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not exceed the assessed value of the lands in the immediate neighborhood thereof.
Laws 1866, chap. 502, § 1. See Tax Law, § 4, sub. 3.
§ 672. No tax or assessment shall after the passage of this act, be levied, assessed or collected upon any unimproved land included within the lines of streets, avenues, roads, public squares or places shown and laid out upon any map or maps filed by the commissioners of the department of public parks pursuant to the provisions of chapter six hundred and four of the laws of eighteen hundred and seventy-four, and the laws amendatory thereof, or of the act hereby amended. [48 amended by Laws of 1885, chap. 530.]
Laws 1874, chap. 604, § 2. See Laws 1890, chap. 545.
The term assessment" refers to assessments on property for public improvements and not to assessment of the value of the land for the purpose of taxation. People ex rel. Valentine v. Commrs. of Taxes, 17 Abb. N. C. (Sp. T.) 376; affirmed, 41 Hun, 373.
The books, maps, assessment-rolls and other papers pertaining to the office of commissioners of taxes and assessments shall continue in the custody and control of the commissioners, and shall continue to be public records, and, at all reasonable times, shall be open to public inspection.
Laws 1859, chap. 302, § 6.
§ 813. Appointment of deputy receivers.
Laws 1859, chap. 302, § 3.
§ 814. It shall be the duty of the deputy tax commissioners, under the direction of the commissioners of taxes and assessments, to assess all the taxable property in the several districts that may be assigned to them for that purpose by said commissioners, and they shall furnish to them, under oath, a detailed statement of all such property showing that said deputies have personally examined each and every house, building, lot, pier or other assessable property, giving the street and ward map number of such real estate embraced within said districts, together with the name of the owner or occupant, if known; also, in their judgment, the sum for which such property, under ordinary circumstances, would sell, with such other information, in detail, relative to personal property or otherwise as the said commissioners may, from time to time, require. Such deputies shall commence to assess real and personal estate on the first Monday of September in each and every year.
Laws 1859, chap. 302, § 7.
Laws 1859, chap. 302, page 678, § 7, requiring deputy tax commissioners in the city of New York to personally examine each and every house and other assessable property, and to furnish, under oath, a detailed statement refers only to real and not to personal property. McMahon v. Palmer, 102 N. Y. 176 (1886); affirming 12 Daly, 362 (1884).
Such oath may be taken at any time after the examination and before the statement is filed. Id. See Association for Colored Orphans v. Mayor, 104 N. Y. 581 (1887).
Where two lots which had formerly been a part of one parcel of land were included in one valuation, assessment, and tax, instead of being assessed separately, held, that there was a fundamental defect under the city charter which required a reference to the ward map and a separate statement of the value of the land to be assessed, the assessment being made before the enactment of a statute providing for the apportionment of gross assessments, and that a tax sale of the property was void. May v. Traphagen, 139 N. Y. 478; S. C., 54 N. Y. St. Repr. 726 (1893).
Sections 815, 816 relate to surveys.
§ 817. The said commissioners shall keep in their office, books to be called 'The annual record of the assessed valuation of real and personal estate,' in which shall be entered in detail the assessed valuations of such property within the city and county of New York, and which said books shall be open for examination and correction from the second Monday of January until the first day of May in each and every year, but on said last mentioned day the same shall be closed to enable the commissioners to prepare assessment-rolls of the several wards, for delivery to the aldermen. The said commissioners previous to and during the time said books are open for inspection, shall advertise the fact in the City Record, and in the several papers, or in such manner as they shall deem most advisable and as shall be authorized by the concurrent vote of the mayor, corporation counsel and commissioner of public works.
Laws 1859, chap. 302, §§ 8, 9.
The provisions of the act of 1859 "in relation to taxes and assessments in the city" (Laws 1859, chap. 302, § 8) requiring the commissioners of taxes and assessments to keep the books containing the "annual record of the assessed valuation of real and personal estate open for examination and correction "from the second Monday of January until the first day of May, in each and every year," does not include the day last mentioned; and taxes, therefore, are not invalidated by the fact that the books having been kept open through April 30, were closed to the public on the first day of May. Clarke v. Mayor, 111 N. Y. 621.
