Müller v Revenue Appeal Committee of Lower Austria

Date13 Febrero 1959
CourtAdministrative Court (Austria)
Austria, Administrative Court.
Revenue Appeal Committee of Lower Austria.

War In general Effects of outbreak of war Nature of vesting of property in Custodian of enemy property Person resident in territory of one belligerent as shareholder of company incorporated in territory of other belligerent Shares vested in Custodian of enemy property of other belligerent Shares released and dividend paid in lump sum after end of war Liability of shareholder to tax in country of residence Whether dividends to be regarded as accruing to shareholder during period of vesting of shares in foreign custodian The law of Austria.

The Facts.The appellant, who was resident in Austria during the Second World War, was the owner of shares in certain English companies. The shares were vested in the Custodian of Enemy Property in the United Kingdom and were not released until 1954. In that year the appellant received all the dividends which had accrued in respect of the years 19391954, and he was assessed to tax in Austria on the whole amount so received, in one single year. He contended that as the dividends had been credited from year to year, he should be assessed as if in each such year he had received the amount credited in respect of that year, which would result in a far smaller tax liability. The respondent authority contended that the dividends had not accrued until they were actually paid and that the assessment in one single year should therefore include the whole amount received by the taxpayer in that year.

Held: that the contention of the respondent authority must be upheld and the appeal dismissed. Between 1939 and 1954 the fate of the appellant's dividends was uncertain, and the dividends received in 1954 did not accrue until they were paid in that year.

The Court said: The appellant is the owner of shares in certain English companies the dividends of which, in accordance with the English legislation on the administration of enemy property, had not been paid to him since 1939 but had been administered by the (English) Custodian of Enemy Property until they were released in 1954 and remitted to him through the intermediary of the Austrian National Bank. The dividends were paid in respect of the years 1939 to 1954 and amounted to 48,235 Austrian Schillings, which the revenue authorities assessed to income tax in toto in the year 1954. The appellant appeals against the assessment to income tax of the whole amount in the single year 1954. He contends that...

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