George Crane Morehouse.

The supervisors' manual : a practical treatise on the law applicable to the duties of supervisors from the date of their election to the end of their official term; also, the law relative to town bonds, railroad aid bonds, defective roads and bridges, town meetings, assessment and collection of taxe online

. (page 21 of 96)
Online LibraryGeorge Crane MorehouseThe supervisors' manual : a practical treatise on the law applicable to the duties of supervisors from the date of their election to the end of their official term; also, the law relative to town bonds, railroad aid bonds, defective roads and bridges, town meetings, assessment and collection of taxe → online text (page 21 of 96)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

scribe the kind of notice and mode in which it shall be given.


In order to invalidate a tax, it is not enough to show that it is op-
pressive and unfair in its effect.

People T. Supervisors, 36 Hun, 491.

For a discussion and statement of the restrictions imposed by the
Constitution of the United States and of the State, see " System of
Taxation," by Davies, chaps. 1 and 2, and cases cited.

188 SuPERVisoBs' Manual.

§ 257. The Property Liable to Taxation— All

lands and all personal estate, within this State, whether owned by
individuals or by corporations, shall be liable to taxation, subject to
the exemptions hereinafter specified.

2R. S. 981, SI.
See Decisions, under § 259.

§ 258. Land, Real Estate, What is.— The term
" land," as used in this chapter, shall be construed to include the
land itself above and under water ; all buildings and other articles
and structures, substructures and superstructures, erected upon, un-
der or above, or affixed to the same ; all wharves and piers, includ-
ing the value of the right to collect wharfage, cranage or dockage
thereon ; all bridges ; all telegraph Hues, wires, poles and appurte-
nances ; all surface, underground or elevated railroads; all railroad
structures, substructures and superstructures, tracks and the iron
thereon ; branches, switches and other fixtures permitted or author-
ized to be made, laid or placed in, upon, above or under any public
or private road, street or grounds ; all mains, pipes and tanks laid
or placed in, upon, above or under any public or private street or
place ; all trees and underwood growing upon land ; and all mines
minerals, quarries and fossils, in and under the same, except mines
belonging to the State. The terms " real estate " and " real prop-
erty," whenever they occur in this chapter shall be construed as hav-
ing the same meaning as the term " land," thus defined.

2 B. S. 981, thus amended hy chap. 293, Laws of 1881.
See Decisions, under § 359.

§ 259. Plankroads and Turnpike Roads.— So

much of such road and of the toll-houses, gates and other appurte-
nances thereof constructed by virtue of the " act to provide for the
incorporation of companies to construct plankroads, and of compa-
nies to construct turnpike roads," as shall be within any town, city
or village, shall be liable to taxation in such town, city or village as
real estate.

Chap. 210, Laws of 1847, §48.

As to bridge companies, see post, § 397.
See exemptions hereof, post, § 273.

" The tunnels, tracks, substructures, superstructures, stations, via-
ducts and masonry of the New York Central and Hudson River
Eailroad Company, situated on and under Fourth avenue " in the city
of NewTork, are laud within the meaning of the above statute.

People V. The Commissioners of Taxes, 101 N. Y. 822; reversiDg 8. C. in 23 Hun,


Of the Assessment axd CoLLBCTioiir of Taxes. 189

As regards taxation it is immaterial whether a railroad is laid
upon the surface, placed on pillars or carried through a covered way
or tunnel ; the structures adapted to sustain it or facilitate and pro-
tect its use are within the meaning of the statute defining land.

Where a lessee is the owner of the buildings upon the demised
premises, the fact that the lessor has, by the lease, a right of re-
entry in case of non-performance by the lessee, does not affect his
present right to the buildings, or the right to assess them to him.
In such case the buildings are real estate within the above statute.

People T. Board of Assessors of Brooklyn, 93 N. Y. 308.

The foundations, columns and superstructure of an elevated rail-
way are included in the words "lands." and "real estate " as defined
in above statute, and are taxable as such.

People T. Commissioners of Taxes, 82 N. Y. 459

The term " lands " as used in this statute includes such an interest
in real estate as will protect the erections or affixing and possession
of buildings and fixtures thereon, though unaccompanied by the
fee ; and such an interest, with the buildings and fixtures, may be
assessed to the owner, although the fee in the land upon which it is
laid is in another.

People T. Cassity, 46 N. Y. 46.

The track of. relators, consisting of stringers, ties and rails aSixed
to the land, is real property.


