In an action by the city to recover a tax assessed in 1874, held, (1)
that the legislature had the power to pass such an enactment, (2) that
under the right to exempt for six years, an exemption for five years
was valid, (3) that the exemption must be voted, if at all, within a
reasonable time, (4) that, und^r the circumstances, the exemption
was voted within a reasonable time, (5) that the term of exemption
commenced from the vote allowing it. Portland v. Water Company,
11. As to the EXTENT OF THE EXEMPTION, held, (1) that real estate
owned by the company was taxable for what it would have been
worth had no additions or improvements, enhancing its value, been
placed thereon, by the company after 1867. It was in existence then,
whether owned by the company or not. (2) That personal property
held by the company in 1874, and acquired by it after 1867 should
be considered as newly created property, and not taxable, although
more or less of it, may have been in existence in other forms and con-
ditions before 1867. lb.
12. Geneva Award. The interest of a claimant under the award
of the "Tribunal of Arbitration" on the Alabama claims was not tax-
able in the year 1876, the amount to be received being contingent
until after April 1st of that year, the award being for a gross sum
from one government to the other, and no specific appropriation hav-
ing been made by Congress for the payment of the judgment until
April 11, 1876. JBucksport v. Woodman, 68 â 33.
II. WHERE AND TO WHOM.
13. The piling of sawed lumber upon a wharf to season, and the
payment of wharfage therefor, do not constitute such an occupation
of the wharf as is contemplated in R. S., c. 6, Â§ 14, clause 1. Stock-
well V. lirewer, 59 â 286.
14. For the purpose of taxation, the firm, and not an individual
member of it, is the owner of the partnership property. lb.
15. Hence, where the plaintiff was a member of a firm, residing and
carrying on a lumber business in Bangor, and also of another firm
owning a wharf in Brewer, â he cannot be taxed in Brewer for his
portion of the former firm's lumber piled on the wharf of the latter
firm to season, and for which the former firm pays wharfage to the
16. Where a shipmaster, a resident of Brooklyn, N. T., went to sea
in 1866, and his wife, shortly after, came to Augusta with her chil-
dren and trunks to visit her mother, and remained there until 1867,
when she returned to Brooklyn to meet her husband upon his return,
and it did not appear that the husband owned any real or personal
estate in Augusta, or had any intention to change his domicile, it was
held that he was not taxable in Augusta. Porterfield v. Augusta, 67
â 556. See Domicile, p. 188.
(b) Description of the peopeett.
17. By virtue of the Public Laws of 1865, c. 319, assessors are not
concluded by lists made and returned in conformity with R. S. of
1857, c. 6, Â§ 53, as amended by c. 318 of the Public Laws of 1862.
Gilpatrick v. Saco, 57 â 277.
18. When the inhabitant of a town has returned to the assessors a
list of his property as required by R. S., 1857, c. 6, Â§ 51, which is
vague and imperfect, the assessors may add thereto a sum for "other
personal property." lb.
19. The law will not sanction the aggregation of the several sep-
arate and distinct estates owned by a non-resident proprietor, into
one valuation and assessment. Greene v. Lunt, 58 â 518. Ndson v.
20. An assessment made by assessors, becoming such in conse-
quence of having been previously chosen selectmen, is properly
signed by them as assessors, without stating that they are selectmen
acting as assessors. Gould v. Monroe, 61 â 544.
21. When, on the division of a town, a certain portion of the
indebtedness of the town is to be paid by the inhabitants of that por-
tion which forms the new town, to be assessed and collected by the
officers of the old town, the assessment may include, not only the sum
to be raised, but also the usual and proper allowance for abatements
and expenses. Vbse v. Frankfort, 64 â 229.
22. MiSNOMBE. A collector of taxes may justify the taking of
chattels belonging to a corporation, the name of which is incorrectly
stated, both in the assessment and tax list, through the mistake of the
assessors, to pay a tax for which such corporation would have been
legally responsible had its true name appeared upon the assessors'
books and tax list. Proof of such mistake, and parol evidence to
identify the corporation intended to be taxed, is competent in a suit
by the corporation against the collector, whenever his proceedings are
in other respects regular. Farnsworth Co. v. Hand, 65 â 19.
23. Those measures which are intended for the security of the
citizen, for insuring an equality of taxation, and to enable every one
to know with reasonable certainty for what he is taxed, and for what
all those who are liable with him are taxed, are conditions precedent,
and if they are not observed he is not legally taxed. Boothbay v.
