United States v. Drescher

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United States v. Drescher
Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.svg
Court United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Full case name United States v. Drescher
Argued January 5, 1950
Decided February 16, 1950
Citation(s) 179 F.2d 863; 50-1 USTC (CCH) ¶ 9186
Case history
Prior action(s) 84 F. Supp. 228 (W.D.N.Y. 1949)
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Learned Hand, Thomas Walter Swan, Charles Edward Clark
Case opinions
Majority Swan, joined by Hand
Concur/dissent Clark
Laws applied
Internal Revenue Code

United States v. Drescher, 179 F.2d 863 (2nd Cir. 1950)[1] was a United States income tax case before the Second Circuit. The Court held as follows:

  • The annuities in question were nonassignable, and possession was retained by the employer until taxpayer reached age of retirement; and the employee's compensation was not reduced during these years, nor did he have election to receive in cash the amount paid.


A corporation, anticipating its executive's retirement, purchases an "endowment policy," entitling him (the policy-holder) to a lump-sum-certain when he retires in 15 years.


The executive must include the premium immediately, as his "basis" for his new policy.

Academic commentary[edit]

The stakes for the government are as follows:[2]

  • Due to the declining present value of future money, a taxpayer pays less in taxes if he can defer his tax payment.
  • In the case of this endowment policy:
    • If the Premium = $B, the [lump sum] will be $[B*(1+i)^Y].
    • If deferral is permitted, the executive's tax savings = (marginal rate R)*[lump sum]
  • Reasons in favor of deferral: it was issued to the company in the interim; and, unlike the stock bonus above, his rights are nonforfeitable: he can't sell/borrow against it, nor can he be denied it by being fired.
  • Reasons against deferral: it names him as the beneficiary; he should feel better off at issuance—and he certainly consented to the policy purchase in lieu of salary (e.g. as consideration).


  1. ^ United States v. Drescher, 179 F.2d 863 (2d. Cir. 1950).
  2. ^ Chirelstein, Marvin (2005). Federal Income Taxation: A Law Student's Guide to the Leading Cases and Concepts (Tenth ed.). New York, NY: Foundation Press. pp. 16–17. ISBN 1-58778-894-2. 

External links[edit]

Text of United States v. Drescher, 179 F.2d 863 (2nd Cir. 1950) is available from:  Justia  OpenJurist  Google Scholar