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tween all the valuations of real estate in the county ; but it shall, in no instance, change the aggregate valuations of all the tax districts from the aggregate valuation thereof as made by the assessors.
BOARD OF TAX COMMISSIONERS.—There shall be three Tax Commissioners appointed by the Governor by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to hold office for three years, and so classified that the term of office of one of them shall expire with the 31st day of December in each year. Each shall receive an annual compensation of two thousand five hundred dollars, and in addition thereto, the expenses actually incurred by him in the discharge of his official duties. * * *
PowerS AND DUTIES OF THE STATE BOARD OF Tax COMMISSIONERS.—The State Board of Tax Commissioners shall :
First, Investigate and examine, from time to time, as to the methods of assessment within the State.
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. And 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 the salary, at a sum not exceeding two thousand (2,000) dollars.
Seventh, Prepare an annual report to the Legislature and recommend such changes or amendments to the tax laws as it may deem advisable.
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.
STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION; POWERS AND DUTIES.— The Commissioners of the land office and the three Commissioners of Taxes shall constituie 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 valuation of all the counties below the aggregate valuation thereof, as so returned. The Comptroller shall immediately ascertain from the 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.
The act provides further, that any Supervisor may appeal in behalf of the town, city or ward, which he may represent, 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; prescribes how appeals shall be conducted and determined and regulates the payment of the costs and expense of such appeals.
Perhaps the most important feature of the law, is the uniformity in mode and manner of making up the assessment rolls, which undoubtedly will have a salutary effect in securing the listing of every class and kind of taxable property, and preventing the evasion from listing, or omission of personal property, which is the most serious of all the problems with which the various assessment or tax boards have to contend.
The provision made for the enforced statement of corporations to the assessors is also a feature, of which too much in commendation cannot be said, and cannot fail but secure the assessment of large amounts of taxable property heretofore concealed. It can plainly be seen how the enactment of a similar law in Connecticut would be of great and enduring benefit, and the irregularities now prevailing in the State be prevented. Under the provisions of this Act, were it in force in Connecticut, it would hardly be possible for a joint stock corporation to make a sworn return to the Secretary of State of real and personal property to the amount of over one-half million dollars, together with an excess of bills receivable over indebtedness of over one hundred thousand dollars, and permit the whole to be assessed against it at one hundred and five thousand dollars, this being but one of the many instances of like character which might be quoted.
TAXATION-LAWS OF MASSACHUSETTS.
MANNER AND MODE OF THE ASSESSMENT OF TAXES.
The Tax Commissioner of Massachusetts, in compliance with the provisions of the Public Statutes, in July, 1896, caused to be printed and forwarded to the assessors of the various towns and cities of that commonwealth, a compilation of the laws of general application, in relation to the subject of the assessment and collection of taxes. Extracts from these laws having a direct bearing on the system which obtains in Connecticut can appropriately accompany other matters as pertaining to the same subject. The attention of legislators, when considering the subject of the assessment of taxes in Connecticut, should be brought to the systems existing in other States, that remedial legislation may be made possible, and the Massachusetts law, as in operation at this time, taken as a guide, and perhaps made the frame for legislative enactment of such laws as would supersede the present ones, which, as now enforced are ineffective and in many instances inoperative.
Sections 11 and 12 provide that the poll tax shall be assessed upon each taxable person where he is an inhabitant, on the first day of May in each year. * * * A taxable person who is in a city or town on the first day of May, and who, when inquired of by the assessors thereof, refuses to state where he considers his legal residence to be, shall, for the purpose of taxation, be deemed an inhabitant of such place. If, when so inquired of, he designates another place as his legal residence, said assessors shall notify the assessors of such place, who, upon receiving the notice, shall tax such person as an inhabitant of their city or town. * * *
Section 13. For the purpose of assessing and collecting taxes on real estate the persons appearing in the records of the county where the real estate lies as the owners thereof on the first day of May, even if deceased, shall be held to be the true owners thereof. Taxes on real estate shall be assessed, in the city or town
where the estate lies, to the person who is either the owner or in possession thereof on the first day of May. Mortgagors of real estate shall, for the purposes of taxation, except as provided in the three following sections, be deemed owners until the mortgagee takes possession, after which the mortgagee shall, except as provided in said sections, be deemed the owner.