24. Notice to being in Lists. Since the remedy for a party
illegally assessed, which is now embodied in R. S. of 1871, c. 6, Â§
114, the requirement in R. S., c. 6, Â§ 65, that the assessors shall give
notice to the inhabitants of a town to bring in their lists of taxable
property before proceeding to make an assessment, is no longer a con-
dition precedent to a valid assessment. lb.
(b) Description of the property.
25. The certificate duly assigned by the assessors, "that the fore-
going pages contain an inventory of polls and estate, real and personal,
liable to be taxed in" a town named, sufficiently indicates that the
real estate described above lay in such town. Greene v. Lunt, 58 â
518. Greene v. Walker, 63â311.
26. In the assessment of taxes on land of resident owners, the par-
cels taxed must be definitely and distinctly described, or no lien will
27. Thus, neither of the following descriptions is sufiicient : "Part
of the two river lots joining N. Walker's and Pettingill farm, lots 1
and 2, range 1, 100 acres ; " "One-half of lot north-westerly of Luther
Jackson's farm, lot 2, range 2, 50 acres ; " "A piece of land between
A. J. Churchill and J. H. Weymouth, part of lot 7, range 3, 27
acres; " "One-half island opposite S. Holmes', 15 acres;" "A part of
E. A. Pollard's farm, lot 6, range 5, 25 acres ; " "The lot being south-
erly and joining J. P. Hopkins' and S. R. ISTewell's wood-land, lot 3,
range 4, 60 acres." G^reene v. Bunt, 58 â 518.
28. But each of the following is sufficient : "The island opposite N".
Walker's, and above Alden's Ferry ; " "Second lot from S. Holmes',
lot 4, range 3, 100 acres ; " "Second lot from D. L. Conant's land, lot
3, range 8, 85 acres ; " "Larry Farm on the hill formerly owned by
S. Roberts, being part of lot 1, in ranges 3 and 4, 75 acres ; " and
"Second lot from J. Lunt's, lot 6, range 3, 100 acres." lb.
29. It is sufficient if the assessors so describe the land of non-resi-
dents taxed by them as to identify it with reasonable certainty.
French v. Patterson, 61 â 203.
30. The description, "Orrin Emerson, or unknown, about 175 acres,
4th range, 17 school district, part of the Craig lot, value $875, amount
of tax, $15.93," held sufficient. Ih.
31. Such description is sufficient also in the advertisement of land
to be sold for taxes. Ih.
32. In an assessment of taxes, and tax deed, a description, "2
acres of land, house, boom, and privileges, shore of lots one and two,"
is void for uncertainty. Orono v. Veazie, 61 â 431.
33. "Eighteen tons of hay, $540," is a sufficiently definite descrip-
tion of the property in the -assessment. Donnelly. Webster, QS â 15.
34. A description, "land east corner of Congress and Exchange
streets, extending through to Market," is uncertain. Bingham v.
35. The assessors of a town gave notice that they would meet on
April 1, at a place appointed, for the purpose of receiving lists of
polls and estates. During a portion of the day only one assessor
was present at the place appointed. At some time during the day,
the assessors went to the place of business of a tax payer, who had
not appeared before them at the place appointed, and received from
him a paper purporting to be a statement of his taxable property,
which he made oath to before them, and answered their questions
concerning his property. On the fourth day of April the assessors
proposed further questions to the tax payer who answered them in
writing, but refused to sign and swear to the answers. Held, that he
had not complied with the statute (R. S., 1871, c. 6, Â§Â§ 66, 67,) and
that the county commissioners had no jurisdiction upon a petition by
the tax payer for an abatement of the tax assessed by the assessors.
Freedom v. Co. Com., 66â172.
36. The authority of the assessors to require a tax payer to answer
all proper inquiries in writing as to the nature and situation of his
property, and if required, subscribe and make oath thereto, is not
limited to the first day of April, but may be exercised within a rea-
sonable time thereafter, if the inquiries are predicated upon the pos-
session and ownership of property on April 1. lb.
37. An application to the assessors for the abatement of a tax need
not be in writing unless expressly requested by them. Levant v. Co.
38. The application to the county commissioners however must
necessarily be in writing. Ih.
39. It is not enough that the applicant answer certain proper
inquiries by the assessors as to the nature and situation of his prop-
erty. He must answer all such inquiries. lb.
