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    GOULD v. GOULD , 245 U.S. 151 (1917)

    U.S. Supreme Court

    GOULD v. GOULD , 245 U.S. 151 (1917)

    245 U.S. 151

    GOULD
    v.
    GOULD.
    No. 41.

    Submitted Nov. 8, 1917.
    Decided Nov. 19, 1917.

    [245 U.S. 151, 152]   Mr. Martin W. Littleton, of New York City, for plaintiff in error.

    Mr. John L. McNab, of San Francisco, Cal., for defendant in error.

    Mr. Justice McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.

    A decree of the Supreme Court for New York county entered in 1909 forever separated the parties to this proceeding, then and now citizens of the United States, from bed and board; and further ordered that plaintiff in error pay to Katherine C. Gould during her life the sum of $3,000 every month for her support and maintenance. The question presented is whether such monthly payments during the years 1913 and 1914 constituted parts of Mrs. Gould's income within the intendment of the act of Congress approved October 3, 1913 (38 Stat. 114, 166, c. 16), and were subject as such to the tax prescribed therein. The court below answered in the negative; and we think it reached the proper conclusion.

    Pertinent portions of the act follow:

    In the interpretation of statutes levying taxes it is the established rule not to extend their provisions, by implication, beyond the clear import of the language used, or to enlarge their operations so as to embrace matters not specifically pointed out. In case of doubt they are construed most strongly against the government, and in favor of the citizen. United States v. Wigglesworth, 2 Story, 369, Fed. Cas. No. 16,690; American Net & Twine Co. v. Worthington, 141 U.S. 468, 474 , 12 S. Sup. Ct. 55; Benziger v. United States, 192 U.S. 38, 55 , 24 S. Sup. Ct. 189.

    As appears from the above quotations, the net income upon which subdivision 1 directs that an annual tax shall be assessed, levied, collected and paid is defined in division B. The use of the word itself in the definition of 'income' causes some obscurity, but we are unable to assert that alimony paid to a divorced wife under a decree of court falls fairly within any of the terms employed.

    In Audubon v. Shufeldt, 181 U.S. 575, 577 , 578 S., 21 Sup. Ct. 735, 736 ( 45 L. Ed. 1009), we said:

    The judgment of the court below is affirmed.

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