritance tax and that it be freed from said tax, and that the commission and its members be permanently enjoined and restrained from imposing or attempting to impose inheritance taxes against plaintiff's succession to the life estate, and for equitable relief. To this petition defendants filed motion to dismiss on the ground that the petition and amendment did not entitle the plaintiff to the relief demanded, and that the pleadings showed that plaintiff is a niece of deceased and that she is subject to the inheritance tax on the succession of said life estate. This motion was sustained by the court and plaintiff appeals.

Plaintiff asks that the judgment and decree be reversed for the reason that a life estate, or estate in exempt real property is not subject to the tax imposed under the provisions of chapter 351, § 7305 et seq., of the Code; and in support of this contention submits the following proposition: That a life estate in real property, exempt or not, placed thereon by the owner, does not become upon such owner's death an asset of his estate, and is therefore not included in the term “estates of * * * decedents,” the words of the general imposing statute, Code section 7306. Plaintiff cites Code sections 7306, 7307, and 7342, and the cases of Wolf v. Wolf, 152 Iowa 121, 131 N.W. 882, and In re Estate of Pitt, 153 Iowa 269, 133 N.W. 660, none of which we think supports the proposition in issue, and with plaintiff's argument we do not agree.

[1] In considering the above proposition, plaintiff argues that, as to interpretation of the statutes under consideration, if a statute imposing taxes is subject to construction, all doubts must be resolved against the government and in favor of the taxpayer (citing various cases). This proposition may be conceded.

[2] As to plaintiff's argument as to interpretation of ambiguous statutes, it is unnecessary to review the authorities cited, as plaintiff's argument sets out general rules of interpretation which are generally recognized and not controverted. But she fails to point out such ambiguity as requires the application of these rules, nor are these statutes ambiguous.

Plaintiff relies upon the proposition as follows: “If it can be said, or held, that life estates in exempt real property are within the provisions of the general imposing statute, then they are immediately taken therefrom by the special section 7308.” Section 7308, referred to herein, is: “The tax imposed by this chapter shall not be collected: * * * 2. When the property passes in any manner to societies, institutions or associations incorporated or organized under the laws of this state for * * * educational * * * purposes * * *. 3. When...

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6 practice notes
  • Evans' Estate, Matter of, No. 2-58502
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 25, 1977
    ...is a lien) on the property itself, or upon the estate, but upon the succession or right to take by succession." Tavener v. Tax Commission, 231 Iowa 162, 166, 300 N.W. 653, 655 "Rights of succession to the property of a deceased, whether by will or by intestacy, are of statutory creation, an......
  • Millard's Estate, In re, No. 50060
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 20, 1960
    ...of Thompson, 196 Iowa 721, 722-723, 195 N.W. 250; Waterman v. Burbank, 196 Iowa 793, 797-799, 195 N.W. 191; Tavener v. Tax Commission, 231 Iowa 162, 300 N.W. 653; In re Estate of Wickham, supra, 241 Iowa 198, 40 N.W.2d 469. [251 Iowa 1292] Our inheritance tax law, enacted in 1896 as chapter......
  • Schnepp's Estate, In re, No. 51839
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 14, 1965
    ...subject to construction, all doubts must be resolved against the government and in favor of the taxpayer. Tavener v. Tax Commission, 231 Iowa 162, 164, 300 N.W. 653. It may be that this rule disposes of the case, but we believe the commission's position deserves further Page 888 The tax com......
  • Waddington's Estate, In re, No. 55061
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 19, 1972
    ...rather a tax on the right of succession. In re Jackman's Estate, 255 Iowa 410, 122 N.W.2d 910 (1963); Tavener v. Tax Commission of Iowa, 231 Iowa 162, 300 N.W. 653 One authority has concluded: 'The system of deductions, exemptions, and credits for state inheritance and estate taxation may b......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Evans' Estate, Matter of, No. 2-58502
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 25, 1977
    ...is a lien) on the property itself, or upon the estate, but upon the succession or right to take by succession." Tavener v. Tax Commission, 231 Iowa 162, 166, 300 N.W. 653, 655 "Rights of succession to the property of a deceased, whether by will or by intestacy, are of statutory creation, an......
  • Millard's Estate, In re, No. 50060
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 20, 1960
    ...of Thompson, 196 Iowa 721, 722-723, 195 N.W. 250; Waterman v. Burbank, 196 Iowa 793, 797-799, 195 N.W. 191; Tavener v. Tax Commission, 231 Iowa 162, 300 N.W. 653; In re Estate of Wickham, supra, 241 Iowa 198, 40 N.W.2d 469. [251 Iowa 1292] Our inheritance tax law, enacted in 1896 as chapter......
  • Schnepp's Estate, In re, No. 51839
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 14, 1965
    ...subject to construction, all doubts must be resolved against the government and in favor of the taxpayer. Tavener v. Tax Commission, 231 Iowa 162, 164, 300 N.W. 653. It may be that this rule disposes of the case, but we believe the commission's position deserves further Page 888 The tax com......
  • Waddington's Estate, In re, No. 55061
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 19, 1972
    ...rather a tax on the right of succession. In re Jackman's Estate, 255 Iowa 410, 122 N.W.2d 910 (1963); Tavener v. Tax Commission of Iowa, 231 Iowa 162, 300 N.W. 653 One authority has concluded: 'The system of deductions, exemptions, and credits for state inheritance and estate taxation may b......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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