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CENTRAL R.R. CO. v. UNITED STATES

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY


August 26, 1965

The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey, for itself and as agent on behalf of its affiliated companies, Plaintiff
v.
The United States of America, Defendant

Meaney, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: MEANEY

MEANEY, District Judge.

This is a civil action brought by the plaintiff, The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey (sometimes hereinafter referred to as "the taxpayer"), for the recovery of internal revenue taxes in the amount of $47,756.56, allegedly erroneously and illegally collected by the defendant, United States of America. Jurisdiction is conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 1346(a)(1), and venue is provided for by 28 U.S.C. § 1402(a)(2), plaintiff's principal place of business being at Jersey City, New Jersey.

 The case was submitted on briefs, exhibits and a stipulation of facts, and no hearing was held.

 The sole question before the court is whether plaintiff in computing its 1949 Corporate Federal Income Tax was entitled to claim as a deduction interest in the amount of $137,282.20, representing interest on potential tax deficiencies for the years 1942 and 1943. If the deduction was properly taken in the 1949 tax return, plaintiff is entitled to judgment in an amount to be computed by the parties, in accordance with their stipulation. If the deduction was improperly taken, judgment must be rendered for the United States.

 For all the taxable years referred to herein consolidated income tax returns were filed by the taxpayer and all its affiliated companies which were qualified to be included in a consolidated return; and the taxpayer kept its books of account and prepared its federal income tax returns on the calendar year basis and on the accrual basis of accounting.

 The consolidated income tax returns filed by plaintiff for the calendar years 1949 and 1954 showed that there was no tax due for those years and that on a consolidated basis there was a net operating loss in each of those years.

 In its consolidated return for the year 1952 the taxpayer reported a total income tax liability of $308,589.19, which was paid in full. In computing its tax liability for 1952 the taxpayer carried over the net operating loss for the year 1949 as part of its net operating loss deduction for 1952.

 On November 13, 1956 the taxpayer filed a timely refund claim for the year 1952 in the amount of $308,589.19, pursuant to the net operating loss carryback provisions of section 172(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954. The basis of the claim for refund was that a net operating loss sustained in 1954 was sufficient to eliminate all net income for the year 1952.

 On February 1, 1962 the taxpayer was advised in statutory notice of partial disallowance that $47,756.56 of its claim for refund had been disallowed. Thereafter the balance of $260,832.63 of the claim was paid to the taxpayer. The basis of the partial disallowance was a reduction in the amount of $137,282.20 in the net operating loss for the year 1949, which had the result of reducing the net operating loss deduction for 1952. The sum of $137,282.20, as mentioned above, is an interest deduction claimed by the taxpayer in 1949. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue determined that this was not a proper item of deduction for the year 1949 on the ground that it had not accrued in that year. It is the $47,756.56 disallowance which plaintiff alleges was erroneously and illegally collected by the Government.

 A review of certain earlier proceedings between the parties is essential to a fuller understanding of the instant controversy.

 In 1942 the taxpayer's original consolidated return reported a net loss and no tax was paid. For 1943 the taxpayer reported net income of $3,260,542.55 and a tax liability of $1,338,322.49. For 1944 the taxpayer reported net income of $2,270,764.45 and a tax liability of $924,954.86. In 1945 the taxpayer's original return reported a net loss of $4,352,237.24.

 After filing its 1945 return the taxpayer filed claims of refund for 1943 and 1944 on the basis of the carryback of the net operating loss for 1945. At this time the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, through an Agent, commenced an extensive examination of the taxpayer's returns for the years 1941 through 1946. This examination was completed on September 13, 1948, the Internal Revenue Agent making these determinations:

 

(1) Net income for 1942 before carrybacks was increased from zero to $868,981.71 and a tax deficiency was computed.

 

(2) Net income for 1943 before carrybacks was increased from $3,260,542.55 to $5,444,314.22 and a tax deficiency was computed.

 

(3) For 1944 the reported net income of $2,270,764.45 was decreased to a net loss of $1,416,158.93.

 

(4) The net loss for 1945 was increased from $4,352,237.24 to $4,657,302.08.

 

(5) Net income for 1942 was reduced from $868,981.71 to zero by the carryback of $868,981.71 from the net operating loss computed for 1944. This had the effect of eliminating the tax deficiency for 1942, but did not eliminate the interest on that deficiency accruing at 6% for the two years the deficiency was in existence, which interest totaled $38,799.30.

 

(6) Net income for 1943 was reduced from $5,444,314.22 to $323,308.19 as the result of the adjustments for 1944 and 1945, and the resulting net operating loss carrybacks from those years to 1943. The tax deficiency for 1943 was eliminated by these adjustments but the interest on the deficiency, $98,482.90, was not eliminated.

  The net liabilities that resulted from the Agent's examinations were: (1) Tax overassessment for 1943 $1,233,638.39 (2) Tax overassessment for 1944 924,954.86 Total tax overassessment $2,158,593.25 (3) Interest deficiency for 1942 $ 38,799.30 (4) Interest deficiency for 1943 98,482.90 Total interest deficiency $ 137,282.20

19650826

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