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 28 of 96)
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The authority to correct any manifest clerical or other errors in any agsess-
meuts or returns was not intended to and does not subject all assessments to
review or permit a correction of all errors, but simply of those which are mani-
fest, that is apparent by an examination of the assessment-roll or return, needing
no extrinsic evidenee to make them clear, and which are also clerical or other
errors in the assessments or returns, that is some error otform in the assessment-
roll, not an error of the assessors in making the assessment, nor any substantial
error of judgment or of law.

In re Hermanoe, 71 N. T. 481 ; People, ex rel. Chamberlain, v. Com'rs, 96 id. 544.

The words " or other errors " mean errors of "form," not mbstance.

The omission of the assessors to deduct the assessed value of the real estate of
a bank from-the value of its shares of stock is not a " manifest clerical or other
error" to be corrected by the board of supervisors.

In re Farmers' National Bank of Hudson, 1 T. & C. 383.

Where Mr. W. petitions that he is assessed for 278 3-4 acres, when in fact he
only owns 249 3-4 acres, and is assessed therefor at $4,759 instead of $4,266, the
board of supervisors have no power or right to help him — his remedy was on
" review day" before the assessors, and if refused, to apply to the courts. That is
the only method prescribed by law.

Mistakes in addition can be properly changed.

In one county the name of ' ' John Fisher " was changed on the assessment
roll to "John Fuhrer," and his assessment from "$1,000" to " $500." This
was illegal and improper unless the name of "John Fuhrer" and "$500"
appeared on the original roll. Another struck ofE the name of " G. E. U." assessed
for real estate $200.

This was also illegal and improper for a like reason, except as above provided.
Another changes the assessment of " T. D. as guardian," to " F. B."

This is also illegal.

Another changes the assessment of N. K. to Mrs. N. K.

These are also illegal unless the original showed the name of " F. B." and
"Mrs. N. K."

The reason for the limitation of the supervisors' power is quite obvious. They
"levy the taxes. If they could also change the assessment-rolls in names and
amounts, at their own pleasure, then all the taxes could be placed on one man,
one corporation or one town, and the rest stricken from the rolls, as "manifest

To avoid this, two separate and distinct classes of officers are provided, to fully
and finally complete assessments.

One, the assessors who " ®aZM« " and "name;" the other the board of super-
visors, who levy taxes and place the amount, on the roll, opposite the " name "
and " value " furnished by the assessors.

The functions of the two classes are distinct, entirely separate and independent.

The safe rule for the supervisors to adopt, as a general thing, is to place oppo-
site the names and values they find on the assessment-rolls produced before them,
the amount of tax levied.

If the assessors have acted illegally, the tax payer has his remedy against them.

If the tax payers neglect to avail themselves of " review day " and proceedings
through the courts, they have only themselves to blame for it.

If the rolls are regular on their face, the supervisors should, as a rule, leave
them alone.

The exceptions to the rule are given in the statutes above quoted. If an assess-
meut-roU is not regular on its face a different question arises —

For instance —

A. is assessed for " $10.000 — United States securities." Such an assessment
"is void. The property is whoUy exempt. Being void, and the roll showing, on

256 SuPEEVisoEs' Manual.

its face, such fact, the supervisors could not levy a tax thereon without making
themselves personally liable. In such case it is properly stricken from the roll,
not because it is a manifest clerical error, but because a " void " act is void, always
and everywhere.

Westfall V. Gere, 49 N . T. 349; Bellinger v. Gray, 51 id. 610; 5SN.T. 49; 86 id. 839.

The assessors never had any jurisdiction over such property, and for the pur
poses of taxation it is the same as if it never existed, or as if it were situated in
the moon.

But if the property does come within the jurisdiction of the assessors, as a
clergyman's property assessed $1,500.01 which is partly exempt, in such case the
board, have no right to alter, change or interfere with the valuation.

Id.; Barhyte v. Shepherd, S5 N. Y. 238; Weaver v. Devendorf, S Demo, 116.
See, also, Decisions under § 269.

§ 344. Form of Report.

To THE Honorable Board op Supervisors of Onondaga Countt;

Tour Committee on Erroneous Assessments, to which were referred the several
matters hereinafter set forth, beg leave to report as follows:

Town op A.