The liability of a person under this section becomes fixed on second Monday in January. No names can thereafter be substituted, and death does not exonerate personal liability. Matter of Babcock, 115 N. Y. 450;
Smith v. Cornell, 111 id. 554; McMahon v. Beekman, 61 How. Pr. 427; Austen v. Telephone Co., 73 Hun, 96 (1893); People ex rel. Schaeffler v. Barker, 87 id. 194 (1895).
It is not essential to the validity of a tax upon land in the city of New York, that the name of the owner should be inserted in the assessmentlist. The tax may be assessed directly upon the land, properly describing it. Haight v. Mayor, etc., of New York, 99 N. Y. 280 (1885); affirming 32 Hun, 153 (1884).
It seems that the only effect of omitting the name of the owner, or of inserting the name of one who is not the owner, is to deprive the city of the right to collect the tax from the owner personally, or by distress, and to confine it to the enforcement of the lien upon the land. Id.
In this case the name entered in the list, opposite the description of the property, was "est. R. K. Haight." Held, not the name of any person, and not to authorize the collection of the tax from the personal property of any individual, but the description of the property being sufficient, the assessment was valid. Id. See Apgar v. Haywood, 21 J. & S. 357; McMahon v. Palmer, 102 N. Y. 176; People v. Wall St. Bank, 39 Hun, 525; Clark v. Mayor, 23 J. & S. 259.
The character of property for purposes of taxation is fixed on May 1. Association for Orphans v. Mayor, 104 N. Y. 581.
See Tax Law, §§ 20, 21, and cases cited.
§ 818. The assessed valuation of all personal property shall be entered by said commissioners in books or rolls, in alphabetical order of the names of persons and corporations subject to taxation. No tax or assessment thereof shall be void in consequence of the name of the rightful owner or owners of any real estate in said city not being inserted in the assessment-rolls or lists, But in such case no tax shall be collected except from the real estate so assessed.
Laws 1867, chap. 410, § 5.
§ 819. The commissioners may at any time before the second day of April in each year, increase or may diminish, at any time before the closing of the books of annual record on the first day of May in each year, the assessed valuation of any real or personal estate in said city, as in their judgment may be necessary for the equalization of taxation; but they shall not increase such valuations after said books are open for correction and review, except upon notice being given to the party affected by such increase, twenty days before the closing of said books.
Laws 1859, chap. 302, § 11.
The tax commissioners cannot increase an assessment for personal property after the first day of May without notice. Apgar v. Hayward, 21 J. & S. 357 (1886).
The commissioners are liable personally for damages for the collection of a tax so increased, and where it does not appear that the taxpayer was aware of the illegal act of the commissioners until after the time in which it could have been reviewed on certiorari had expired, an application to them before suit is not necessary. Id.
The commissioners of taxes and assessment of New York city having reduced an assessment cannot thereafter increase it without twenty days' notice to the taxpayer as prescribed by section 819 of the Consolidation Act. People ex rel. Central Stamping Co. v. Barker, 86 Hun, 240; S. C., 66 N. Y. St. Repr. 864; 33 N. Y. Supp. 190 (1895).
§ 820. During the time the books shall be open to public inspection, application may be made by any person considering himself aggrieved by the assessed valuation of his real or per sonal estate, to have the same corrected. If such application be made in relation to the assessed valuation of real estate, it must be made in writing, stating the grounds of objection thereto; and thereupon the commissioners shall examine into the complaint, and if in their judgment the assessment is erroneous, they shall cause the same to be corrected. If such application be made in relation to the assessed valuation of personal estate, the applicant shall be examined under oath by the said commissioners, who shall be authorized to administer such oath, or any of them, and if in his or their judgment the assessment is erroneous, they shall cause the same to be corrected, and fix the amount of said assessment as they may believe to be just, and declare their decision thereon within thirty days after such application shall have been made to them. But said commissioners may during the month of May in any year act upon applications for the reduction of assessments upon real or personal property filed in their office on or before the thirtieth day of April preceding, and cause the corrected amount of any assessment reduced by them to be entered upon the assessment-rolls for the year in which such corrections may be made.
