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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Gilbert Associates, Inc., 345 U.S. 361 (1953)

United States v. Gilbert Associates, Inc.

No. 440

Argued March 11, 1953

Decided April 6, 1953

345 U.S. 361


1. Under § 3672 of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides that the tax lien of the United States shall not be valid against any "judgment creditor" until the collector has filed the required notice, a New Hampshire town which had made an assessment of an ad valorem tax on certain property of a corporation was not a "judgment creditor," even though such tax assessments are, under New Hampshire law, "in the nature of a judgment." Pp. 345 U. S. 362-365.

(a) In § 3672, Congress used the words "judgment creditor" in the usual, conventional sense of a judgment of a court of record. P. 345 U. S. 364.

(b) The phrase "judgment creditor" does not extend to the action of taxing authorities who may be acting judicially where the end result is something "in the nature of a judgment." P. 345 U. S. 364.

2. Where the tax lien of a town and that of the United States are both general, and the taxpayer is insolvent, the United States is entitled to priority under R.S. § 3466. Pp. 345 U. S. 365-366.

3. Here, the town had only a general lien, because it had not divested the taxpayer of either title or possession. Pp. 345 U. S. 365-366.

97 N.H. 411, 90 A.2d 499, reversed.

The State Supreme Court awarded priority to the claim of a town as against a claim of the United States in the estate of an insolvent corporation. 97 N.H. 411, 90 A.2d 499. This Court granted certiorari. 344 U.S. 911. Reversed, p. 345 U. S. 366.

Page 345 U. S. 362

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