On the petition of the aissessors of the town of A., to correct the assessment roll
of 1885 of said town, in the case of Frank P. Avery, your committee report in
favor of said petition, and that the sum of $4,490 be added to the town roll and
assessed to Frank P. Avery, that being the amount assessed to him in the year

(And so on with each town in alphabetical order.)

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Dated , 1885. A. B.,

C. D.,

E. F.,


In Oneida county this committee is furnished with a printed report blank, hav-
ing upon it the instructions for the committee's use. A copy is as follows:

To THE Board op StrpERVisoRS of the Countt op Oneida:

The Committee upon Erroneous Assessments, to which was referred the appli-
cation of , for the correction of errors in the assessment-roll of

, the current year, report that they have duly examined the same and find
that the alleged errors are sustained, and recommend that the same be corrected
by the supervisor thereof, in accordance with the prayer of the petition.
Dated Utica, , 18 . ,


(The committee will detach these instructions from the report.)


" Whereas, Applications for the correction of alleged errors in the several as-
sessment rolls of this county are becoming numerous, rendering it very important
that a uniform system should be established by this board upon such applications;

" Resolved, That in the future all such applications must be presented within
five days from the commencement of the annual sessions of the same.

Of the Assessment and Collectiok of Taxes. 257

"Resolved, That such applications must he upon the petition of aggrieved parties,
clearly stating the basis of the alleged error, which statement must be duly verified
by the applicant and accompanied by tlie certificate of a majority of the assessors of
the tovm, or city where tlie property %s located, asserting that the said statement of
errors is correct; except in cases of double assessments, which may be established
by the production of the assessment-rolls containing such assessments.

"Resolved, That upon the presentation of such petitions, the same shall be re-
ferred to the standing Committee on Erroneous Assessments, who shall proceed

' 'First. To examine the same and determine whether it is in conformity to this

" Second. To ascertain if it is within the powers and jurisdiction conferred upon
this board by chapter 855, Laws of 1869 (as amended by chapter 326, Laws of 1885).

"Third. To ascertain and determine if the averments of error are fully estab-
lished, and report each case separately with their conclusions thereon to the board
for its action.

"Resolved, That the action and judgment of a majority of the assessors in each
of the several cities and towns In fiaing and determining the value of real estate
therein is final and coneluswe, and this board will not hereafter entertain applica-
tions to change the same."

§ 345. Resolution Confirming' Alterations in
tlie Rolls< — Having made such changes in the rolls as the board
are authorized to make, a resolution in the following form will make the
changes so made by the committee, the act of the board of supervisors :

Whereas, Certain manifest clerical errors and errors in footing existed in the
assessment-rolls and assessments presented to this board by the officers of the
several towns and wards of this county for their action, confirmation or review,
and the same have been corrected by the committee on footing assessment-rolls,
as follows: {here specify t7i,e changes).

Resolved, That the corrections so made by said committee, and the assessments
and valuations as corrected on said assessment-rolls, be, and the same are hereby
ratified, confirmed and legalized in pursuance of chapter 855, Laws of 1869, as
amended by chapter 336, Laws of 1885.

The duty of passing upon the question of a corrected assessment-roll, and certi-
fying to its accuracy and completeness as a perfected roll is a judicial duty which
cannot be delegated.

People T. Hagadorn, 104 N. Y. 516.

The board of supervisors, not a committee nor individual supervisor, must act
thereon, as a board


§ 346. To I<evy and Collect Amount of State
Tax Wtaiicli Eacli County is to Pay, as Fixed
by State Board of Equalization. — Mandamus
to Compel. — A statement of the amount of assessment for each
county, as fixed by the board of equaHzation, shall be certified by
said board and deposited in the office of the comptroller, as soon as
completed, and before the 10th day of October in each year. The
comptroller shall immediately ascertain from this assessment the
proportion of State tax each county shall pay, and send a statement
of the amount, by mail, to the county clerk and the chairman and
clerk of the board of supervisors of each county. If the name or
33 '

358 Supervisors' Manual.

residence of the chairman or clerk of the board of supervisors shall
be unknown to the comptroller, he may inclose such statement in an
envelope addressed to him by his name of office, and directed to the
county town of the county. The county clerk shall file the state-
ment received by him, in his oifiee, and immediately send a copy
thereof to the chairman of the board of supervisors of the county.

