Burnet v. Guggenheim
United States Supreme Court
288 U.S. 280 (1933)
In 1917, Murry Guggenheim (plaintiff) created two 10-year trusts for his two children. While the trusts were in effect, the children were entitled to some of the trusts’ income, and some income was returned to the trusts as principal. At the end of the trusts’ 10-year period, the children would receive the trusts’ entire principal. However, Guggenheim specifically retained a right to revoke his transfer of money into the trusts, i.e., the trusts’ principal, at any time before the trusts ended. In 1921, Guggenheim transferred several million dollars into the trusts. In 1924, Congress passed a statute that created a new gift tax on any gift transfers of property. The next year, in 1925, Guggenheim terminated his right to revoke the trusts’ principal. The commissioner of Internal Revenue (commissioner) (defendant) assessed a gift tax against Guggenheim on the approximately $13 million principal in the trusts at that time, under the theory that Guggenheim’s termination of his revocation rights had completed the gift transfer from Guggenheim to the children’s trusts. Guggenheim petitioned for a determination that his gift transfer had been completed when he transferred the money into the trusts, that is, before the gift tax took effect. The Board of Tax Appeals found that Guggenheim owed the gift tax, but the Second Circuit ruled that Guggenheim owed nothing. The United States Supreme Court agreed to review the issue.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Cardozo, J.)
Dissent (Sutherland, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 709,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 709,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 44,500 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.