CITY OF NEW YORK V. FEIRING, 313 U. S. 283 (1941)

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U.S. Supreme Court

City of New York v. Feiring, 313 U.S. 283 (1941)

City of New York v. Feiring

No. 863

Argued May 7, 1941

Decided May 26, 1941

313 U.S. 283


1. The question whether an obligation to a State is a tax entitled to priority under § 64 of the Bankruptcy Act is a federal question. P. 313 U. S. 285.

2. The Bankruptcy Act is of nationwide application, and § 64 thereof is not to be construed or varied by the particular characterization by local law of the state's demand. P. 313 U. S. 285.

Provisions of the state law creating the obligation and decisions of the state courts interpreting them are resorted to not to learn whether they have denominated the obligation a "tax," but to ascertain whether its incidents are such as to constitute a tax within the meaning of § 64.

3. The tax imposed by the New York City Sales Tax Law is a tax on the seller within the meaning of § 64 of the Bankruptcy Act, as well as on the buyer, since both are made liable for payment in invitum and subject to distraint of their property for its collection. P. 313 U. S. 287.

It is not any the less a tax laid on the seller because the statute places a like burden in the alternative on the purchaser, or because it affords to the seller facilities, of which he did not avail himself, to pass the tax on to the buyer.

118 F.2d 329 reversed.

Certiorari, post, p. 552, to review the affirmance of an order of the District Court refusing priority of payment to a tax claim asserted by the City of New York under § 64 of the Bankruptcy Act.

Page 313 U. S. 284

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