Dean v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue
United States Tax Court
10 T.C. 19 (1948)
For many years, executive responsibilities for North Star Woolen Mills Co. (North Star) rested with William Northup. Northup and women in his family, including Marjorie Dean, Virginia Dean Grant-Lawson, and Ethel X. Northup (collectively, the taxpayers) (plaintiffs) held the majority of shares of the company stock. Northup’s control over the company was so exclusive that multiple individuals advised Northup that that he should take steps to avoid the company falling under the control of “inexperienced women” in the event of his death. In 1941, the North Star shareholders approved the recapitalization of the company, which called for 14,000 shares consisting of 8,000 shares of common stock with a par value of $50 each and 6,000 preferred shares without par value. The preferred shares would have no voting power until one year’s dividend was skipped. The shareholders of North Star approved the plan. Each shareholder of North Star would exchange one share of existing stock for one and one-fourth share of the preferred stock. The taxpayers filed their tax returns, for which the Commissioner of Internal Revenue (the commissioner) (defendant) determined there were deficiencies in their income tax due to the exchange of old for new preferred shares. The commissioner determined that the reorganization, including the recapitalization, was intended to channel North Star’s surplus revenue to preferred stockholders and should be taxed as a capital gain. The taxpayers sought a redetermination of the deficiencies in the United States Tax Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Harlan, J.)
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