Laws of 1859, chap. S12, § 8 ; 2 R. S. 1000.

The amount of State tax which each county is to pay, so fixed
and stated by the comptroller as aforesaid, shall be assessed by the
supervisors or other officers authorized to make the assessment of
State taxes, in the tax-roll for the calendar year in and for which
the same shall have been ascertained and stated by the comptroller,
as aforesaid, and shall be included in and collected by the annual
collection of taxes in the several counties, in the manner prescribed
by law ; and if the board of supervisors, etc., shall neglect or refuse
to include and assess such tax, or any part thereof, in said assess-
ment-roll, then the comptroller of the State may immediately pro-
ceed by maTidomius before any court having jurisdiction, to compel
the board of supervisors or other officers required to make such
assessment to do the same or make a new assessment for the same,
which shall be collected as provided for the collection of other taxes.

Id., § 9, as amended bj Laws of 1874, chap. SSI, 8 3.


§ 347. By Board of Supervisors to Refund
Taxes, after Determination of an Action
Against Counties.— By the act of April 21, 1870, to pro-
vide for relief from erroneous or illegal assessments and taxation of
farms or lots of land divided by the county line between towns, it is
provided that after the final determination of an equitable action in
the supreme court brought by a tax payer against counties, for the
recovery of taxes wrongfully collected, or of the appeal, if one be
taken, the board of supervisors of the county against which the
judgment shall be rendered requiring it to refund said taxes, are
authorized and required to pay the amount thereof with interest
from the time of its rendition, and cause the amount thereof to be
levied upon the taxable property of said county and paid to the
plaintiff therein. And in assessing and Jevying such tax they shall
adjust and apportion the same upon the different towns and cities
therein as in their judgment shall be equitable, taking into consider-
ation the amount of State, county and local tax included in such
original assessment.

Laws of 1870, chap. 825, | 4.

Op the Assessment and Collection op Taxes, 359

No claim shall be made upon the State by such county or any town
or city therein, for the payment of any part of said tax so refunded.

Id., §5; 2R. S. 1002-!.

Refunding Tax Illegally Assessed.— The board
of supervisors are authorized to refund to any person the amount
collected from him of any tax illegally or improperly assessed or
levied. In raising the amount so refunded, such board shall adjust
and apportion the same upon the property of the several towns and
wards of the county as shall be just, taking into consideration the
portion of State, county, town and ward tax included therein and
the extent to which each town or ward has been benefited thereby.

Chap. 855, Laws of 1869, i 5, as amended by chap. 326, Laws of 1885.

This act was intended to relieve persons by reimbursement thereof, from taxes
■which were not legally chargeable to them or on their property, i. e. , from taxes
which they should not be required in any manner to pay. The act refers
to the tax itself rather than to the method of making the assessment or levy ; to
an illegal rather than to the erroneous assessment or levy of a legal tax.

In re Harris t. Bd. of Supervisors, 33 Hun, 279 ; In re New York Catholic Protect-
orate, W N. Y. 3i4; Boardman v. Supervisors, 85 id. 359.

Not to a case of error of judgment, in determining the amount to be assessed or

Id.; In re Hermance, 71 N. Y. 481.

Over-valuation of property, whereby one is compelled to pay more than his
share of taxes, cannot be corrected under this act, nor can a tax on such over-
valuation be refunded thereunder.

See Manifest Errors, § 343, and cases cited.

Where property wholly exempt, has been assessed and the tax levied therein
paid, it seems that such tax may be refunded under this statute.
City of Rochester v. Town of Rush, 80 JT. Y. 302.

A tax upon property wholly exempt is void, therefore illegal, but where property
partly exempt and partly taxable is assessed by the assessors, it seems, that in
deciding in such cases as to the valuation taxable, the assessors act judicially and
their assessment is not void. An error therein may be corrected by a review as
prescribed by law, and that the board of supervisors is not a body having power
so to review valuations.

See Foster v. Van Wyck, 2 Abb. Ct. App. Dec. 167.

The omission of the assessors to deduct the assessed value of the real estate of
a bank from the value of its shares of stock is not a " manifest clerical or other
error " to be corrected by the board of supervisors.