(b) Bt sale of land.
(c) By suit.
40. Neither Â§ 11, nor Â§ 22, of article 1, of the constitution of this
State, limits or restricts the power of the legislature to repeal any
statute by whicli taxes have been imgosed, or to prohibit the collec-
tion of taxes after they have been duly assessed and committed to
the collector. Augusta v. Iforth, 57 â 392.
41. The plaintiff, a non-resident of Bangor, was duly assessed
therein, upon his shares of stock in the First National Bank. After
legal demand, the plaintiff, refusing to pay the tax upon the warrant
of the collector of the city, issued April, 1870, was duly arrested by
the sheriff of the county in the following May, for the tax, which the
plaintiff then paid under protest, together with costs to the officer
and he to the city treasurer. In assumpsit to recover the money thus
paid, held, (1) that the collection of such tax is to be enforced in
accordance with the general law ; and (2) that c. 209 of Public Laws
of 1868 related exclusively to the assessment, and in nowise affected
the collection of taxes duly assessed under previously existing laws.
Weld V. Bangor, 59â416.
42. A collector of taxes, acting under a warrant to make a partial
collection of the assessments committed to him, is exonerated from
completing the service under such warrant if it directs an exemption
from distress of "property not exempted by statute. Ornemlle v.
Pearson, 61 â 552.
43. Sale of Peopeett. The words "the distress shall be openly
sold," in R. S., 1871, c. 6, Â§ 104, do not authorize a collector of taxes
to sell additional articles after enough have been sold to pay the tax
committed to him and the expense of sale. Seekins v. Goodale,
44. There is no law requiring property seized for taxes by a collec-
tor to be sold in the town where it is distrained. Carville v. Addi-
45. It is no objection to the validity of the sale that one of the
four days during which the distress was kept was Sunday. lb.
46. Or that the fees of the officer were eight cents a mile one way
instead of four cents a mile each way. lb.
47. Where land has been sold by a collector of taxes for an
amount sufficient to cover taxes and expenses, and the purchaser has
paid that amount, there is no further claim upon the lands or their
owner for those taxes whether the purchaser gets a good title or not.
Farnsworih Co. v. Rand, 65 â 19.
48. But when property seized by the collector has been replevied
from him by the owner on account of a defect in the proceedings,
and without being in any manner appropriated to the payment of the
tax, the tax may be subsequently collected. lb.
See CoLLECTOE, p. 93.
(b) JBy sale of land.
49. Eeeoes Remedied by R. S., c. 6, Â§ 114. The sale of land for
taxes will not be illegal because the lists of assessments upon the polls
and estates required by R. S., c. 6, Â§ 70, contain no description of the
lands assessed other than the number of acres and the numbers of the
lots and ranges in which they are situated. Greene v. Ziunt, 58 â 518.
50. Nor because it does not affirmatively appear that a "record of
the assessment and of the invoice and valuation from which it was
made," "or a copy of it," was deposited in the assessors' or clerk's
office, "before the taxes were committed to the proper officer for col-
51. Nor because the warrant to the collector for the collection of
State, county and town taxes also contained a direction to collect a
certain "sum voted by the inhabitants of school district, No. 9," when
it did not appear that the provisions of R. S., 1857, c. 11, Â§ 39, had
been complied with. lb.
52. Nor because it contained a direction to collect a deficient high-
way tax when it did not appear that the highway surveyor gave the
statute notice to the delinquent tax-payer, or returned to the assessors
the lists required by R. S., c. 18, Â§ 48. lb.
53. Nor because it does not appear that prior to the notice of sale,
the collector made a demand on the owner for the tax on the land
54. Nor because the collector's notice of (sale did not designate
the owner's "right," or contain any sucfc description of the land "as
is necessary to render it certain and plain," other than the number of
acres and the number of lot and range. lb.
55. Nor because there was no evidence that the owner was noti-
fied of the sale as required by R. S., c. 6, Â§ 168, except so far as it
appeared from the collector's return upon the back of the notice, and
in his "return with a particular statement of his doings in making the
sale," that he has "given the notice of said intended sale as required
56. Nor because the collector's return to the town treasurer was not
made within four days of the time notified for the sale, but was made
within four days of the time to which the sale was adjourned and
actually made. lb.