Parties may, by contract, so regulate their respective interests in
real estate that one may be owner of the buildings and the other of
the land. In such case each interest may be assessed to its owner,
and an assessment of the buildings as real estate is proper.

People, ex rel. Mailer, t. Board of Assessors, 93 N. Y. 808; People, ex rel. Van
Nest, T. Comra., 80 id. 573; Smith v. Mayor, 68 id. 552.

A mere ^^ franchise" or " moorporeal hereditament" of any
kind, is not taxable, except by special statute, but a pier constructed
in the harbor of New York, upon lands belonging to the city, under
a grant from it of the right to construct and maintain the pier, and
to charge wharfage for its use, is land within the meaning of the
above statute and liable to be assessed to the owner and taxed as

Smith V. Mayor, etc., of New York, 68 N. Y. 552

The '^franchise" of a corporation is not within the tax laws, to
be reckoned as realty.

It seems that corporate franchises are not, on general principles,
to be considered as real property.

People, exrel. P. B. R., v. Comrs., 104 N. Y. 240, and cases cited.

190 Supervisors' Makital.

Certain lands under water were granted by the city of New York
reserving a portion of the land "for the use and purposes of pub-
lic streets and highways," the grantee covenanting to erect a wharf,
keep it in repair, and always to be used as a wharf, the grantee to
have the wharfage. B.eld, that his interest was taxable as "land."

People, exrel. Smith, v. Comra., 10 Hun, 207.

The interest of a lessee for nine hundred and ninety years at
a mere nominal rent, the estate then to go to the executor or ad-
ministrator for distribution as personalty, held taxable as real estate.

Elmirav. Dunn, 22 Barb. 402.

Where a society whose real estate was exempted from taxation so
long as its revenues were disposed of in accordance to the act incor-
porating it, gave leases for twenty-one years, the lessees being re-
quired to erect buildings thereon and pay rent and all ordinary
taxes, held, that the buildings erected in pursuance of the lease were
subject to taxation and properly assessed to ilie lessees as real estate.

People r. Board of Assessors, 27 Hun, 559.

A corporation organized under the act of 1873, chapter 737 ; 1876,
chapter 415; 1877, chapter 171, providing for the formation of
water-works compatiies, 'which has contracted with a town or vil-
lage to furnish water for an agreed compensation, is not thereby
constituted a governmental agency and its property is subject to tax-

People V. Forrest, 97 N. Y. 97.

/ In this proceeding, instituted to review an assessment made by
the assessors of the village of Olean, upon the property of the re-
lator, a foreign corporation doing business in said village, it was
shown that its property, within this State, consisted of mains, pipes
and tanks for the reception and distribution of natural gas, laid or
located beneath, or upon the streets of the village under a grant
from it, and that its business was the sale and distribution to con-
sumers of natural gas for fuel and light, the company itself pro-
ducing no gas of its own, but receiving under a contract with an-
other company, its supply of gas from the pipe line of the latter
company into its own mains at the village limits.

From the return made by the assessors it appeared that the method
adopted by the assessors, in arriving at the valuation in question,
involved some estimate of the value of the relator's /rawoAise from
the village ; of its contract with the company furnishing the gas,
and of its income and the profits of its business resulting from that
contract ; if not as parts of its property, at least as elements of the
value of that property. Held, that the assessment was erroneous.

People, ex rel. Kingston Gas Co., v. Martin, 48 Hun, 193.

That the system of mains, tanks and service pipes, as well as a
small lot on which the tanks stood, were required by chapter 293 of
1881, to be assessed as real estate, "at its full and true value," and

Of the Assessment and Collection of Taxes. 191

that tlie value of the rights and privileges granted by the village to
the company and of the contract with tlie other company, could not
be considered m determining that value.


The referee appointed * * * before whom the hearing was had,
actmg pursuant to the provisions of chapter 37, Laws of 1885, based
his valuation upon the cost of furnishing and laying the gas mains
and pipes, considered as an investment, held, that it was error to ap-
ply the rule prescribed by that act to the valuation of real estate, as
it applied only to personal property.

The lands of India/ii tribes were not subject to taxation under the
Eevised Statutes, but such lands were taxable as "non-resident
lands" when the Indian tribes, although actually occupying them,
were so doing under a treaty which had extinguished their owner-

Fellows T. Dennistpn, 23 N. T. 420.

A toU-hridge over a navigable river is properly assessed and taxed
as real estate.

Hudson K. Bridge Co. t. Patterson, 1i N. T. S65.

