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

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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 27 of 96)
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But in some cities, the original is required to be filed and a certi-
fied copy made by the assessor for the supervisor, to be delivered to
the board of supervisors. In such cases a second copy should be
made by the supervisor.

It is the assessors' duty to foot each page. It is the practice also
for the supervisor to insert in the back part of the roll a recapitular
tion of the footing of each page of the roll as follows :

§ 335. To-wn of WMtesto-wn.






First page

$2,000 00
3,000 00
4,000 00

$1,000 00
2,000 00
1,000 00

$3,000 00
5,000 00
5,000 00


Third Daa-e


And so on with each page of
the roll.


$3,000,000 00 S800.000 00

$3,800,000 00


246 SuPEKVisoRs' Makual.


Total valuation, personal $800,000 00

Total valuation, real 3,000,000 00

Aggregate valuation of Town $3,800,000 00

Total number of dogs taxed, 50.



When the committee on footings enter upon their duties, their labor will be
lessened by the above, as they have only to check the results.

§ 336. Tax on Land Vacant by Removal of
Occupant. — If the taxes on any farm or lot of land, assessed to
a resident, shall be returned as unpaid, in consequence of such
premises becoming vacant by the removal of the occupant before the
collection of the tax imposed thereon, or in default of goods
and chattels of the occupant to satisfy such tax, or if the
taxes on any land occupied by or used in connection with any
railroad, which was assessed to any person, company or corporation,
owning, operating or constructing such railroad, shall be returned as
unpaid, the supervisor of the town or ward in which such land was
assessed shall add a description thereof to the assessment-roll of the
next year in the pari thereof appropriated to taxes on lands of non-
residents, shall charge the same with the uncollected tax of the pre-
ceding year ; and the same proceedings shall be had thereon, in all
respects, as if it was the land of a non-resident, and as if such tax
had been laid in the year in which the description is so added. The
land occupied by or used in connection with any railroad assessed to
any person, company or corporation owning, operating or construct-
ing such railroad, may be described in the following form :

"A strip of land owned and occupied by the railroad company, in the

year , extending about feet on each side of the railroad track, and

embracing the same, together with all the depots, stations, turnouts, switches and
other improvements thereon and connected therewith, commencing at a point
where such railroad track crosses the boundary line in entering the ward

of the city of , or town of , and extending to the point where such

track crosses the boundary line leaving such ward of the city of , or

the town of , or to the point of termination in the same, containing

acres more or less."

Laws of 1855, chap. 427, § 6, as amended by Laws of 1876, chap. 101 ; 2 B. S. 1019.

In the case of land becoming vacant by removal of the occupant,
the return by the collector unpaid, the land should be entered hy the
supervisors, as " non-resident " as to such unpaid tax with the proper
description, and all proceedings for the collection thereof must
thereafter be had as if it were land of a non-resident.

Newman v. Board of Supervisors, 45 N. T. 676.

Of the Assessment and Collection of Taxes. 347

This act does not give to the comptroller the authority to sell for
unpaid taxes, resident lands, assessed and returned as such.

Bennett v. Peck, 112 N. T. 649.

The amount of such tax can be ascertained from the return of the
county treasurer, and no charge can be included or added to such tax,
except the collectors' fees (five per cent), which is so made when re-
turned to the treasurer by the respective collectors.

The heading of the return should describe what lands they are,
and the collectors' affidavit should state the reason why such tax was
not collected.

It is also requisite that these lands should be described and added
to the assessment-roll of the yearrhext after that in which the tax was
levied. This is also the case in regard to non-resident lands rejected
by the comptroller.

In all cases the lands must be returned the next year following
such rejection ; otherwise the comptroller has no authority to admit

It will be seen from the foregoing, that no authority exists for
relevying uncollected resident taxes of a preceding year, and adding
the amount to the resident tax upon the same property the succeed-
ing year, and that such relevy can only be done in the manner pro-
vided by said chapter 101, herein quoted. The- "description"
therein referred to must be such as will enable the comptroller (in case
of sale by him for the delinquency) to accurately and suflBeiently de-
scribe the same in the deed thereof issued by him in such cases.
Where the taxes so returned include those for school and highway
purposes, these items so described should be stated separately.