57. The Sale. In order to authorize the sale of an entire parcel
of land for taxes, it should distinctly appear of record that the sale
of the whole "was required to pay the tax, interest, and charges," and
that no person would pay the sum required for a fractional part of
the land. French v. Patterson^ 61 â 203.
58. It should appear that the treasurer offered for sale to pay these
sums, a fractional part of the land ; or that no person would pay the
amount due for a less quantity of land than the whole parcel. lb.
59. A return by the treasurer, that he "sold so much of the estate
as was sufficient to pay the amount due," does not show that he did
not sell piore than "was required" therefor. Ih.
60. Adveetisement. In the sale of land for non-payment of taxes,
the land assessed and sold must be accurately described. Chiffin v.
61. Thus in the notice of the State treasurer's annual sale of lands
in places not incorporated, and forfeited for State and county taxes,
certain land, situated in township No. 8, South Division, in Hancock
county, consisting of twenty thousand acres, was advertised and
described as follows : " Track No. 8, S. D. Advertised 4197 ; held,
that the description was too vague to pass the title. lb.
62. When taxes are set to different persons, or upon different and
distinct rights, numbers of lots, or divisions, each right, number of
lot, or division, must be separately advertised, and sold. Nason v.
63. A record of the State treasurer reads thus : "Previous to said
sale, I caused notice of the time and place of sale, and lists of said
tracts intended for sale, with the amount of said unpaid taxes, interest
and costs, on each parcel, to be published three weeks successively as
follows, viz : 1. In the Kennebec Journal, the State paper, a list of
all said tracts. 2. In the Ellsworth American, a newspaper printed
in the county of Hancock, a list of all said tracts which lie in that
county," does not show that he published in such papers the amount
of such taxes, etc., but only a list of the lands taxed. Tolmam, v.
(c) JBy suit.
64. In an action by a collbctoe to recover a poll tax assessed
upon one not an inhabitant of the town at the time the tax was
assessed, the defendant may go behind the warrant and show the tax
to be illegal. McCrilUs v. Mansfield, 64â198.
65. An action by a collector, against an administrator of an insolvent
estate, to recover taxes assessed against the intestate, may be main-
tained without having laid the claim before the commissioners of insol-
vency appointed upon the estate. Bulfinch v. Jienner, 64 â 404.
_ 66. By Town. Under the Act of 1874, c. 232,>giving towns the
right of action to recover unpaid taxes, held, that an action would lie
to recover a tax assessed before the statute became operative. York
V. Goodwin, 67â260.
67. Also that the demand, required by the act to be made before
the action could be maintained, might be made by the collector. li.
68. The fact that a warrant for the collection of the tax was in the
hands of the collector, by whom the demand was made, is no objec-
tion to the maintenance of the suit. lb.
69. It seems that if a suit is brought it is a waiver of procedure
by arrest or distraint. lb.
70. An action may be maintained by a town against a tax payer to
recover the amount of his tax without proof that the direction of the
statute, (R. S., 1871, c. 6, Â§ 65,) that the assessors shall give notice to
the inhabitants of the town to bring in their lists of taxable property
before proceeding to make an assessment, has been complied with.
Boothbay v. Bace, 68 â 351.
VI. TAX DEEDS.
71. Where in the trial of a writ of entry, the plaintiff's title depends
upon a tax sale, his production of the treasurer's deed, the assess-
ments, warrants and proof of advertisement in pursuance of R. S.,
1857, c. 6, Â§ 145, make only a prima facie case. Orono v. Veazie,
72. While setting up a tax-title, the plaintiff is making out aprima
facie case, by proofs on his part, the defendant may contest the suffi-
ciency of the plaintiff's evidence to establish the requirements of the
statute, without being required to pay or tender the amount of "taxes
charges, and interest." lb. See also French v. Patterson, 61 â ^203.
73. But if he would go further and introduce proof and take advan-
tage of all illegalities in the raising, assessing and collecting of the
tax, he must make the payment or tender required by the statute.
74. The claimant under a tax deed can not invoke the provisions
of R. S., 1871, c. 6, Â§ 174, requiring payment or tender of the amount
of the tax, charges and interest, by the defendant before he can con-
test the validity of such deed, where the land m controversy was
sold for a gross sum with other land. Phillips v. Sherman, 61 â 548.
75. DBSCRiPTioisr. A tax deed describing the premises as "one-
fourth, No. 5, R. 8, W. E. L. S.," is void for vagueness of descrip-
tion. Larrabee v. Sodgkins, 58 â 412.
