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Second. Furnish local assessors with such information as may be necessary or proper to aid them in making the assessment thereof.
Third. Make such rules and regulations as may be necessary to enforce the provisions of this article and prepare forms for reports and assessment-rolls, and furnish the same to assessors and other officers at the expense of the state.
Fourth. Take testimony and hear proofs, under oath, with reference to any matter within the line of its official duty. Any member of such board may be designated for that purpose. it may require from all state and municipal officers such information as may be necessary for the proper discharge of its duties.
Fifth. Hold meetings at an office to be assigned it in one of the state buildings at Albany, at such times as may be fixed by the chairman of the board or by adjournment thereof, or at such other places as it may designate.
Sixth. Employ a clerk, prescribe his duties, and fix his salary, at a sum not exceeding two thousand dollars.
Seventh. Prepare an annual report to the legislature and recommend such changes or amendments to the tax laws as it may deem advisable.
Eighth. Perform the other powers and duties conferred upon it by law.
[Revisers' Note.-L. 1859, chap. 312, § 4; R. S., 8th ed., 1108,
L. 1884, chap. 280; R. S., 8th ed., 1110.
All of the section, except subdivision five is new. Except in the case of appeals the duties of the State assessors under existing law are confined almost entirely to equalization between the several counties. The commissioners believe that the scope of the commission should be enlarged.]
§ 172. Tax commissioners to visit counties.- Two or more of the members of the board of tax commissioners shall officially visit every county in the state at least once in two years, and inquire into the methods of assessment and taxation, and ascertain whether the assessors faithfully discharge their duties and particularly as to their compliance with this act requiring the assessment of all property not exempt from taxation at its full value.
[Revisers' Note.-L. 1859, chap. 312, § 7; R. S., 8th ed., 1109, re-enacted in substance.]
§ 173. State board of equalization; powers and duties.The commissioners of the land office and the three commissioners of taxes shall constitute the state board of equalization. The state board of equalization shall meet in the city of Albany on the first Tuesday in September in each year, for the purpose of examining and revising the valuations of real and personal property of the several counties as returned to the board of tax commissioners, and shall fix the aggregate amount of assessment for each county, upon which the comptroller shall compute the state tax. Such board may increase or diminish the aggregate valuations of real property in any county by adding or deducting such sum as in its opinion may be just and necessary to produce a just relation between the valuations of real property in the state. But it shall, in no instance, reduce the aggregate valuations of all the counties below the aggregate valuations thereof as so returned. The comptroller shall immediately ascertain from this assessment, a copy of which shall be transmitted to him, the proportion of state tax each county shall pay, and mail a statement of the amount to the county clerk, and to the chairman and clerk of the board of supervisors of each county.
[Revisers' Note.-L. 1859, chap. 312, §§ 1, 8; R. S., 8th ed., 1108,
without substantial change.]
The duty of the State boards of equalization corresponds, as between the several counties, to that of supervisors of a county between the towns, is of a judicial character, and if they have acquired jurisdiction, any error in their judgment, or mistake in their conclusions, can be asserted only in some direct proceeding for a review. Mayor, etc., of New York v. Davenport, 92 N. Y. 604 (1883).
§ 174. Appeals to the state board of tax commissioners from equalization by board of supervisors. Any supervisor may appeal in behalf of the town, city or ward, which he wholly or in part represents, to the state board of tax commissioners, from any act or decision of the board of supervisors, in the equalization of assessments and the correction of the assessment-rolls. If such appeal is brought in behalf of a town, a majority of the town board of such town, if in behalf of a city, a majority of the supervisors representing such city, or if the assessment in the wards of any city are equalized separately and such wards have separate assessment-rolls, then the alderman or aldermen
representing such ward in the common council of the city, shall first consent to and approve of the bringing of such appeal. Such appeal shall be brought within ten days after the delivery of the assessment-roll to the collector by filing in the office of the county clerk a notice thereof, with such consent indorsed thereon or annexed thereto, together with the affidavit of the supervisor so appealing, that in his opinion injustice has been done to such town, city or ward by the act or decision from which the appeal is taken; and also within such time, by serving personally or by mail, a duplicate or copy of such notice, consent and affidavit on the chairman or clerk of the board of supervisors, and by mailing such a copy or duplicate to the state board of tax commissioners.
[Revisers' Note.-L. 1859, chap. 312, § 13; R. S., 8th ed., 1110, as am. by
L. 1895, chap. 608,
L. 1874, chap. 351, § 5; R. S., 8th ed., 1112,
without substantial change, except that the notice is required to be filed in the office of the tax commissioner.]
Under Laws 1859, chap. 312, the comptroller might cause proofs to be taken before a referee, and base his decision upon them. People ex rel. Benjamin v. Hillhouse, 1 Lans. 87 (1869).
The Supreme Court could, on certiorari, review and correct any error committed by the comptroller on the merits. Id.
Upon the appeal of a town the duty of the State assessors is to receive evidence and determine: 1. Whether injustice has been done to the appellant; 2. What deductions, if any, should be made in the valuations; 3. To what towns the deductions should be added.
For this purpose they should take into consideration the valuation of all the towns separately in the county. People ex rel. Supervisors of Westchester v. Hadley, 76 N. Y. 337 (1879); reversing 16 Hun, 113.