Sec. 14. When any person has an interest in [taxable] (real estate not exempt from taxation under the provisions of section five of this chapter, see 1882, ch. 175, sect. 3, ] as holder of a duly recorded mortgage given to secure the payment of money, the amount of which is fixed and certain, the amount of his interest as mortgagee shall be assesssd as real estate in the place where the land lies; and the mortgagor shall be assessed only for the value of said real estate after deducting the assessed value of all such mortgagee's interests therein. When such property is situated in two or more places, the amount of the mortgagee's interest to be assessed in each place shall be proportioned to the assessed value in the respective places of the mortgaged real estate. deducting therefrom the taxable amount of prior mortgages if any thereon.
SEC. 15. If any holder of such a mortgage fails to file in the assessors' office a statement under oath of all his estate, liable to taxation under the preceding section, including a statement of the full amount remaining unpaid upon such mortgage and of his interest therein, the amount stated in the mortgage shall be conclusive as to the extent of such interest; but the mortgagees' interests in such real estate shall not be assessed at a greater sum than the fair cash valuation of the land and the structures thereon or affixed thereto; and the amount of a mortgage interest in an estate that has been divided after the creation of such mortgage shall not be required to be apportioned upon the several parts of such estate, except as provided in sections eighty-one to eightythree inclusive.
Sec. 16. Mortgagors and mortgagees referred to in the two preceding sections shall, for the purposes of taxation, be deemed joint owners until the mortgagee takes possession; and until such possession is taken by a first mortgagee, the assessors or the collector of taxes, upon application to any one of them, shall give to any such mortgagee or mortgagor a tax bill, showing the whole tax on the mortgaged estate, and the amount included in the valuation thereof as the interest of each mortgagee and of the mortgagor respectively. If the first mortgagee is in possession, he shall be deemed sole owner; and any other mortgagee in possession shall be deemed joint owner with prior mortgagees.
The four preceding sections are somewhat modified by the Acts of 1882, ch. 175, § 1, as follows:
[Any mortgagor or mortgagee of real estate may bring in to the assessors of the town or city where such real estate lies, within such time as shall be specified for bringing in the lists as provided in section thirty-eight of chapter eleven of the Public
Statutes, a statement, under oath, of the amount due on each separate lot or parcel of such real estate, and the name and residence of every holder of an interest therein as a mortgagee or mortgagor. When such property is situated in two or more places, or when a recorded mortgage includes for one sum two or more estates or parts of an estate, an estimate of the amount of the mortgagee's interest in each estate or part of an estate shall be given in such statement. The assessors shall, from such statements or otherwise, ascertain the proportionate parts of such estates that are the interests of mortgagees and mortgagors respectively, and shall assess the same. Whenever, in any case of mortgaged real estate, a statement is not brought in as herein provided, no tax for the then current year on such real estate shall be invalidated, for the reason that a mortgagee's interest therein has not been assessed to him.)
Sec. 20. Provides that all personal estate, within or without the Commonwealth, shall be assessed to the owner in the city or town where he is an inhabitant on the first day of May, except as otherwise provided and in the following clauses of this Section:
First, All goods, wares, merchandise, and other stock in trade (except ships or vessels owned by a co-partnership), including stock employed in the business of manufacturing or of the mechanic arts, in the cities or towns within the Commonwealth, other than where the owners reside, whether such owners reside' within or without the Commonwealth, shall be taxed in those places where the owners hire or occupy manufactories, stores, shops or wharves, whether such property is within said places or elsewhere on the first day of May of the year when the tax is made.
Second, All machinery employed in any branch or manufactures shall be assessed where such machinery is situated or employed; and, in assessing the stockholders for their shares in any manufacturing corporation, there shall first be deducted from the value thereof, the value of the machinery and real estate belonging to such corporation.
Third, Horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep and swine, kept throughout the year in places other than those where the owners reside, whether such owners reside within or without the Commonwealth, and horses employed in stages or other vehicles for the transportation of passengers for hire, shall be assessed to the owners in the places where they are kept.
Fourth, Personal property belonging to persons under guardianship, shall be assessed to the guardian in the place where the ward is an inhabitant, unless the ward resides and has his home without the Commonwealth, in which case it shall be taxed to the guardian in the place where he is an inhabitant.
Fifth, Personal property held in trust by an executor, administrator, or trustee, the income of which is payable to another person, shall be assessed to the executor, administrator or trustee, in the place where such other person resides, if within the Com