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UNITED STATES V. JACOBS, 306 U. S. 363 (1939)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Jacobs, 306 U.S. 363 (1939)

United States v. Jacobs

No. 391

Argued February 2, 1939

Decided February 27, 1939*

306 U.S. 363


1. Under the Revenue Act of 1924, § 301, and substantially identical provisions of the Revenue Act of 1926, in determining the tax upon transfer of the net estate of a decedent, dying after the date of enactment, there is to be included in the gross estate the full value of property, real or personal, which was owned by the decedent and his wife as joint tenants at the time of his death but which was acquired with his funds, or was set up in part by his contribution and in part by a contribution from the wife of property which he had previously given her. Pp. 306 U. S. 364, 306 U. S. 371.

2. These provisions are applicable under the statute, and valid under the Fifth Amendment, notwithstanding that the joint tenancy was created before the approval of the Acts mentioned and before the enactment of the first estate tax law in 1916. P. 306 U. S. 366.

3. The tax is not retroactive, being imposed upon the occasion of the change of ownership and beneficial rights at the death of one of the joint tenants. P. 306 U. S. 366.

4. Despite the common law distinctions between joint tenancies and tenancies by the entirety, there are substantial similarities which justified Congress in treating them alike for estate tax purposes. P. 306 U. S. 370.

5. The presumption that an Act of Congress is valid applies with added force to a revenue Act. P. 306 U. S. 370.

97 F.2d 784 reversed; 99 id. 799 affirmed.

Certiorari, 305 U.S. 588, 593, to review affirmances below of two judgments of District Courts, in the one case allowing, and in the other denying, recovery of money exacted under a deficiency estate tax assessment. An opinion of the District Court in the second case is reported in 19 F.Supp. 56.

Page 306 U. S. 364

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