The entry so made of resident lands in the portion of the assess-
ment-roll assigned to nonresidents should contain the accurate de-
scription (as heretofore stated) with the valuation, and then be
charged as follows :

Besident tax of 18 $

Highway tax 188

School tax of 188

These items must be separate from the tax of any other year im-
posed upon the same property.

248 SuPEBVisoRs' Manctal.






ciomptbollee's office,
Albany, ,1889.

To THE Supervisor of the Town of , County of , N. T.:

Sir, — Herewith you will receive from the treasurer of your county the state-
ment of unpaid taxes of the year 1888, on lauds of non-residents in your town,
which have been rejected by me in accordance with the requirements of law.
The examination has been full and complete, and, on the statement of rejections,
I have endeavored to fully and clearly point out the causes of rejection, and to
state the requirements necessary to secure the admission of such of said taxes as
can possibly be admitted .

Tour attention is called to the requirements of law, which are :

That you are to add to the assessment-roll of your town for the year 1889, accu-
rate descriptions of the lands on which non-resident taxes of 1888 and resident
and omitted taxes of 1887 have been rejected, and the correct amount of taxes
thereon. Where you reduce the number of acres, the valuation thereof and taxes
thereon must be reduced in the same proportion ; but where the acres are increased,
the valuation and taxes must remain as they were .

That no interest is to be added to such relevied taxes.

That you are to furnish the comptroller with all maps and surveys required by

That unless you fully comply with the above requirements, the comptroller
cannot admit any such rejected taxes relevied on the roll for 1889, but that such
taxes must then be charged on your town ; and

That all taxes assessed as resident, or omitted, for years prior to 1887, and all
assessed as non-resident for years prior to 1888, must be charged on your town.
They cannot be hereafter admitted, nor legally collected, under any circumstances.

Before extending the taxes on the assessment-roll of your town for the year
1889, you will please examine said roll and see :

That the assessor's oath, worded strictly as required by law, signed by the asses-
sors and certified by an " oificer of their county authorized by law to administer
oaths," is written or printed thereon.

That the assessors of your town, after the third Tuesday of August, 1889,
severally appeared before such oflScer, and made and subscribed said oath; and

That the following provisions of law are fully complied with, viz. :

§ 31. The board of supervisors shall also make such alterations in the descrip-
tions of the lands of non-residents, as may be necessary to render such descrip-
tions conformable to the provisions of this chapter, and if such alterations cannot
be made, they shall expunge the descriptions of such lands, and the as-
sessments thereon, from the assessment-rolls."
See2R. S. (7th ed.) 996.

The provisions referred to in said section are substantially as follows, viz.:
1st. Unoccupied lands, 7wt owned by a person residing in the town or ward
where the same are situated, mij^t be assessed in a part of the assessment-roll
separate from the other assessments, under the heading, "lands of non-RESI-



2d. If such lands be a part of a village, patent, purchase, reserve, townsliip, or
other large tract, the name (and number thereof, if numbered), must be set down
on the roll, above the list of lots therein, the name of the larger division first,
followed by the smaller divisions thereof in their proper order.

3d. If such village, patent, purchase, reserve, township, or other large tract, or
any smaller division thereof, is subdivided into numbered lots, sections or sub's, the
land in each of the smallest subdivisions thereof which are numbered, must be
iepa/rately assessed (unless buildings are so located thereon that it is not divisible,
in which case the fact should be stated), and the lot numbers must be set down
in the proper column, in numerical order, witliout the name of the owner. Where
toTiole sub's or lots are assessed, all descriptions and boundaries thereof should be

4th. Where the land assessed is not the whole of a named tract, or of a num-
bered sub or lot, the part assessed must be described, by giving the exact location
and dimensions, a survey, or the complete boundaries thereof. Where bounda-
ries are given, and the laud joins the tract, sub or lot line, it must be bounded
thereby; in other cases, by giving the name of the owner or occupant of the ad-
joining property, or by other definite lines. Where a survey is given, the bound-
ary and point of termination of each line, must be stated. The description should
commence on a line with and following the sub or lot number, and should termi-
nate on the line with and preceding the number of acres.

