Helvering v. Sabine Transportation Company/Dissent Black
|Helvering v. Sabine Transportation Company by
United States Supreme Court
HELVERING v. SABINE TRANSPORTATION COMPANY
Argued: Feb. 4, 1943. --- Decided: March 1, 1943
Mr. Justice BLACK, with whom Mr. Justice DOUGLAS and Mr. Justice MURPHY concur, dissenting.
The taxpayer, Sabine Transportation Co., Inc., is a Delaware corporation doing business in Texas. Its stock is held in equal amounts by two other corporations, Sabine Towing Co., Inc., and The Pure Oil Corporation. In 1937, a dividend of $530,000.00 was declared, amounting to $35.33 1/3 per share on the common stock. The dividend was paid to the two corporate owners by execution of ten year, eight per cent notes. The taxpayer then claimed and was allowed a 'dividend paid credit' under the 1936 Act on its 1937 tax. In 1938 the taxpayer paid to its two corporate stockholders the full face value of the ten year notes. It is now given a second 'dividends paid credit' under the 1938 Act on its 1938 tax.
This $530,000.00 has left the corporate treasury only once. Bookkeeping devices and paper contrivances should not be permitted to make two payments out of one; and if two deductions are permitted, why not three or more? The possibilities of manipulation of notes, bonds, stocks, and every other cash substitute imaginable, are particularly apparent when, as here, the taxpayer and its stockholders are so closely interrelated. Congress has passed no tax statutes which compel me to conclude that it intended to reward ingenuity in paper work by granting multiple tax deductions for a single money payment to discharge a single corporate obligation.
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