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eral amounts thereof, the assessor should disregard his evidence. Vose v. Willard, 47 Barb. 320 (1866). If a foreign corporation doing most of its business in this state refuses to answer inquiries relevant and material to ascertain what is invested here, the tax commissioners may take into consideration the refusal to answer the questions, and decline to accept the corporation's statement in its entirety. People ex rel. H. B. Claflin Co. v. Feitner, 58 App. Div. 468.
Failure to appear on "grievance day" bars relief on subsequent applications for reduction.- Where
no application is made by a corporation for a reduction before the assessors on "grievance day" it is guilty of such laches that will warrant a refusal to grant it any relief in a subsequent application to reduce the assessment. People ex rel. Western Union Tel. Co. v. Dolan, 126 N. Y. 166; People ex rel. Western Union Tel. Co. v. Tierney, 126 N. Y. 166.
Completion and verification of assessment roll.—When the assessors, or a majority of them, shall have completed their roll, they shall severally appear before any officer of their county, authorized by law to administer oaths, and shall severally make and subscribe before such officer an oath in the following form:
“We, the undersigned, do severally depose and swear that we have set down in the foregoing assessment roll all the real estate situated in the tax district in which we are assessors, according to our best information; and that, with the exception of those cases in which the value of the said real estate has been changed by reason of proof produced before us, and with the exception of those cases in which the value of any special franchise has been fixed by the state board of tax commissioners, we have estimated the value of the said real estate at the sums which a majority of the assessors have decided to be the full value thereof; and also that the said assessment roll contains a true statement of the aggregate amount of the taxable personal estate of each and every person named in such roll over and above the amount of debts due from such persons respectively, and excluding such stocks as are otherwise taxable, and such other property as is exempt by law from taxation, at the full value thereof, according to our best judgment and belief,” which oath shall be written or printed on said roll, signed by the assessors and certified by the officer. (Sec.
38, present Tax Law, former Sec. 37 Tax Law of 1896, as am'd by ch. 712, L. 1899.)
Source: The above is in substance the same as L. 1851, ch. 176, sec. 8, as amended by ch. 201, L. 1885, omitting, however, the last sentence, as to false oath, now covered by Penal Code.
Presumption in favor of legality.—Every assessment roll is presumed to be legal and valid until the contrary appears. Tifft v. City of Buffalo, 8 N. Y. State Rep. 325 (1887). Proof of a valid assessment roll, as finally corrected and delivered to the receiver of taxes, may be considered prima facie evidence of the validity of the tax. City of New York v. Streeter, 91 App. Div. 206 (1904); aff'd 101 N. Y. 508.
In the city of New York, the tax commissioners being sworn officers, are presumed to do their duty. People ex rel. Manhattan Ry. Co. v. Commissioners, 146 N. Y. 304; People ex rel. Manhattan Ry. Co. v. Commissioners, 165 N. Y. 305 (1901).
Form of assessment; curable defects.- An omission of a dollar mark in the statement of a tax roll and warrant is not a jurisdictional defect, and where the certificate attached to the roll was signed and not the roll, the defect is not fatal. Ensign v. Barse, 107 N. Y. 329 (1887).
The oath-verification. The oath need not be at the end of the assessment roll, and additional words may be considered as surplusage. Ward v. City of Brooklyn, 32 App. Div. 430; aff'd 164 N. Y. 591; see, also, Coleman v. Shattuck (infra); Chamberlain v. Taylor, 36 Hun, 24.
Omission of venue is not material—nor the fact that the oath is not placed under both the resident and non-resident lists. Coleman v. Shattuck, 62 N. Y. 348 (1875).
The provision of the charter of the city of Brooklyn, section 9, title 10, Chapter 863, Laws of 1873, which declares that the assessment roll shall be duly sworn to by at least two of the assessors, to the effect that they have together personally examined within the past year each and every lot or parcel of land, &c., does not require that all the verifying assessors should depose that they together examined the property; it is sufficient if at least two of them swear that they did so examine. Kane v. City of Brooklyn, 114 N. Y. 586.
A substantial compliance with the statute in the form of the assessor's affidavit is sufficient; the use of the words "full and true value” instead of "true value” does not invalidate the roll. R. W. &0. R. R. v. Smith, 39 Hun, 332; Buffalo & State Line R. R. v. Supervisors, 48 N. Y. 93 (1871).
