Memorandum of Disapproval of Bill for the Relief of Harold William Abbott and Others.
I AM withholding my approval from H.R. 8277, "An act for the relief of Harold William Abbott and others."
The bill would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to pay $23,317.61 to eleven individuals in refund of transportation taxes collected after 1945 and before 1952 for transportation in connection with fishing parties. Refund of these taxes has been barred because claims for refund, and appeals from the rejection of such claims, were not filed within the time prescribed by law.
The relief sought in this bill is similar to that sought in a bill which I disapproved last year, H.R. 3193, "For the relief of Toley's Charter Boats, Incorporated, Toley Engebretsen, and Harvey Homlar".
On March 31, 1953, a Federal court held that the transportation tax did not apply to the type of transportation involved here. At the time of this decision, there remained a period of at least nine months in which to file timely claims for 1950 and a period of at least one year and nine months in which to file timely claims for 1951. Approximately $10,000 of the amount involved in this bill represents taxes collected during the years 1950 and 1951, which would have been refunded to seven of the claimants except for the fact that they filed their claims for refund more than two years after the date of the Federal court decision. The record in this case discloses no reason justifying this delinquency in filing claims.
Refund of a large portion of the amount involved in this bill was barred by the statute of limitations prior to the Federal court decision. The basic purposes underlying the statute of limitations continue to obtain in cases where a taxpayer, after having paid a tax, discovers that the interpretation of the law has been changed by a judicial decision. Granting relief in this case would discriminate against other taxpayers similarly situated and would create an undesirable precedent.
Under the circumstances, I am constrained to withhold my approval from the bill.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Memorandum of Disapproval of Bill for the Relief of Harold William Abbott and Others. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234286