§ 260. State liands in Forest Preserve.

CHAP. 280.

AN ACT to provide for the taxation of forest land in the counties
known as the Forest Preserve,

Passed May 5, 1886; three-fifths being present.

The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and
Assembly, do enact as follows :

Section 1. All wild or forest lands belonging to or which may
hereafter be acquired by the State within the limits of the Forest
Preserve as established by chapter 283 of the Laws of 1885, shall be
assessed and taxed at a like valuation and at a like rate as those -at
which similar lands of individuals within such counties are assessed
and taxed, subject, however, to the provisions of this act. On or
before August first in every year the assessors of the town within
which the lands so belonging to the State are situated shall file in
the oflace of the comptroller and in the oftice of the forest commis-
sion, a copy of the assessment-roll of the town which, in addition to
the other matters now required by law to be stated therein, shall state
and specfy which and how much, if any, of the lands assessed are for-
est lands, and also, and separately, which and how much, if any, of the
lands assessed are lands belonging to the State ; such statements and
specifications to be verified by the oaths of a majority of the said as-
sessors. The comptroller shall thereupon, and before the first day of
September following, and after hearing the assessors and the forest

192 SuPEKVisoRS' Manual.

commission, if tbey or any of them so desire, correct or reduce any as-
sessment of State land which may in his judgment be in iinfair propor-
tion to the remaining assessments of lands within the town, and shall
in other respects approve the assessment and communicate such ap-
proval, and no such assessment of State lands shall be valid for any
purpose until the amount of the assessment is so approved by
the comptroller, and such approval attached and deposited with
the assessment-roll of the town and therewith delivered by the as-
sessors of the town to the supervisor of the town, or other ofScer
authorized to receive the same from the assessors. No tax for the
erection of a school-house or opening a road shall be imposed upon
State lands, unless such erection or opening shall have been first ap-
proved in writing by the forest commission. Payments of the taxes
which may be imposed according to law and the provisions of this
act, upon lands so belonging to the State, shall in every year be made
by the treasurer of the State upon the certificate of the comptroller
as to the lawful and just amount of such taxes, by allowing to the
treasurer of the county in which any such lands may be situate a
credit of the amount of such taxes due upon such lands, upon the
amount payable by such county treasurer in such year to the State for
State taxes ; providing, however, that no fees shall be allowed by the
comptroller to the county treasurers in adjusting their accounts for
such portion of the State tax as is so paid.
§ 2 . This act shall take effect immediately.

See Comptroller's Instructions, § 351, post.

§ 261. Assessment of State I<ands for Local

Section 1. The persons or officials authorized to assess lands for
any local injprovements or purposes whatsoever are hereby directed
and required to serve on the comptroller of this State, at least three
weeks prior to the confirmation of the same, a written notification
of the assessment by them of any State lands, which notification
shall show the purpose for which the assessment is made, the law
authorizing the same, and the State lands and the amounts for which
they are assessed, and no such assessment shall be legal unless such
notification be duly served. No fee, interest, penalty or expeuse
shall be added to or accrue on any such assessment against State
lands, nor shall such lands be sold therefor, but such assessments
shall, if confirmed and uncontested, be paid and discharged by the
State comptroller out of any moneys appropriated therefor.

§ 2. All sales of State lands for unpaid taxes or assessments for
any local improvements or purposes, and all sales of such lands by
aiiy municipal or village authority, whether the title thereto be de-
rived from a tax sale or otherwise, for any unpaid tax levied thereon
while such title vested in the State, are hereby vacated and declared

§ 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

Chap. 435, Laws of 1886.

Of the Assessment and Collection of Taxes. 193
§262. As to Real Estate of Corporations.—

The real estate of all incorporated companies liable to taxation shall
be assessed in the town or ward in which the same shall lie, in the
same manner as the real estate of individuals.

2R. S. 990, § 6.
See post "Corporations."

§ 263. Lands Sold by tlie State.— Lands sold by the
State, though not granted or conveyed, shall be assessed in the same
manner as if actually conveyed.

2B. S. 982, § 6.

§264. Personal Property.— The terms "personal es-
tate," and " personal property," whenever they occur in this chap-
ter, shall be construed to include all household furniture, moneys,
goods, chattels debts due from solvent debtors, whether on account,
contract, note, bond or mortgage, public stocks, and stocks in moneyed
corporations. They shall also be construed to include such portion
of the capital of incorporated companies, liable to taxation on their
capital, as shall not be invested in real estate.

