UNITED STATES v. NOLAND

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
95-323
Petitioner 
United States
Respondent 
Noland
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
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Facts of the Case 

The IRS filed claims in Bankruptcy Court for taxes, interest, and penalties that accrued when Thomas R. Noland, the trustee of the in-debt First Truck Lines, Inc., sought relief under federal Bankruptcy Code. The Bankruptcy Court held that the claims for taxes and interest were the first priority in the case. Consequently, the court subordinated the penalties, to be adjudicated following the taxes and interest, because the penalties were not financial losses for the IRS. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision.

Question 

May a bankruptcy court subordinate government attempts to collect tax penalties?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for United States, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Bankruptcy Code, Bankruptcy Act or Rules, or Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978

No. In a unanimous decision, announced by Justice David H. Souter, the Court ruled that giving tax-penalty claims a lower priority than other claims contradicts Congress_ scheme of priorities regarding federal bankruptcy law.

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UNITED STATES v. NOLAND. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 June 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_95_323>.
UNITED STATES v. NOLAND, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_95_323 (last visited June 20, 2014).
"UNITED STATES v. NOLAND," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed June 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1995/1995_95_323.