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Memorandum of Disapproval of Bill for the Relief of Mary M. Browne.

August 28, 1958

I AM WITHHOLDING my approval from H. R. 9993, "for the relief of Miss Mary M. Browne."

The bill would provide that, notwithstanding any statutory period of limitation, refund or credit shall be made or allowed to the beneficiary of any overpayment of income tax for the year 1951, if claim therefor is filed within one year after the date of enactment.

The taxpayer, in filing her income tax return for 1951 and paying the amount shown on the return, failed to take credit for a previous partial payment of income tax which the taxpayer had made for 1951. The Internal Revenue Service did not match the taxpayer's prepayment documents with her return for 1951 and was not aware of the taxpayer's error. In March 1955, an agent of the Internal Revenue Service discovered the possibility of the erroneous overpayment when he assisted the taxpayer in preparing her income tax return for 1954. At that time the three-year statutory period of limitation had not expired, and the agent advised the taxpayer to file a claim for refund. The taxpayer, however, did not file her claim until about two months later, at which time the statutory period had expired and the claim could not under the law be allowed. The record on this bill affords no explanation for the taxpayer's failure to file a timely claim for refund.

The statutory period of limitations, which the Congress has included in the revenue system as a matter of sound policy, is essential in order to achieve finality in tax administration. Granting special relief in this case would constitute a discrimination against other taxpayers similarly situated and would create an undesirable precedent.

For these reasons I am constrained to withhold my approval from the bill.


Dwight D. Eisenhower, Memorandum of Disapproval of Bill for the Relief of Mary M. Browne. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233929

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