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Zoller v. State Board of Tax Appeals

Decided: March 20, 1940.

JOSEPHINE E. ZOLLER, EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF JOHN JOHNSON, DECEASED, PROSECUTRIX,
v.
STATE BOARD OF TAX APPEALS AND CITY OF JERSEY CITY, RESPONDENTS



On certiorari.

For the prosecutrix, Ziegener & Brenner (Robert H. Brenner, of counsel).

For the respondents, James A. Hamill and Frank P. McCarthy.

Before Justices Bodine and Perskie.

Perskie

The opinion of the court was delivered by

PERSKIE, J. This is a tax case. The question requiring decision is whether prosecutrix held the stocks assessed as of October 1st, 1937, for the tax year of 1938, in her personal right as owner, as she claims, or whether she held the stocks in her representative right as the executrix of the estate of John Johnson, as respondents claim.

From the meager proofs submitted we learn that John Johnson (hereafter referred to as Johnson), a resident of Jersey City, was a patient in a hospital. Apparently upon entering the hospital he took with him his stock holdings and delivered them to the "head of the hospital." Among the stocks so delivered were 150 shares of American Telephone and Telegraph Co., 100 shares of Associated Gas and Electric Co., and 200 shares of General Gas and Electric Co. Pursuant to instructions by Johnson while living, the head of the hospital delivered the physical possession of the stated stocks to one Josephine E. Zoller, also a resident of Jersey City, and who is the prosecutrix here.

Thereafter, on June 21st, 1937, Johnson died. By his last will and testament, dated June 1st, 1937, he devised his entire estate, after the payment of his just debts, funeral expenses, &c., solely to Josephine E. Zoller in consideration of the "care, attention and services" which she and her mother rendered him during the fourteen years that he lived at their home.

On July 7th, 1937, Johnson's will was probated and Josephine E. Zoller qualified as the executrix therein named. A decree barring creditors, effective January 7th, 1938 (R.S. 3:25-3), was entered.

Upon ascertaining that the stated stocks were part of Johnson's estate, the local assessors levied an assessment of $22,000 against prosecutrix in her name as executrix of the estate of Johnson (R.S. 54:4-10), as representing the value of the stocks as of October 1st, 1937, for the tax year of 1938.

Prosecutrix appealed from that assessment to the Hudson

County Board of Taxation with the result that the assessment ...


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