5th. Where the land assessed is "NOT ON ant map, nor in ant village,
OR NAMED TKACT," Or the " NAME OF TRACT IS OBSOLETE," , each parcel of such
lands must be separately assessed, under such heading, and be definitely described •
by giving the exact location and dimensions, or the complete boundaries thereof.

6th, The quantity of land must, in all cases, be set down on the assessment-
loll, in the proper column. For city or village lots, the dimensions should be
stated, instead of the acres.

7th. All other taxes against the same parcel of land, should follow the regular
town and county tax thereon, on the lines below ; and neither the lot number,
description of land, acres, nor valuation, should be I'epeated.

8th. When two or more school taxes are separately relevied against the same
land, by the board of supervisors, on the roll for any one year, the date of the
original warrant of the school trustees for the collection of each tax, must be
stated on said roll.

9th. Each rejected, resident, canceled or omitted tax, must be described as
such, the year of such tax must be stated opposite each item of tax, and each
year's tax, and each kind of tax, must be separately extended.

The amount of taxes heretofore rejected, annually, at this office, has varied
from $51,000 to $71,000. Of this amount, for years past, not one-sixth has been
relevied so as to become a legal charge on the lands. The remainder has, or must
eventually become a charge on the towns in which the lands are located. If yoii
and the other members of your board of supervisors will take this matter in hand
and faithfully perform your duties, this evil can be corrected in your county, and
the taxes for 1888 be collected /j-oro these lands, which have heretofore virtually
escaped taxation.

The form, on the following page,* will give you a general idea as to the proper
construction of an assessment-roll of lands of non-residents.

As the law further provides that boards of supervisors shall cause corrected as-

* See Assessment-roll, " Lands of Noa-residents," § 351.

350 SupERvisoBs' Manual.

sessment-rolU of eachtoten, or a fair copy thereof, to be delivered to the collector
of taxes for such town, it becomes ymir duty to see that the roll delivered to the
collector of your town for this year, is made to fully conform to the requirements
of law, and that the description, etc., thereon, are free from all the errors

AKD defects which CAUSED THE REJECTION OF THE 1888 TAXES, wMch errors

and defects are fully set forth in the statement herewith.

Believing that you will esteem it a privilege to be instrumental in having all
taxes In your town legally levied, in relieving the tax payers thereof from every
unnecessary charge, and in placing such charge where it properly belongs,

1 remain, respectfully yours,




On presenting the rolls to the board of supervisors, they are gen-
erally referred to the "committee on forms of the assessment-rolls,"
whose duty it is to examine the same and see if the rolls are correct
in "form ; " that is to say, to see that the proper affidavits and cer-
tificates are attached and sworn to after the third Tuesday of Au-
gust, and that the other /o/'?/ia^i^ias specified in the preceding sections
are complied with. From this committee the rolls go to the one

The proper Form of Assessment- Roll is set out at section 351,

Form of Report.

To THE Board op Supervisors of Oneida County:

Tour committee appointed on forms of assessment-rolls respectfully report:
That they have examined the assessment-rolls of the several towns and wards
in the county, and find the same to be correct.



Committee on Footing of Assessment-Rolls.

The duties of this committee are to see that the roUs are correctly
footed. They cannot complete their work until the committee on
" erroneous assessments " report, so that the changes in assessments
can be properly made and inserted in the roll before the footing
oonumttee finish the footings.

Of the Assessment and Collection op Taxes. 251
§ 338. Form of Report.



Your committee beg leave to submit the following tabular statement, compiled
from the rolls of the several towns and wards, as the assessed valuation of this
county for the current year:



Keal Estate.




Dog Tax.


tS70,418 00

$13,700 00

$S81,U8 00

$199 00'


$48,129,373 S8

$1,993, 428 20

963,123,301 78


All of which is respectfully submitted.

Utica, BeceTnb&r 30, 1885.



§ 339. Committee on Erroneous Assess-
ments. — An examination of the proceedings of the board of
supervisors throughout the State shows that the duties and powers
of the board in relation to assessments and assessment-rolls are
greatly misunderstood ; that they are altering and changing the rolls
in many cases where they have no right so to do.

