HULBURD V. COMMISSIONER, 296 U. S. 300 (1935)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hulburd v. Commissioner, 296 U.S. 300 (1935)

Hulburd v. Commissioner

No. 39

Argued November 14, 1935

Decided December 9, 1935

296 U.S. 300


1. An assessment under Revenue Act, 1926, § 280, against the estate of a deceased transferee of property of a taxpayer cannot be converted by the Board of Tax Appeals upon review, or by the Circuit

Page 296 U. S. 301

Court of Appeals upon appeal from the Board's decision, into an assessment against the executor personally as legatee under the will; the liability of the legatee, if any, must first be determined by the Commissioner in a new inquiry, and expressed in a new assessment. P. 296 U. S. 305.

2. Assuming that executors, in petitioning for review of an assessment (Revenue Act 1926, § 280) against the estate, could, by waiver or estoppel, subject themselves to being held liable in the proceeding as legatees, no waiver or estoppel was in this case. P. 296 U. S. 307.

3. Assuming that, under § 281(b) of the Revenue Act of 1926, an executor, by failing to give notice of his discharge to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, renders himself liable qua executor for an assessment under § 280 directed against the estate but made after his discharge, the Act in this respect is not to be construed as applicable to executors who were discharged from their fiduciary liability before the Act was approved. P. 296 U. S. 308.

4. By the law of Illinois, in contrast with the rule at common law and in some of the States, an executor who has been discharged after a full and fair settlement of the estate is functus officio. P. 296 U. S. 311.

5. A decree of the Probate Court of Illinois, plainly intended to discharge an executor after a plenary accounting, is given much weight in this case as a construction of the Illinois statute governing the subject. P. 296 U. S. 314.

6. An executor who, by reason of his discharge, is functus officio according to the local law is no longer subject to be assessed in his representative capacity under Revenue Act 1926, § 280. Pp. 296 U. S. 308, 296 U. S. 315.

76 F.2d 736 reversed; 27 B.T.A. 1123 affirmed.

Certiorari, 295 U.S. 730, to review a judgment of the Circuit Court of Appeals which reversed, on appeal, a decision of the Board of Tax Appeals overruling an assessment made against a decedent's estate as transferee of part of the assets of a corporation which was dissolved while liable for income and profits taxes. The assessment against the estate was made after the executors, one of whom is the petitioner in this case, had been discharged.

Page 296 U. S. 302

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