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HAGGAR COMPANY v. HELVERING

decided: January 2, 1940.

HAGGAR COMPANY
v.
HELVERING, COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE



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

Hughes, McReynolds, Butler, Stone, Roberts, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas

Author: Stone

[ 308 U.S. Page 390]

 MR. JUSTICE STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.

Decision in this case turns on the question whether a capital stock tax return filed pursuant to § 215 of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933, 48 Stat. 195, 207, may be amended within the time fixed for filing the return.

[ 308 U.S. Page 391]

     Sections 215 and 216 of the National Industrial Recovery Act impose interrelated taxes on domestic corporations, namely an annual capital stock tax and an annual tax on profits in excess of 12 1/2 per cent of the capital stock, calculated on the basis of the value of the capital stock as fixed by the corporation's return for the first year in which the tax is imposed.

Section 215 (a) imposes on domestic corporations an annual tax with respect to carrying on or doing business for any part of the taxable year at the rate of "$1 for each $1,000 of the adjusted declared value of its capital stock." Section 215 (f) provides that "For the first year ending June 30 in respect of which a tax is imposed by this section upon any corporation, the adjusted declared value shall be the value, as declared by the corporation in its first return under this section (which declaration of value cannot be amended), as of the close of its last income-tax taxable year ending at or prior to the close of the year for which the tax is imposed by this section. . . . For any subsequent year ending June 30, the adjusted declared value in the case of a domestic corporation shall be the original declared value" as changed by certain prescribed capital adjustments occasioned by increases and decreases of capital occurring after "the date as of which the original declared value was declared." Section 216 (a) imposes an annual tax upon so much of the net income of a corporation taxable under § 215 (a) as is in excess of 12 1/2 per cent of the "adjusted declared value of its capital stock . . . as of the close of the preceding income-tax taxable year (or as of the date of organization if it had no preceding income-tax taxable year) . . ."

It will be observed that by § 215 (a) and (f) the declared value of capital stock which is made the basis of computation of both taxes is not required to conform either to the actual or to the nominal capital of the taxpaying

[ 308 U.S. Page 392]

     corporation; and that the declared value for the first taxable year, with the addition or subtraction of specified items of subsequent capital gains or losses is made the basis of the computation of both taxes in later years. The taxpayer is thus left free to declare any value of capital stock for its first taxable year which it may elect, but since the declared value for the first year is a controlling factor for the computation of taxes for later years, the statute provides that the declaration once made cannot be amended. Because of the method of computation, increase or decrease in the declared value of capital, and of the corresponding tax, produces, as the case may be, a decrease or an increase in the tax on excess profits.

In August, 1933, petitioner, a Texas corporation, mistakenly believing that it was required to state the par value of its issued capital stock in its tax return, filed a timely return for the year ending June 30, 1933, declaring the value of its entire capital stock to be $120,000 and paid the tax of $120. The date for filing returns for that year having been extended to September 29, 1933, T. D. 4368, 4386, petitioner before that date filed an amended return, declaring the value of its capital stock to be $250,000. On March 15, 1934, petitioner filed its income and excess profits tax return for the calendar year 1933. The Commissioner, having refused to accept the amended capital stock return, gave notice of a deficiency in the excess profits tax calculated upon the basis of the capital stock value of $120,000 as declared in petitioner's original return.

The Board of Tax Appeals determined that petitioner's capital stock and excess profits tax should be computed on the basis of $120,000 capital stock value as originally stated instead of $250,000 stock value declared in its amended return, found a deficiency, and ...


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