In re Farmers' National Bank of Hudson, IT. AC. 383

Where the assessors assessed one not a resident of tJie county for unocupied
lands belonging to him and situated within the town, instead of assessing the
lands as non-resident lands.

The owner voluntarily paid the tax, sought to have the amount so paid,
refunded, held, proper to be refunded xinder this section
In re Harris v. Supervisors, 33 Hun, 279.

It is not necessary that the assessment in such cases .should have been adjudged,
by some court or other competent tribunal, to have been illegal.
In re Protectorate, tv/pra, 77 N. Y. 344.
Where the personal property was not in Queens county, nor the owner a resi-

360 Supervisors' Makual.

dent thereof, neither the assessors, nor the board of supervisors, had any juris-
diction thereof, and a tax levied thereon was void, and must be refunded.
In re Douglass, 48 Hun, 318. ,

See §§ 343, 347-349. It requires the vote of two-thirds of the members elected,
to refund taxes illegally collected.

Van Antwerp v. Kelly, 50 Hun, 513
New York, Kings and Albany counties have special statutes on this subject.

How Refunded after Proceeding's by Cer-
tiorari. — Chapter 269, Laws of 1880, provides for reviewing
the determination of the assessors by certiorari.

If final judgment shall not be given in time to enable the asses-
sors or other oiEcers to make a new or corrected assessment for the
use of the board of supervisors at their annual session, and it shall
appear from said judgment that said assessment was illegal, errone-
ous or unequal, then there shall be audited and allowed to the peti-
tioner, and included in the next year's tax levy of said town, village
or city, and paid to the petitioner, the amount with interest thereon,
from the date of payment, in excess of what the tax should have
been as determined by such judgment or order of the court. But
in case the amount deducted from such assessment by the judgment
or order exceeds the sum of $10,000, the tax so to be refunded by
reason of such corrected assessment, otlier than the proportion or
percentage thereof collected for such town, village or city purposes,
shall be levied upon the county at large and audited by the board of
supervisors and paid to the petitioner. And in such case the board
of supervisors of the county shall also audit and levy upon such
town, village or city, the proportion or percentage of such excess of
tax collected for such town, village or city purposes, and the same
shall be collected and paid to the petitioner without other or further

Laws 1880, chap. 269, % 8, as amended by Laws 1887, chap. 842.

This amendment shall not apply to any case where the tax so adjudged or
ordered to be refunded has been heretofore included in the tax levy of any town,
village or city, and paid over to the petitioner.
Chap. 342, Laws 1887, S 2.

§ 348. Taxes on Lands of Non-Residents for

any One Year — Overcliarges. — Any person may pay
the tax for any one year and the interest and charges thereon, on
any tract or lot of land, without paying the tax of any other year ;
and in case any tract or lot of land shall have been returned as con-
taining a greater quantity of land than it shall actually contain, the
amount overcharged shall be deducted, or if the tax shall have been
paid according to such return, shall be refunded out of the treasury

Ob the Assessment and Collection of Taxes. 261

on satisfactory proof being produced to the comptroller of the
quantity actually contained in such tract or lot, at any time before
the sale of such lands ; but no such overcharge shall be canceled,
nor shall such over-payments be refunded, unless application shall
be made to the comptroller therefor within six years after the assess-
ment of such overcharge.

Laws of 1855, chap. 427, 5 30; 2 B. S. 1023.

§ 348^. Overcliarg>es to be Recliarg-ed to

County. — If the whole amount of the tax, in case of such over-
charge, shall have been paid to the county treasurer, out of the
treasury of this State, the comptroller shall charge the amount so
refunded, with interest and charges thereon, to the treasurer of the
county from which the tax was returned and shall transmit an ac-
count thereof to him.

2 R. S. 1023, § 31.

§ 349. To-wn to be Liable Therefor.— Such county

treasurer shall deliver such account to the board of supervisors at
their then next meeting, who shall cause the amount thereof to be
added to the proportion of the charges of the county to be raised in
the town in which the tax was laid.

Id., § 32.
The above relate to the collection of taxes on lands of non-residents.

§ 349^. Tax to be Extended.— After the committees
on erroneous assessments and footing assessment-rolls report, the
rolls go to the equalization board or committee.

