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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. International Building Co., 345 U.S. 502 (1953)

United States v. International Building Co.

No. 508

Argued April 8, 1953

Decided May 4, 1953

345 U.S. 502


In 1942 the Commissioner of Internal Revenue assessed deficiencies against respondent for the taxable years 1933, 1938 and 1939, determining that the proper basis for depreciation of respondent's leasehold was $385,000, not 860,000, as claimed by respondent. Respondent petitioned the Tax Court for review. Thereafter, pursuant to a stipulation filed by respondent and the Commissioner, and without a hearing, the Tax Court entered formal decisions that there were no deficiencies for the taxable years in question. In 1948, the Commissioner assessed deficiencies against respondent for the years 1943, 1944 and 1945, again challenging respondent's claimed basis for depreciation.

Held: upon this record, the decisions of the Tax Court for the years 1933, 1938, and 1939 were not res judicata of the fact that the basis for depreciation was $860,000. Pp. 345 U. S. 503-506.

(a) In a subsequent action between the same parties on a different claim, a judgment is conclusive only as to the point or question actually litigated and determined in the original action, not as to what might have been litigated and determined. Pp. 345 U. S. 504-505.

(b) The decisions entered by the Tax Court for the years 1933, 1938, and 1939 were only pro forma acceptance by the Tax Court of an agreement between the parties to settle their controversy for reasons undisclosed. P. 345 U. S. 505.

199 F.2d 12 reversed.

In a suit by respondent to recover alleged overpayment of federal income taxes, the District Court held against respondent. 97 F.Supp. 595. The Court of Appeals reversed. 199 F.2d 12. This Court granted certiorari. 344 U.S. 927. Reversed, p. 345 U. S. 506.

Page 345 U. S. 503

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