Filing of roll and notice thereof.- In cities, the assessment roll when thus completed and verified shall be filed on or before September first in the office of the city clerk, there to remain for fifteen days for public inspection. The assessors shall forthwith cause a notice to be posted conspicuously in at least three public places in the tax district and to be published in one or more newspapers, if any, published in the city, that such assessment roll has been finally completed and stating that it has been so filed and will be open to public inspection. At the expiration of such fifteen days, the city clerk shall deliver such roll to a supervisor of the tax district embraced therein. In towns, when the assessment roll shall have been thus completed and verified, the assessors shall make two copies thereof, one of which shall be retained by them for the use of themselves and their successors in office, and the other of which, duly certified by the said assessors, to be a copy of said assessment roll, shall on or before the fifteenth day of September, be filed in the office of the town clerk, and shall thereupon become a public record. The assessors shall forthwith cause a notice to be posted conspicuously in at least three public places in the tax district, and to be published in one or more newspapers, if any, published in the town, that such assessment roll has been finally completed, and stating that such certified copy has been so filed. The said original assessment roll shall, on or before the first day of October, be delivered to a supervisor of the tax district embraced therein. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the board of supervisors of any county may determine the number of copies of the town assessment rolls of the towns of such county to be made, by whom such copies shall be made, the date when the certified copy of the town assessment roll shall be filed in the office of the town clerk, and the date when the original assessment roll shall be delivered to the supervisor of the town. (Sec. 39 Tax Law, former Sec. 38 of the Tax Law of 1896, as am'd by ch. 358, L. 1901; ch. 279, L. 1904.)
Source: In substance the same as sec. 27, R. S., pt. 1, ch. XIII, title 2, except last paragraph, which is new.
When assessment roll may be verified. For the purpose of verification and delivery to the supervisor, the assessment roll cannot be completed until the expiration of the time fixed for its final review and correction. An affidavit of the assessors thereto made before that time is a nullity, and when the defect appears on the face of the papers by the date of the jurat, it confers no power on the supervisor to impose the tax. Westfall v. Preston, 49 N. Y. 349 (1872). The statutory direction when the roll shall be verified and left with the supervisor is directory and not mandatory. People ex rel. Rome, W. &c. R. R. v. Jones, 43 Hun, 131 (1887); affd 106 N. Y. 330; Kane v. City of Brooklyn, 15 St. Rep. 872 (1888); see City v. Streeter, 91 App. Div. 206 (1904).
Roll in parts valid.—An assessment roll, which, on review day, was in several parts, but afterwards engrossed, put together and verified, is in compliance with the statute. People ex rel. D. L. & W. R. R. v. Clapp, 64 Hun, 547 (1892).
Neglect or omission of duty by assessors. The assessors in the execution of their duties, shall use the forms and follow the instructions transmitted to them from time to time, by the commissioners of taxes. If any assessor shall neglect or omit to perform any duty, the other assessors shall perform such duty and shall certify upon the assessment roll the name of the delinquent assessor, stating therein the cause of such omission, and the assessment roll, when otherwise made and completed in accordance with the requirements of this article, shall be deemed to be the assessment roll of all the assessors. If the assessors shall neglect to meet for the purpose of hearing grievances any person aggrieved by the assessment may appeal to the board of supervisors at its next meeting, which shall have the same power to review and correct such assessment as the assessors have under this article. If any assessor shall refuse or neglect to perform any duty or do any act required of him by this article (Art. II, secs. 20-41, Tax Lav), he shall forfeit to the county the sum of fifty dollars, to be recovered by the district attorney. (Sec. 41, Tax Law, former Sec. 40 of Tax Law of 1896.)
Source: In substance the same as secs. 28-30, ch. XIII, title 2, pt. 1, R. S.
METHOD OR FORM OF ASSESSMENT IN NEW YORK CITY.
Department of taxes and assessments; powers and duties; one of the departments of the city. The department of taxes and assessments shall be one of the departments in said city. (Sec. 884, Charter.) *
Source: Prior to the enactment of the Charter, this section was included under sec. 34, ch. 410, L. 1882 (Consol. Act), L. 1873, ch. 335, sec, 26.
In proving the validity of a tax it is not necessary as part of plaintiff's prima facie case to prove the department of taxes was legally and properly constituted. That will be inferred if the assessment roll is proved. City of New York v. Streeter, 91 App. Div. 206 (1904); affd 180 N. Y. 508.
Department, how composed; terms and salaries.-The head of the department of taxes and assessments shall be called the board of taxes and assessments. Said board shall consist of a president, who shall be designated in his appointment, and six other persons, one of whom at least shall be a person learned in the law, who shall be called commissioners of taxes and assessments. The salary of the president shall be eight thousand dollars a year, and the salary of each of the other commissioners seven thousand dollars a year.
Not more than five of the said commissioners, including the said president, shall belong to the same political party and have the same political opinions on state and national issues.
The said president shall be a resident of the borough of Manhattan, and not more than one of said commissioners, belonging to the same political party and having the same political opinions on state and national issues, may be residents of the same borough, except of the borough of Manhattan. (Sec. 885, Charter as amended by ch. 757, L. 1904.)
Source: The above in substance is the same as sec. 43, ch. 410, Laws 1882 (Consol. Act) L. 1873, ch. 335, sec. 87.
The references to the sections of the Charter are to the Revised Charter of 1901.