The participation of a member of the State board who was absent from the hearing, in the decision-held not to vitiate the proceeding. People ex rel. Supervisors of Westchester v. Hadley, 14 Hun, 183 (1878).
Absence of the written digest of facts prepared by the State assessors, from meeting of State board of equalization - held immaterial, as not a condition precedent to jurisdiction. So, of not swearing and examining witnesses before increasing the valuation of a county, since the board of equalization acts upon information from the State assessors. Id.
The fact that the board, after a short secret session, adopted a schedule of equalization prepared by one of the assessors - held not to affect the validity of the decision arrived at. Id.; Mayor, etc., of New York v. Davenport, 92 N. Y. 604 (1883).
Secret session of board of equalization no ground for charge of misconduct, where party complaining had been fully heard, nor neglect of the
assistance of such party in arriving at result. People ex rel. Mayor, etc., of New York v. McCarthy, 102 N. Y. 630 (1886).
It seems that the consideration stated in conveyances of real estate between individuals, and the prices paid at private sale, are not evidence of relative value in different counties to affect the decision of the State board of equalization. Id.
Upon a certiorari to review the action of the State assessors, it was held that the admission in evidence of records of deeds, the considerations expressed in which were claimed to be evidence of the value of the property, was not the violation of "any rule of law, affecting the rights of the" relators under Code Civil Procedure, § 2140, subd. 3. People ex rel. Schabacker v. State Assessors, 47 Hun, 450 (1888).
§ 175. Appeals, how conducted.- The board of tax commissioners may prepare a form of petition and notice of appeal from decisions of the board of supervisors in the equalization of assessment and rules and regulations in relation to bringing such appeals to a hearing or trial thereof. Such rules shall provide for a hearing on the papers and proofs submitted to the board of supervisors on making the equalization, in case the party so de sires, and also, in case the notice of appeal so specifies, for the taking of additional evidence offered by either party. The appeal shall be heard in the county in which it originated. In either case such hearing shall be had at a time and place to be fixed by the board upon notice of at least twenty days by mail to the party appealing and to the clerk of the board of supervisors of the county in which the appeal is taken. If the appellant or his successor fails to appear at the time and place appointed or upon any day to which such hearing and trial shall be adjourned, the board shall make an order dismissing the appeal, which shall have the same effect as if the appeal had not been sustained after a hearing on the merits.
[Revisers' Note.-L. 1876, chap. 49, §§ 1, 2; R. S., 8th ed., 1113,
amplified but not changed in substance.]
Where all the oral evidence upon an appeal to the State assessors had been taken within the county, an order to produce documentary evidence at a time specified made without it held not to be in contravention of Laws 1876, chap. 49. People ex rel. Supervisors of Chenango v. State Assessors, 22 N. Y. Week. Dig. 453 (1885).
The rulings of the board of State assessors in admitting and rejecting evidence cannot be reviewed upon certiorari. The questions to be considered are prescribed by Code of Pro., § 2140. People ex rel. Supervisors
of Chenango v. State Assessors, 22 N. Y. Week. Dig. 453 (1885). People ex rel. Schabacher v. State Assessors, 47 Hun, 450 (1888).
The supervisors have no authority to consider, for the purposes of equalization, property upon which no valuation has been fixed by the local assessors, and the State assessors have no original jurisdiction in that respect, but merely an appellate power to review the action of the supervisors. Nor can they take into consideration the question whether personal property was assessed below its true value, or erroneously exempted. People ex rel. Supervisors of Monroe v. Hadley, 1 Abb. N. C. 441 (1876). Where the State assessors declined to receive evidence showing that personal property existed in a town which was not assessed - held no
Inasmuch as the board of supervisors are confined to the valuations of real estate in making equalizations, it would seem that the State assessors had no authority beyond this. People ex rel. Supervisors of Westchester v. Hadley, 76 N. Y. 337 (1879); reversing 16 Hun, 113.
§ 176. Determination of appeals.- On every such hearing or trial, the board of tax commissioners shall determine whether any, and if any, what deductions ought to be made from the aggregate corrected value of the real and personal property of such tax district as made and to what tax district or districts in such county the amount of such deductions, if any, shall be added; and shall certify their determination, in writing, to such board of supervisors and forward the same by mail within ten days thereafter to the clerk of the board, directed to him at his post-office address and forward a copy thereof to the supervisor appealing. Such determination shall be carried into effect by such board at its next annual session.
[Revisers' Note.-L. 1876, chap. 49, § 3; R. S., 8th ed., 1113, L. 1859, chap. 312, § 13; R. S., 8th ed., 1110, as am. by
L. 1895, chap. 608,
without change in substance.]
Where State assessors relied upon the opinion of witnesses as to value rather than the consideration shown to be paid upon sales of real estate as shown by the records, decision of assessors was affirmed. People v. Williams, 48 N. Y. St. Repr. 207; S. C., 20 N. Y. Supp. 350.
A decision certified and forwarded by mail, within ten days after it was made, but not until after the commencement of the next annual session held sufficient to support a mandamus for its execution. People ex rel. Robinson v. Supervisors of Ontario, 85 N. Y. 323 (1881), reversing 17 Hun, 501.
Section 3 of Laws 1876, chap. 49, does not limit the subjects upon which evidence may be taken by the State assessors, nor exclude evidence