A-3180, OCTOBER 9, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 369

A-3180: Oct 9, 1924

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INTERNAL REVENUE LIQUOR STAMPS - REFUNDS THE CHARGE BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE FURNISHING OF BOTTLED-IN-BOND CASE STAMPS IS NOT A TAX NOR A STAMP DENOTING THE PAYMENT OF A TAX. THE REFUND TO DISTILLERS OR OWNERS OF DISTILLED SPIRITS OF SUCH A CHARGE FOR THE FURNISHING OF BOTTLED-IN-BOND STAMPS THAT WERE NOT USED IS UNAUTHORIZED. ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN PAID FOR THE FURNISHING BY THE GOVERNMENT OF 24. IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE STAMPS WERE OBTAINED UPON THE ORDER OF THE CLAIMANT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLES 24 TO 28. OF AN ORDER FOR THE SPECIAL PRINTING OF CASE STAMPS WHEN IT IS DESIRED TO BOTTLE SPIRITS IN BOND. THERE ARE PRINTED TO ACCOMPANY EACH CASE STAMP SUFFICIENT STRIP STAMPS FOR USE ON BOTTLES IN EACH CASE.

A-3180, OCTOBER 9, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 369

INTERNAL REVENUE LIQUOR STAMPS - REFUNDS THE CHARGE BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE FURNISHING OF BOTTLED-IN-BOND CASE STAMPS IS NOT A TAX NOR A STAMP DENOTING THE PAYMENT OF A TAX, AND THE REFUND TO DISTILLERS OR OWNERS OF DISTILLED SPIRITS OF SUCH A CHARGE FOR THE FURNISHING OF BOTTLED-IN-BOND STAMPS THAT WERE NOT USED IS UNAUTHORIZED.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, OCTOBER 9, 1924:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED THE CLAIM OF THE D. L. MOORE DISTILLERY CO. FOR A REFUND IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,455.50, ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN PAID FOR THE FURNISHING BY THE GOVERNMENT OF 24,555 BOTTLED-IN-BOND CASE STAMPS.

IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE STAMPS WERE OBTAINED UPON THE ORDER OF THE CLAIMANT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLES 24 TO 28, INCLUSIVE, OF THE UNITED STATES INTERNAL REVENUE REGULATIONS NO. 23, REVISED DECEMBER 21, 1912, ISSUED IN PURSUANCE OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1897, 29 STAT. 626.

THESE REGULATIONS PROVIDE FOR THE FILING WITH THE COLLECTOR, BY A DISTILLER OR OWNER OF DISTILLED SPIRITS, OF AN ORDER FOR THE SPECIAL PRINTING OF CASE STAMPS WHEN IT IS DESIRED TO BOTTLE SPIRITS IN BOND. THERE ARE PRINTED TO ACCOMPANY EACH CASE STAMP SUFFICIENT STRIP STAMPS FOR USE ON BOTTLES IN EACH CASE, SUCH STRIP STAMPS TO CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING DATA, AS REQUIRED BY LAW, THE SAME TO BE FURNISHED BY THE DISTILLER OR OWNER, VIZ,"THE PROOF OF THE SPIRITS, THE REGISTERED DISTILLERY NUMBER, THE STATE AND DISTRICT IN WHICH THE DISTILLERY IS LOCATED, THE REAL NAME OF THE ACTUAL BONA FIDE DISTILLER, THE YEAR AND DISTILLING SEASON, WHETHER SPRING OR FALL, OF ORIGINAL INSPECTION OR ENTRY INTO BOND, AND THE DATE OF BOTTLING.'

THE CASE STAMPS AND ACCOMPANYING STRIP STAMPS ARE PREPARED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ORDER, BY THE BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING, AND ISSUED TO THE DISTILLER OR OWNER AFTER PAYMENT FOR SAME HAS BEEN MADE TO THE COLLECTOR AT THE RATE OF 10 CENTS FOR EACH CASE STAMP.

THE CHARGE FOR THE STAMPS IS NOTHING MORE THAN A CHARGE TO COVER THE EXPENSE OF PRINTING AND DISTRIBUTING STAMPS, WHICH ARE IN THE NATURE OF A GOVERNMENT GUARANTY AS TO THE QUANTITY, AGE, PROOF, ETC., OF THE SPIRITS. IT IS A CHARGE FOR A SERVICE RENDERED AND IS NOT REFUNDABLE, SINCE THE UNUSED CASE STAMPS, HAVING BEEN SPECIALLY PREPARED, MAY NOT BE USED BY ANY OTHER DISTILLER OR OWNER AND ARE NOT REDEEMABLE IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC PROVISION OF LAW THEREFOR.

THE CHARGE MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS A TAX AND IS THEREFORE NOT WITHIN THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 3689, REVISED STATUTES, AND 3220, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, WHICH AUTHORIZE REFUND OF TAXES ILLEGALLY COLLECTED, NOR WITHIN THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MAY 12, 1900, 31 STAT. 177, WHICH AUTHORIZES THE REDEMPTION OF OR AN ALLOWANCE FOR STAMPS DENOTING THE PAYMENT OF TAXES.

I FIND NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR THE REFUND REQUESTED. THE CLAIM IS THEREFORE DISALLOWED.