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HANDY & HARMAN v. BURNET

decided: November 23, 1931.

HANDY & HARMAN
v.
BURNET, COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE



CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT.

Hughes, Holmes, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Brandeis, Sutherland, Butler, Stone, Roberts

Author: Butler

[ 284 U.S. Page 137]

 MR. JUSTICE BUTLER delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioner claims that it and Hamilton & DeLoss, Inc., were affiliated corporations as defined by § 240 of the Revenue Act of 1918 and that it is entitled to have its net income and invested capital for 1918 and the first month of 1919 determined on the basis of consolidated returns. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue held

[ 284 U.S. Page 138]

     them not affiliated, rejected petitioner's claim for abatement for 1918 and asserted a deficiency for 1919. The Board of Tax Appeals approved the Commissioner's determination (17 B. T. A. 980) and upon petition for review the Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 47 F.2d 184. That decision being in conflict with decisions of other Circuit Courts of Appeals,*fn1 this Court granted certiorari. 283 U.S. 813.

The pertinent provisions of the section follow (40 Stat. 1081):

"§ 240 (a). That corporations which are affiliated within the meaning of this section shall, under regulations to be prescribed by the Commissioner with the approval of the Secretary, make a consolidated return of net income and invested capital for the purposes of this title [Title II] and Title III, and the taxes thereunder shall be computed and determined upon the basis of such return: . . .

"(b). For the purpose of this section two or more domestic corporations shall be deemed to be affiliated . . . (2) if substantially all the stock of two or more corporations is owned or controlled by the same interests."

Petitioner carried on the business of dealing in gold and silver bullion and specie and furnishing to silversmiths silver rolled into sheets or coils. In 1916 its officers caused Hamilton & DeLoss, Inc., to be organized, to erect a factory and to take over the work of its stamping department.

[ 284 U.S. Page 139]

     During the taxable periods six men owned 93.71 per cent. of the stock of petitioner. The same men owned over 75 per cent. of the stock of Hamilton & DeLoss, Inc. Hamilton did not own or control any of the stock of petitioner. Twenty per cent. of the stock of the new company was issued to him and he became its president. He gave to a bank his notes endorsed by DeLoss to obtain money to pay for the stock. Before the beginning of 1918 he executed an irrevocable stock power to one Higgins, and the latter, by like instrument, assigned the stock to DeLoss, who deposited it with the bank as collateral security for the payment of Hamilton's notes. Hamilton failed to pay and, February 1, 1919, after the expiration of the tax periods, DeLoss paid the notes and took over the stock.

Prior to that time Hamilton attended all the stockholders' meetings but never voted in opposition to the owners of the majority stock of both corporations. Hamilton & DeLoss, Inc., paid him a salary at the rate of $10,000 per year, but the other officers of that corporation, being officers, directors or employees of the petitioner, received their compensation from the latter, although a large part of their time was devoted to the business of the former. During ...


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