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HELVERING V. MITCHELL, 303 U. S. 391 (1938)

U.S. Supreme Court

Helvering v. Mitchell, 303 U.S. 391 (1938)

Helvering v. Mitchell

No. 324

Argued January 14, 1938

Decided March 7, 1938

303 U.S. 391


Section 293(b) of the Revenue Act of 1928, Title I, provides that, if any part of a deficiency is due to fraud with intent to evade tax, 50% of the total amount of the deficiency (in addition to such deficiency) shall be assessed, collected and paid. Section 146(b) of the same Title declares that any person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by the Title shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction, be subject to fine and imprisonment.

Held: That an acquittal of a charge of willful attempt to evade, under § 146(b), does not bar assessment and collection of the 50% addition prescribed by § 293(b). P. 303 U. S. 397 et seq.

The doctrine of res judicata is inapplicable because of the difference in quantum of proof in civil and criminal cases; the acquittal was merely an adjudication that the proof was not sufficient to overcome all reasonable doubt of guilt. P. 303 U. S. 397.

The doctrine of double jeopardy is inapplicable because the 50% addition to tax provided by § 293(b) is not primarily punitive, but is a remedial sanction imposed as a safeguard for protection of the revenue and to reimburse the Government for expense and loss resulting from the taxpayer's fraud. As such, it may be enforced by a civil procedure to which the accepted rules and

Page 303 U. S. 392

constitutional guaranties governing the trial of criminal prosecutions do not apply. P. 303 U. S. 398.

Coffee v. United States, 116 U. S. 436, and United States v. La Franca, 282 U. S. 568, distinguished.

89 F.2d 873 reversed.

Certiorari, 302 U.S. 670, to review a judgment reversing in part a decision of the Board of Tax Appeals, 32 B.T.A. 1093, which sustained a deficiency income tax assessment, with a 50% addition for fraud.

Page 303 U. S. 395

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