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Headline Publications Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

decided: February 2, 1959.

HEADLINE PUBLICATIONS, INC., PETITIONER,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, RVSPONDENT.



Author: Swan

Before SWAN, MEDINA and WATERMAN, Circuit Judges.

SWAN, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal by the taxpayer seeking review of a decision of the Tax Court with respect to appellant's excess profits tax for the taxable year ending November 30, 1945. By stipulation the parties submitted to the Tax Court for decision only the issue whether the applicable statute of limitations bars the allowance of petitioner's claim to an unused excess profits credit carry-over from the fiscal year 1944 and carry-back from the fiscal year 1946 to the fiscal year 1945. The Tax Court held the statute to be a bar. Its findings of fact and opinion are reported in 28 T.C. 1263.

At the outset we are faced with the suggestion, somewhat doubtfully advanced by the respondent, that this court lacks jurisdiction to review the decision of the Tax Court. With respect to judicial review 26 U.S.C.A. Excess Profits Taxes, § 732(c) provides: "If in the determination of the tax liability under this subchapter the determination of any question is necessary solely by reason of * * * section 722, the determination of such question shall not be reviewed or redetermined by any court or agency except the Tax Court." Section 722(d), 26 U.S.C.A. Excess Profits Taxes, incorporates by reference the time limitations of 26 U.S.C.A. (I.R.C. 1939) § 322.*fn1 In view of the Tax Court's denial of § 722 relief on the ground that the time limitations of § 322 precluded using for the year 1945 the unused carry-over from 1944 and the unused carry-back from 1946, we cannot say that the denial of relief was "solely by reason of" § 722. While the decision in George Kemp Real Estate Co. v. Commissioner, 2 Cir., 205 F.2d 236, certiorari denied 346 U.S. 876, 74 S. Ct. 129, 98 L. Ed. 384, is not so precisely in point as in Stern & Stern Textiles, Inc. v. Commissioner, 2 Cir., 263 F.2d 538, it is nevertheless an applicable precedent for the exercise of jurisdiction in this case.*fn2

The findings of evidentiary facts made by the Tax Court are not disputed. They will be found in its opinion and need not be here repeated. In October 1947 appellant filed a timely application for excess profits tax relief under § 722 of the 1939 Code for the fiscal year ended November 30, 1945. In March 1950 it filed an amendment to its application. The amendment asked for an unused excess profits credit carry-over from 1944 and carry-back from 1946. The amendment was filed after the time limitations prescribed by § 322 had run on claims for refunds based on carry-overs and carry-backs. Such time limitations expired on February 15, 1949 for a carry-over and February 15, 1950 for a carry-back.

The appellant argues first, that its original application inferentially included a claim for an excess profits carryover and carry-back since the amount of the refund claimed could not have been arrived at without their inclusion. But § 35.722-5 of Regulation 112 requires specificity in the application.It provides:

"* * * In addition to all other information required, such application shall contain a complete statement of the facts upon which it is based and which existed with respect to the taxable year for which the unused excess profits credit so computed is claimed to have arisen, and shall claim the benefit of the unused profits credit carry-over or carry-back."*fn3

The Tax Court, "Even assuming the correctness of the facts urged by the petitioner" concluded, "After a careful scrutiny of the record," that the original application failed to meet the requirements of the Regulation. We agree. A contrary ruling would doubtless have encouraged circumvention of the specificity requirements designed to give the Commissioner timely notice of the taxpayer's claims in this complicated filed. In view of the foregoing discussion, it is unnecessary to consider appellant's contention that the amendment of its application was timely because "no new research" was required by the Commissioner in auditing the amended claim.

Finally the appellant, in reliance on H. Fendrich, Inc. v. Commissioner, 7 Cir., 242 F.2d 803, 807, argues that the original application suspended the statute of limitations and thereafter its entire excess profits tax liability was open for consideration. The Tax Court found factual differences sufficient to distinguish Fendrich. Without considering that ground of distinction we hold the decision inapplicable because here there was an applicable regulation requiring a specific request, within the statutory period, for the allowance of carry-over or carry-back adjustments.

Decision ...


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