76. Parol evidence is not admissible to identify land insufficiently
described in an assessment and tax deed. Orono v. Veazie, 61 â
77. As the law was in this State in 1835, in order to sustain a title
under the tax deed from a county treasurer, it must affirmatively ap-
pear that the provisions of law, preparatory to and authorizing a sale
of land for taxes, had been strictly complied with. Savage v. Holy-
78. The KECITALS in a tax deed, that the officer executing it, com-
plied with the requirements of the statute in advertising and selling
the land, must be proved by extrinsic evidence. Five years' posses-
sion by the complainant, raises no presumption of law that the stat-
ute has been complied with. Phillips v. Sherman, 61 â 548.
79. The recitals in a tax deed, unless made so by statute, are not in
themselves evidence of a compliance with the statute in making the
sale. Nason v. Picker, 63 â 381.
80. The deed of the treasurer of a town, of land sold for the non-
payment of taxes, under R. S., c. 6, Â§ 160, so describing himself in
the deed, and signing it as treasurer, is only the personal deed of the
treasurer, and will not avail or aid in making out & prima facie title,
under Â§ 162. Treat v. Smith, 68â894.
VII. REMEDY FOR ILLEGAL TAXATIOST.
81. Ovee-Valtjation. If the assessors of a town make upon one of
the inhabitants an over-valuation or assess him for property not owned
by him, his only remedy is by application for abatement in accordance
with R. S., 1857, c. 6, Â§Â§ 54, 55. Gilpatrick v. Saco, b7â277.
82. Illegal Assessment. Assumpsit can not be maintained by a
resident owner to recover from his town money paid under protest to
redeem land sold for taxes, raised for a legal purpose but assessed in
an irregular or defective manner. Pogers v. Gheenbush, 58 â 390.
83. Pbotest. The form of protestation under which a tax is paid
with a view of recovering it back is immaterial, but it must be more
definite than a general complaint of injustice or inequality. It must
be a distinct and definite protest against paying the particular tax on
the ground of its illegality. lb.
84. Under R. S., c. 6, Â§ 114, a tax-payer can not in an action for
money had and received, recover "any damages he has sustained, by
reason of the mistakes, errors, or omissions," of the assessors, collector,
or treasurer. Grilman v. Waterville, 59 â 491.
85. An action under c. 6, Â§ 114, to recover such damages can not
528 TAX â TELEGRAPH.
be sustained, 'when it does not appear that the plaintiff has paid more
than his tax ; or more than he â would have paid, if the mistakes, errors,
or omissions had not occurred ; or that he has in his person or property
suffered injury on that account. Ih.
86. Sums paid for extra interest as well as those paid to a "prosecu-
ting committee," but not raised for those purposes by a vote of the
town, can not be deemed to be included in a tax and be recovered
back as being "raised for an illegal purpose." Ih.
87. A sum assessed to pay a disputed claim against the town, which
has been settled in good faith, and in the exercise of a sound discretion,
can not be considered as 'â 'â not raised for a legal object." Vbse v.
88. Want of Jueisdiction in the Assessors. A person, whose
property has been sold to pay an assessment which was illegal for want
of jurisdiction in the assessors, may recover damages to the extent of
his injury in an action of tort against the assessors ; or he may recover
the proceeds of the sale in assumpsit against the town. Ware v.
89. Having elected assumpsit, and the judgment therein recovered
having been satisfied, the party aggrieved is estopped to set up the
tort, the waiver of which was the foundation of his suit in assumpsit,
and can not maintain an action against the assessors. lb.
90. A collector is not liable in trespass for arresting one whose
name is borne upon the tax-lists committed to him for collection,
though such person be not liable to assessment in the taxing town,
when assessed. Nowell v. Tripp., 61 â 426.
91. If a tax payer, who is properly assessed for certain personal
property in a town, is also assessed for certain other property alleged
to be taxable therein, but which is taxable in another town, his reme-
dy is not by suit against the town to recover the tax paid upon the
last mentioned property under protest, but by application to the
county commissioners. Waite v. Princeton, 66 â 225.
See Pkactice, 114, p. 450.
1. A telegraph operator is bound to testify to the contents of a mes-
sage. State V. Litchfield, 58 â 267.
2. A rule adopted by a telegraph company, that it will send mes-
sages at night at half the usual rates, on condition that the company