Laws 1859, chap. 302, § 10.
A party who neglects to apply to the tax commissioners to correct the assessed valuation under this section cannot question it on certiorari under section 821. Mutual Tel. Co. v. Commrs. of Taxes, 99 N. Y. 254; People v. Wall St. Bank, 39 Hun, 525.
The proceedings of the commissioners in making assessments and levying taxes can only be reviewed by the courts in direct proceedings by certiorari. Swift v. Mayor, 37 N. Y. 511; People v. Wall St. Bank, 39 Hun, 525; Barhyte v. Shepherd, 35 N. Y. 238.
The commissioners cannot change the record after June 1. People ex rel. Twenty-third St. R. R. Co. v. Commrs. of Taxes, 91 N. Y. 593.
Under section 820-held, that the commissioners could strike out the names of nonresident executors and retain the whole assessment against
the one who was a resident, and if they had not made the correction that the court could do it on certiorari under Code of Procedure, section 2141. People ex rel. Neustadt v. Coleman, 42 Hun, 581 (1886).
There is no provision made for any amendment or alteration of the record after the first day of May in regard to the assessment of property (with an exception that does not touch this case, section 820), and all subsequent proceedings are based upon the absolute stability of the record from that date, and the assessment-rolls are to be corrected and certified transcripts of the same. Assn. for Colored Orphans v. Mayor, etc., 104 N. Y. 590 (1887).
Where the commissioners of taxes refuse to decide in accordance with uncontradicted evidence as to the actual value of the capital stock and surplus of a corporation liable to taxation, such refusal amounts to legal error, reviewable on certiorari under the Consolidation Act, section 820. People ex rel. Edison Electric Illuminating Co. v. Barker, 139 N. Y. 55; S. C., 54 N. Y. St. Repr. 444; reversing 68 Hun, 513 (1893).
§ 821. A certiorari to review or correct on the merits any decision or action of the commissioners, under either of the two preceding sections, shall be allowed by the supreme court or any judge thereof, directed to the said commissioners on the petition of the party aggrieved, but only on the grounds, which must be specified in such petition, that the assessment is illegal, and giving the particulars of the alleged illegality; or is erroneous by reason of overvaluation. [As amended by Laws 1885, chap. 311.]
Laws 1859, chap. 302, § 20. See Tax Law, § 250ff. "I think, under the act of 1885, the court is limited to correction of illegal and over-assessed valuation - not comparative inequalities." Donohue, J., in People ex rel. Bennett v. Tax Commrs. (1886). See, also, People ex rel. Chace v. Gray, 45 Hun, 243 (1886).
The court doubted the constitutionality of the act of 1885, in People ex rel. Manhattan Ry. Co. v. Coleman, 1 Supp. 112; People ex rel. N. Y. El. R. Co. v. Coleman, id. 551. But see People ex rel. Second Ave. R. R. Co. v. Coleman, 21 N. Y. St. Repr. 178.
Article 11 of the Tax Law (Laws 1880, chap. 269) gives an additional ground of review, namely, where the assessment is "unequal in that the assessment has been made at a higher proportionate valuation than other real or personal property on the same roll by the same officers." People ex rel. Equitable Gas-Light Co. v. Barker, 81 Hun, 22 (1894); reversed on other grounds in 134 N. Y. 94.
§ 822. The commissioners of taxes and assessments are hereby invested with power to remit or reduce a tax imposed upon real or personal estates. It shall require a majority of the commissioners to correct or reduce the assessed valuation of the personal property of any person, and no tax on personal prop