It is wise to remember that their jurisdiction is inferior, local and

They are not vested with absolute powers of legislation nor with
absolute control of assessments or the assessment-rolls.

Such powers as they have are conferred by some statute, expressly
or by necessary implication.

If no statute can be found, allowing them to act, they ought not
to act in the matter.

With two exceptions which are stated below, the board of super-
visors have no right to review the proceedings of the assessors, or to
interfere with the vahtation decided on by the assessors who are the
sole judges of vc^es, exemptions, property liable to taasation, etc.

If the assessors decide that certain property is "■exempt" the
board of supervisors cannot decide that it is not exempt, and insert
it in the roll ;

People, exrel, Sup. of Monroe, v. Hadley, 1 Abb. N. C. 441.

252 SuPEEVisoEs' Manual.

or that fart of it is exempt.


Seeamte, "Review Day," § 328, and " Assessment-Roll," § 307; "Deposit for
Inspection," § 336, and "Omitted Property," § 325; "Manifest Errors," § 348;
" Refunding Taxes," § 347; " Instructions to Committee," §§ 269, 344, and "Val-
uation of Property," § 824.

Marsh v. Bowen, 12 Abb. N. C. 1 ; Westfall v. Geere, 49 N. Y. 349.

It is the duty of tax payers to examine the assessment-rolls during
the time the same are open for public inspection. If over assessed,
to appear before the assessors on review day, submit their proofs
properly, and if denied relief there, to apply to the courts^ not to
the board of supervisors for relief.

If they neglect to do so the courts will rwt aid them,

In, re Hermance, 71 N. T. 481-486 ; People, ex rel. Mutual Union Tel. Co., t. Comrs,
99 id. 254; Sherman v. Trustees, 27 Jiua, 390; Mayor y. Davenport, 92 N. Y. 604-
613; In re McMahon r. Palmer, 102 id. 176.

and there is no other tribunal, but possibly, the legislature of the
State, which can reHeve them, except the two cases mentioned

If the board attempt to act in cases wherein they have no juris-
diction, the members are individually liahle therefor.

Westfall V. Preston, 49 N. Y. 349 ; Clark v. Norton, id. 243 ; Bellinger v. Gray, 61 id.

So that it is quite important for the members to know, that a
statute authorizes their action in these cases, otherwise they may be
compelled to foot the expenses and costs of illegal acts out of their
own pockets.

§ 340. FiPSt. — If the assessors neglect to meet on " review
day " any person aggrieved by the assessment may appeal to the
board of supervisors at their next meeting, who shall have power to
review and correct such assessment.

Chap. 176, Laws of 1851 ; 2 R. S. 993.

This gives them full power, where the assessors fail to so meet, to
review and correct the assessment, not of the whole assessment-roll,
but of such persons only as appeal.

§ 341. Second.— Reserved Rents in Leases, in

Fee, Etc.— By chapter 327, Laws of 1846, see ante, § 311,
the assessors are to ascertain the amount of rents reserved in any leases
in fee, or for one or more lives, or for a term of years exceeding twenty-
one years, and chargeable upon lands within a town or ward, and to
assess to the person or persons entitled to receive the same as per-
sonal estate * * * at a principal sum, the interest of which, at

Of the Assessment and Collection of Taxes. 253

the legal rate per annum, shall produce a sum equal to such annual
rents ; and in case such rents are payable in any other thing except
money, the value of such annual rents in money shall be ascertained
by the assessors, and the same shall be assessed in manner aforesaid.
If the names of the owners thereof cannot be learned by the
assessors, the same shall be assessed against the tenant or tenants in
possession of the lots as rent reserved.

Chap. 327, Laws of 1846 ; 2 R. S. 997.

The assessors shall, in all cases of assessments under chapter 327,
Laws of 1846, specify in the assessment-rolls each rent so assessed,
and the value fixed upon articles, other than money, in which such
rents are payable, and whenever assessments are made against any
person in amy town or ward in which he does not reside, the board
of supervisors of the county in which such assessments are retv/rrbed,
shall home in all respects as full power a/nd authority, and it shall
1)6 their duty, to correct such assessments as to the valuation of the
rents, and as to the gross amount for which sueh person shall he
assessed, as the assessors have, as to a resident of the town,' and such
hoard of supervisors m,ay reduce the amount of such assessments in
the 7'espective towns or wards of the county, in proportion or other-
wise, as the nature of the corrections require to make such assess-
ments just.

