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SNYDER V. MARKS, 109 U. S. 189 (1883)

U.S. Supreme Court

Snyder v. Marks, 109 U.S. 189 (1883)

Snyder v. Marks

Submitted November 1, 1883

Decided November 15, 1883

109 U.S. 189


A bill in equity will not lie to enjoin a collector of internal revenue from collecting a tax assessed by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue against a manufacturer of tobacco, although the tax is alleged in the bill to have been illegally assessed.

The remedy of a suit to recover back the tax after it is paid, which the statute provides, is exclusive.

This suit was brought in a state court of Louisiana by the appellant, a tobacco manufacturer, against the appellee, a collector of internal revenue, to obtain an injunction restraining the appellee from seizing and selling the property of the appellant to pay two assessments of taxes against him, made by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and to have the assessments declared void. An injunction having been granted ex parte, the appellee removed the suit, by certiorari, into the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Louisiana, on the allegation that it was brought on account of acts done by the appellee, as such collector, under authority of the internal revenue laws of the United States, and to enjoin him, in his official capacity, from enforcing the payment of assessments made against the appellant, under authority of such laws, by executing warrants of distraint, as authorized by such laws.

After the removal of the suit the appellant, under an order to reform his pleading, filed a bill in equity in the circuit court. It set forth the assessments complained of as being in these words:

Page 109 U. S. 190


The bill also averred that the assessments did not show upon what they were based, nor upon what the taxes were claimed to be due, and were void for uncertainty and unauthorized by law, and the Commissioner of Internal Revenue was without jurisdiction to make them; that the Irwin & Snyder assessment was made more than fifteen months after the time which it embraced had elapsed, and that was true, also, as to a part of the Snyder assessment, and the commissioner had no authority to make an assessment except for a period of time not exceeding fifteen months before it was made; that the appellant was never a member of the firm of Irwin & Snyder; that he never owed the amount of either assessment; that, when he commenced the manufacture of tobacco, he gave a bond to the United States, in a penalty of $20,000, conditioned that he would stamp all tobacco manufactured by him, as required by law, and comply with all the requirements of law relating to the manufacture of tobacco, and the sureties thereon were solvent, and that, if the United States had any lawful claim against him, an action would lie on the bond, which was ample security, while he was without adequate remedy against the United States for the seizure of his property to pay the claims. The prayer of the bill was for a decree declaring each of the assessments void as against the appellant, and enjoining the

Page 109 U. S. 191

appellee from distraining on the property of the appellant for the purpose of collecting the amounts of the assessments, and from attempting to collect the same except by judicial process.

The appellee demurred to the bill for want of equity, and because no suit could be maintained in any court to restrain the collection of any tax of the United States, and the appellant could not be permitted in this suit to attack the validity or regularity of the assessments or restrain the execution of a warrant issued thereunder. The circuit court sustained the demurrer and dismissed the bill. To review its decree this appeal is brought.

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