FACTS: Respondent filed action seeking a refund of his overpayment of income tax that had been paid on a bonus received from his employer. The bonus was determined in previous litigation to have been overpaid to respondent and improperly computed, and respondent was required to pay back a portion of the bonus. In the subsequent action filed by respondent against petitioner government, he sought the portion of his tax payment attributable to the returned sums. At trial, the court of claims determined that respondent was entitled to a remittance of an overpayment. On petition for writ of certiorari, the court reversed, agreeing with petitioner that respondent had an unrestricted claim of right to the sums and had exercised an unlimited right of control over them. Hence, respondent owed the tax and no exception could be taken on the basis that he was "mistaken" as to the amount of his original entitlement and had been required to pay back a portion of the bonus.
CONCLUSION: Judgment awarding respondent an amount equating to a tax overpayment on a employee bonus was reversed. The court concluded that respondent had an unrestricted claim of right to the sums and had exercised unlimited control over the bonus. Hence, respondent owed a tax on the entire bonus and no exception could be taken on the basis that he was "mistaken" as to the amount of his entitlement and was required to pay back a portion to his employer.
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