Chap. 357, Laws of 1858; 2 R. S. 999.

These are rare cases. The only power the board of supervisors
have in the matter is in the case of a non-resident of the town or

People, ez rel. Youmans, T. Sup., 60 N. Y. 881-4.

And if the assessors have assessed correctly according to lano, even
then the board cannot change their work.
Id., and 47 How. 24.

§ 342. Third.— Non-Resident Lands.— The board
of supervisors shall also make such alterations in the descriptions of
the lands of non-residents as may be necessary to render such de-
scriptions conformable to the provisions of this chapter ; and if such
alterations cannot be made, they shall eapunge the descriptions of
such lands, and the assessments thereon, from the assessment-rolls.

2 R. S. 996, § 32.


§ 343. Po-wers of Boards of Supervisors to
liOvy Tax in Cases of Mistakes in Transcrib-
ing Assessment-Rolls. — Whenever it shall be made to

^54 SuPERVisoBs' Manual.

appear to the supervisors of any county by the petition of the asses-
sors of any town in said county, or otherwise, that any land or prop-
erty legally liable to taxation in said town has, by any mistake in
transcribing or copying the assessment-roll of the preceding year,
been placed on the assessment-roll annexed to the warrant delivered
to the collector at a valuation less than that actually appearing
upon the origimal assessment-roU signedhy the assessors, said board
of supervisors shall proceed to levy tax on the same upon a valuation
equal to the difierence between the actual valuation made by the
assessors and the amount at which, by such mistake, it was placed
upon such roll, and at the rate per cent of the tax imposed upon
land or property in said town in the year in which said mistake oc-

Chap. 453, Laws of 1865, and chap. 575, Laws of 1868j 2 B. S. 1002, § 4.
See notes to section 335 and chap. 306, Laws of 1886.

"Manifest Errors." — The board of supervisors of any
county, except New York, Kings and Albany, by a vote of two-
thirds of all the members elected thereto, may correct any manifest
•clerical or other error in any assessments or returns made by any
town officer to such board, or which shall properly come before such
board for their action, confirmation or review.

Chap. 855, Laws of 1869, as ameoded by chap. 826, Laws of 1885. See chap. 806,
Laws of 1886.

See Refunding Taxes, §§ 347, 348, post.

Albany county has a special act, chap. 533, Laws of 1887, and the Bangs county
act is at § 617.

As these two cases are governed by the same principles they will be discussed

It is these cases which seem to be most misunderstood.

They are interpreted as allowing the board to correct almost every thing that
may be asked for; as sanctioning the reviewof the assessors' valuations and decis-
ions; as allowing names, amounts and taxes to be changed at pleasure on the roll,
as allowing clergymen and others to be given deductions and exemptions on their
assessment, etc.

The meaning of the statute is clear. It does not give the board of supervisors
power to review valuations, and then increase or diminish them, according to their
notions of what they should be.

It is simply to compare the copy of the assessment-roll brought to them by a
supervisor, with the original roll made and deposited by the assessors, for public
inspection, on or before August first (and if on review day reductions were made
on the application of a tax payer, such reductions should appear on the original).
Whatever thus appears on the original ought to appear in the copy used by the
board of supervisors, and the said copy may be changed to correspond with the
original under this law.

The sources to which they can look for the errors are the original and copy
only. If the error is not " manifest " on suchcom/pa/Hson, it is not within the power
of the board of supervisors to correct it.

The valuation, fixed by the assessors is conclusive on that point, until set aside
by a proceeding in the courts, instituted for that purpose.

Albany & W. S. R. R. v. Town of Canaan, 16 Barb. 244; Uayor etc., v, Davenport,
92 N. T. 604; People, acrd. v. Halsey, 87 id. 844.

Of the Assessment and Collection of Taxes. 255

If the rolls are regular on tlieir face, the board of supervisors cannot enter into
an examination to see if the assessors have done their duty^

Id. ; Westfall v. Geere, 49 N. T. 349.

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 27 of 96)