2 R. S. 982, § 3.
See Decisions under § 267, post.

§ 265. Certain Debts Q-wing* to Non-Resi-
dents. — Certain rents reserved, and certain debts owing to non-
residents are personal property. The laws relating to these are set
out in full later.

See post, "Assessor's Duties," §§ 311, 313-317.

See Decisions, § 267, post.

§ 266. Debts and Oblig-ations Due, or O-wiag,
Residents of tbis State.— All debts and obligations for
the payment of money due or owing"to persons residing within this
State, however secured, or wherever such securities shall be held,
shall be deemed, for the purposes of taxation, personal estate within
the State, and shall be assessed as such to the owner or owners
thereof in the town, village or ward in which such owner or owners
shall reside at the time such assessment shall be made (but nothing
herein contained shall in any manner authorize the assessment of the
same property in more than one place in this State in any one year),
nor shall any personal property or estate exempt from taxation un-
der the laws of the United States be liable to assessment under the
provisions of this act.

" § 2. When a person shall have acquired a residence in any town,

194 SuPEEVisoKs' Manual.

village or ward in this State, and shall have been taxed therein, such
residence shall be presumed to continue for the purposes of taxation
nntil he shall have acquired another residence in said State, or shall
have removed therefrom."

Chap. 892, Laws of 1883, ^ost, §S 298, 308.
See Decisions, § 367, post.

§ 267. As to the Taxable Personal Property
of Corporations.

See post, "Corporations," Chap. VI.

As to Individual Banker

See post, % 405.

Business Capital of Non-Residents.— All persons
and associations doing business in the State of JSTew York as mer-
chants, bankers or othervfise, either as principals or partners, whether
special or otherwise, and not residents of this State, shall be assessed
and taxed on all sums invested in any manner in said business, the
same as if they were residents of this State ; and said taxes shall be
collected from the property of the firms, persons or associations to
which they severally belong.

Chap. 37, Laws of 1855.


Personal Property. — Corporate franchises are regarded
as personal propert3\

People, exrel. P. R. R. Co., v. Comrs., 104 N. T. 240.

Bonds issued by the city of New York and held by a corporation
liable to taxation in that city, are taxable.

People, exrel. Manhattan, etc., v. Comrs., 76 N. Y. 64.

So are bonds of other States, held by citizens of this State, tax-
able at their actual value.

People, ezrel. Trowbridge, v. Comrs., 4 Hun, 695.

Debts Due Non-Residents.— The purchase of bonds,
mortgages and contracts for lands sold do not create a debt for " the
purchase of real estate," but a debt arising out of the purchase of
choses in action,

Eedfieldv. Supervisors, Clarke's Chancery Bep. 42.

but such debts for lands bought, are properly taxable in the town
where debtor resides.


Of the Assessment and Collection of Taxes. 195

This act (chap. 371, Laws of 1851) doess not apply to taxation for vil-
lage or municipal purposes, and money due on a contract for sale
of lands is personalty, and where such contract, belonging to a non-
resident of the State, is in the possession and control of an agent
residing in the village, it may, for municipal purposes, be assessed
and taxed to the agent, notwithstanding chapter 371, Laws of 1851.

People, exrel. Westbrook, v. Trustees, 48 N. Y. 390.

Taxation of Resident O-wners of Debts,
Sonds, etc. — A resident member of a partnership doing busi-
ness in New York city and in San Francisco, died in November ;
his executors were assessed in January upon personal property, be-
ing his interest in the partnership, before the value of decedent's
interest had been ascertained and before any accounting had or as-
sets received by the executors. Held, that such assessment was error,
and should be set aside, because at the time it was made there was
*'no debt or obligation" due and owing from the survivors of the
California firm within the meaning of the statute.

People, ex rel, Strauss, t. Coleman, ii Hun, 20.

Personal property of a resident actually situated in another State
or country, is not to be included in the assessment against him here.
This applies only to property which is capable of having an actual
^tus and has one without the State. Property merely in transit
through the State is not taxable.

People, ex rel. Hoyt, v. Comrs., 23 N. Y. 224.

The relator, residing in New York city, was assessed in respect to
capital invested in business in New Orleans and chattels upon his
farm in New Jersey. Held, erroneous.

As the act of 1883, chapter 392, does not, in terms, refer to
agents, executors or trustees, a trustee should not be taxed as owner
of funds, the whole beneficial interest in which is in a resident of
another State.

