United States v. Sullivan, No. 851

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtHOLMES
Citation47 S.Ct. 607,71 L.Ed. 1037,274 U.S. 259
PartiesUNITED STATES v. SULLIVAN
Docket NumberNo. 851
Decision Date16 May 1927

274 U.S. 259
47 S.Ct. 607
71 L.Ed. 1037
UNITED STATES

v.

SULLIVAN.

No. 851.
Argued April 27, 1927.
Decided May 16, 1927.

Page 260

The Attorney General and Mrs. Mabel Walker Willebrandt, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the United States.

[Argument of Counsel from page 260 intentionally omitted]

Page 261

Mr. Frederick W. Aley, of Charleston, S. C., pro hac vice, for respondent.

[Argument of Counsel from page 261 intentionally omitted]

Page 262

Mr. Justice HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.

The defendant in error was convicted of willfully refusing to make a return of his net income as required by the Revenue Act of 1921, Act Nov. 23, 1921, c. 136, §§ 223(a), 253 (42 Stat. 227, 250, 268 (Comp. St. §§ 6336 1/8 kk, 6336 1/8 v)). The judgment was reversed by the Circuit Court of Appeals. Sullivan v. United States, 15 F.(2d) 809. A writ of certiorari was granted by this Court.

We may take it that the defendant had sufficient gross income to require a return under the statute unless he was exonerated by the fact that the whole or a large

Page 263

part of it was derived from business in violation of the National Prohibition Act (Comp. St. § 10138 1/4 et seq.). The Circuit Court of Appeals held that gains from illicit traffic in liquor were subject to the income tax, but that the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution protected the defendant from the requirement of a return.

The Court below was right in holding that the defendant's gains were subject to the tax. By section 213(a), being Comp. St. § 6336 1/8 ff, gross income includes 'gains, profits, and income derived from * * * the transaction of any business carried on for gain or profit, or gains or profits and income derived from any source whatever.' These words are also those of the earlier Act of October 3, 1913, c. 16, section II, B (38 Stat. 114, 167), except that the word 'lawful' is omitted before 'business' in the passage just quoted. By section 600 (42 Stat. 285 (Comp. St. § 5986e)), and by another Act approved on the same day Congress applied other tax laws to this forbidden traffic. Act Nov. 23, 1921, c. 134, § 5 (42 Stat. 222, 223 (Comp. St. §§ 10138 4/5 c-10138 1/5 e)). United States v. One Ford Coupe , 272 U. S. 321, 327, 47 S. Ct. 154, 47 A. L. R. 1025;1 United States v. Stafoff, 260 U. S. 477, 480, 43 S. Ct. 197, 67 L. Ed. 358. We see no reason to doubt the interpretation of the Act, or any reason why the fact that a business is unlawful should exempt it...

To continue reading

Request your trial
440 practice notes
  • Marchetti v. United States Grosso v. United States, Nos. 2
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • January 29, 1968
    ...Brown v. Walker, supra, at 599—600, 16 S.Ct. at 647—648. Moreover, unlike the income tax return at issue in United States v. Sullivan, 274 U.S. 259, 47 S.Ct. 607, 71 L.Ed. 1037, petitioner's submission of an excise tax payment, and his replies to the questions on the attendant return, would......
  • Slevin v. City of New York, No. 79 Civ. 4524 (ADS)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • December 15, 1982
    ...not justify refusal to file an income tax return simply because certain disclosures might tend to incriminate. United States v. Sullivan, 274 U.S. 259, 47 S.Ct. 607, 71 L.Ed. 1037 (1927). This is not a case like Marchetti v. United States, 390 U.S. 39, 88 S.Ct. 697, 19 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968), o......
  • Schoeps v. Carmichael, No. 12008.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 23, 1949
    ...Investigation. 13 8 Wigmore on Evidence, supra, § 2380 et seq. 14 On the scope of the privilege see United States v. Sullivan, 1927, 274 U.S. 259, 47 S.Ct. 607, 71 L.Ed. 1037, 51 A.L.R. 1020; Arndstein v. McCarthy, 1920, 254 U.S. 71, 41 S.Ct. 26, 65 L.Ed. 138; Mason v. United States, 1917, ......
  • United States v. General Motors Corporation, Civ. No. H-74-314.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • October 24, 1975
    ...essentially regulatory schemes, see California v. Byers, 402 U.S. 424, 91 S.Ct. 1535, 29 L.Ed.2d 9 (1971) and United States v. Sullivan, 274 U.S. 259, 47 S.Ct. 607, 71 L.Ed. 1037 (1927), and those cases which invalidate such requirements in criminal statutes aimed at selective groups inhere......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
438 cases
  • Marchetti v. United States Grosso v. United States, Nos. 2
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • January 29, 1968
    ...Brown v. Walker, supra, at 599—600, 16 S.Ct. at 647—648. Moreover, unlike the income tax return at issue in United States v. Sullivan, 274 U.S. 259, 47 S.Ct. 607, 71 L.Ed. 1037, petitioner's submission of an excise tax payment, and his replies to the questions on the attendant return, would......
  • Slevin v. City of New York, No. 79 Civ. 4524 (ADS)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • December 15, 1982
    ...not justify refusal to file an income tax return simply because certain disclosures might tend to incriminate. United States v. Sullivan, 274 U.S. 259, 47 S.Ct. 607, 71 L.Ed. 1037 (1927). This is not a case like Marchetti v. United States, 390 U.S. 39, 88 S.Ct. 697, 19 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968), o......
  • Schoeps v. Carmichael, No. 12008.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 23, 1949
    ...Investigation. 13 8 Wigmore on Evidence, supra, § 2380 et seq. 14 On the scope of the privilege see United States v. Sullivan, 1927, 274 U.S. 259, 47 S.Ct. 607, 71 L.Ed. 1037, 51 A.L.R. 1020; Arndstein v. McCarthy, 1920, 254 U.S. 71, 41 S.Ct. 26, 65 L.Ed. 138; Mason v. United States, 1917, ......
  • United States v. General Motors Corporation, Civ. No. H-74-314.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • October 24, 1975
    ...essentially regulatory schemes, see California v. Byers, 402 U.S. 424, 91 S.Ct. 1535, 29 L.Ed.2d 9 (1971) and United States v. Sullivan, 274 U.S. 259, 47 S.Ct. 607, 71 L.Ed. 1037 (1927), and those cases which invalidate such requirements in criminal statutes aimed at selective groups inhere......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 firm's commentaries

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT