John and Louisa A. Hodel - Page 19

                                       - 19 -19                                           
          See also Hicks v. Harris, 606 F.2d 65, 68 (5th Cir. 1979)                   
          ("Estoppel cannot be asserted against the United States in                  
          actions arising out of the exercise of its sovereign powers").              
          But see Simmons v. United States, 308 F.2d 938, 945 (5th Cir.               
          1962) ("It is well-settled that the doctrine of equitable                   
          estoppel, in proper circumstances, and with appropriate caution,            
          may be invoked against the United States in cases involving                 
          internal revenue taxation.").5                                              
               Under Golsen v. Commissioner, 54 T.C. 742, 756-757 (1970),             
          affd. 445 F.2d 985 (10th Cir. 1971), we are obligated to follow             
          the law as stated by the Court of Appeals in the circuit to which           
          this case is appealable.  Therefore, in order for petitioners to            
          state a claim for equitable estoppel against the United States,             
          they must show:  (1) That the traditional elements of estoppel              
          are present; (2) that the Government was acting in its private or           
          proprietary capacity rather than its public or sovereign                    
          capacity; and (3) that the Government's agent was acting within             
          the scope of his or her authority.  United States v. Vonderau,              
          837 F.2d 1540, 1541 (11th Cir. 1988).                                       
               The United States was acting in its sovereign capacity in              
          its efforts to collect taxes from petitioners.  Collection of the           
          public revenue is a uniquely governmental function exercised by             

          5    The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in the en               
          banc decision Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206 (11th               
          Cir. 1981), adopted as precedent decisions of the former Court of           
          Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rendered prior to Oct. 1, 1981.               

Page:  Previous  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  Next

Last modified: May 25, 2011