People, ex rel. Darrow, v. Comrs., 33 Daly, 933.
Davies' " System, of Taxation," p. 66.

This act is not to be construed to apply to trust property in the
form of securities on property out of the State where the cestui que
trust and remainder-man all live without the State. Such property
is not taxable here.

Id.; 21 Abb. N. C. 168.

Individual Banker. — Such banker should be assessed by
the name he has adopted in business, ex. gr.. The Pratt Bank, and
the tax warrant issued against him by such name and levied upon
his property used in his business.

Patchin v. Bitter, 27 Barb. 34.

196 Supervisors' Makual.

The residence of snch banker, doing business under the general
banking law, for purposes of taxation, is the town or ward specified
as the location of nis banking-house in the certificate required by law.
The actual location of his banking-office is to be assumed to have
been mentioned in the certificate, and consequently to be the place
of his residence, where the certificate is not in evidence.

Miner v. Fredonia, 27 N. T. 155.

A banker assessed $3,000 on his banking-house, $2.5,000 on capital
stock, $28,000 for personal property, including surplus, from which
last item the value of his banking-house was deducted, testified be-
fore the assessors that he had no personal property liable to taxation
except the capital of the bank, amounting to $25,000 ; that $10,000
of this was in United States bonds and that his banking-house formed
part of his capital stock. Held^ that it was the duty of the asses-
sors to strike from the valuation of his capital the valuation of the
banking-house; to strike out the $10,000 United States bonds, and
that the whole assessment for personal property should be struck
out, as there was nothing in the evidence to justify them in retaining
that item against his oath.

People, eard. Raplee, t. Reddy, 43 Barb. 539.

An assessment against a banker for " circulation, notes and profits,'*
was intimated to be illegal and to make an assessment-roll void on its.
face, as it appeared to tax the banker for obligations issued by him
and for which he was a debtor.

Bellinger T. Gray, 51 N. Y. 610.

Business Capital of Non-Residents. —Where re-
lator's property amounted to $125,000 which was "continuously
employed in the business of exporting cotton from the United States
to foreign countries " — Such employment consisted in purchasing
cotton in different States and exporting the same, etc. Held tax(Me.

People, ezrel. HuoemaD, t. Comrs., 10 Han, 255.

Where, at the time of making an assessment-roll, the agent of a
non-resident has moneys belonging to his principal, on deposit in a
bank, it is liable to be assessed to the agent and taxed, although,
prior to the time appointed for the correction of the roll, it has been
withdrawn and used.

People V. Trustees of Village of Ogdensburgh, 48 N. T. 390.

Where a foreign banking corporation had an agency permanently
established in the city of New York, to which it transmitted its
surplus funds to be employed in temporary loans subject at all times
to its control and drafts, Aeld, that snch bank was not liable to taxa-
tion on the funds so employed.

People exrel. Bank of M., v. Comrs., 59 N. T. 40.

Of the Assessment and Collection of Taxes. 197

And that chapter 176, Laws of 1861, was not repealed by said
chapter 37, Laws of 1855.

A foreign corporation doing business in this State and having a
principal office or place for transaction of that business, is to be as-
fiessed upon all sums invested therein as the personal estate of a do-
mestic corporation is assessed, in the town or ward where such
principal office or place of business is located, without regard to the
■situs of the property.

Where certain personal property belonging to such foreign corpo-
ration and having only one office for transacting its financial con-
cerns (which was in New York city) was assessed and taxed in the
town of O. to H., an agent of the corporation and also a resident of
that town, who had charge of the property therein for the purposes
■of the business of the corporation, held, that no assessment upon
the property could be made save in the city of New York ; that said
town assessors had no jurisdiction thereof and that their assessment
was void.

People, ex rel. Bay State Shoe, etc., v. McLean, 80 N. T. 254.

Moneys in the hands of a resident partner, belonging to a firm
whose principal place of business was in a foreign country but
which transacted business here, held, subject to taxation here
although the business was the buying products for sale abroad and
the moneys were here only for that purpose.

/» r« McMahon, 66 How. Pr. 190.

Goods of a nonresident sent to this State for thepurjaose of sale,

Online LibraryGeorge Crane MorehouseThe supervisors' manual : a practical treatise on the law applicable to the duties of supervisors from the date of their election to the end of their official term; also, the law relative to town bonds, railroad aid bonds, defective roads and bridges, town meetings, assessment and collection of taxe → online text (page 21 of 96)