The subject of " Equalization " will be treated later.
See "Equalization."

The board of supervisors shall also estimate and set down in a
fifth column, to be prepared for that purpose in the assessment-rolls,
opposite to the several sums set down as the valuations of real and
personal estates, the respective sums in dollars and cents, rejecting
the fraction of a cent, to be paid as a tax thereon.

2 R. S. 996, § 33.

The hoard is required, not only that it shall establish a ratio upon which the
tax is to be based, but also, that it shall compute and enter in the roll, in a column
opposite the valuation of real and personal estate, the amount of tax levied thereon ;
this must be done under the supervision of the board and before the roll can be
certified to as completed.

People V. Hagadom, 104 N. Y. 516.
The board of supervisors cannot amend the roll of any town, after they have
finally acted on it and issued their warrant to the collector.

People, exrel. Lorillard, v. Supervisors, 15 Barb. 607; People, ex rel. Weeks, v.
Supervisors Queens Co., 82 N. Y. 275.

362 SuPEKVisoKs' Manual.

The assessment-roll must be completed (the tax inserted and confirmed) before
the warrant is annexed thereto.

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

Where a board of supervisors adjourned sine die, and delivered to a supervisor
the assessment-roll of his town, with no figures <yr amounts in certain columns of
the roll (one column being the "amount of tax"), i. e., the tax was not "ex-
tended," but left with him a warrant signed by them annexed to the roll, and the
supervisor, after adjournment, inserted the figures and delivered the roll and war-
rant to the collector, it was held to be illegal and no tax could be collected thereon.

Id.; People V. Hagadorn, 104 N. Y. 616.

The clerical work of extending the tax may be done by a com-
mittee, the individual supervisors, the clerk or any person designated.
See "Confirming Tax," next paragraph.

Confirming' Tax a.s Extended. — The supervisors of
each town having completed the extension of the tax upon the roll,
their acts should be ratified and confirmed by the board. The usual
practice is to call the roll of towns, and each supervisor rises and
states the result in his roll. The following resolution is generally
passed therefor:

Resolved, That the taxes as extended upon the assessment-rolls of
the several towns and wards, presented to the board by the super-
visor thereof, be and the same are hereby confirmed, and that war-
rants be issued to the collectors of such towns and wards for the col-
lection of the same.

This will make the extensions official. This confirmation is es-

Methodist Episcopal Church v. Mavor, 20 Hun, 297-8, and oases cited; Bellinger v.
Gray, 51 N. Y. 610-621 ; People v. Hagadorn, 86 Hun, 610, and decisions last

Except in certain cities in some few cases, the rule to be followed
is the above.

§ 350. Collector's Fees Not to be Added.— When-
ever any board of supervisors shall make out any tax-list and war-
rant, they shall not add thereto the fees of the collection, but such
fees shall be paid and collected as above prescribed in sections 29
and 30 of this act.

Laws of 1845, chap. 180, S 31.

The twenty-ninth and thirtieth sections referred to provide for a percentage in
addition to the tax.

As a general thing, each supervisor places or enters the tax on the roll of his
own town or ward. In doing so, a sheet prepared in the following manner will
be of great convenience:

Of the Assessment and Collection of Taxes.



Valuation of assessors ±

Whole amount to be raised

Batio on the dollar.

Amount to be paid to commissioners of highways $

Amount to be paid to supervisor

Amount dog tax to be paid to supervisor

Amount of county tax to be paid to the county treasurer



Commence by proving the ratio, which is done by multiplying the amount of
the assessor's valuation by the ratio, and the product should be the amount to be

Should it prove so, ascertain the amount of tax which the ratio gives on the
sums in the annexed table, and place the result opposite each sum. You then
have a table from which you may readily fill most of the blanks in your tax list.

In entering the tax, so apportion the fractions as to provide for any deficiency
or surplus which your ratio may give, and bring out your whole tax even with
the amount to be raised.

Prove every page of your book as you proceed, by footing up the amount of the
tax as extended therein; multiply the footing of the valuation on the page by the
ratio, and if the two sums agree, the entries for the page are correct. By chang-
ing the decimal point, the tax as shown in the table upon f 10, will exhibit the
amount upon $100, $1,000, $10,000, etc.

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 28 of 96)