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ALBANY, N. Y., January 5, 1916
Sie. We have the honor herewith to transmit our annual
State Tax Commission
ALBANY, N. Y., January 5, 1916. To the Legislature of the State of New York:
The State Tax Commission submits to the Legislature its report for the year 1915 :
Pursuant to the provisions of chapter 317 of the Laws of 1915, the present State Tax Commission entered upon its duties on the 19th day of April, 1915, and in accordance with section 170-b of the Tax Law, organized the Tax Department into the following divisions and bureaus:
A. The General Administration Division.
F. The Corporation Tax Bureau. The head of each bureau, and also of the General Office Division, is a deputy tax commissioner, who is responsible for the work of his bureau or division, and the official conduct thereof.
Statement of the administration of the Tax Department for the year is presented under the headings of the various bureaus and divisions in order.
GENERAL OFFICE ADMINISTRATION The General Administration Division is charged with the central administrative work, and with the efficiency of the clerical force of the entire department.
When the General Administration Division was established, the clerical work of the department was largely conducted without system.
By reason of this condition, the department was found to be much in arrears and the Commission first addressed
itself to devising a system by which the work could be done promptly. This has been accomplished. The clerical work of the department is on a current basis. Department rules and regulations have stimulated the efficiency of the clerical force. During the year, 34,200 special franchise valuations have been certified; 1,500 lists of tentative and full equalized valuations, containing about 15,000 different amounts, with full and minute details of the values, have been sent to mayors of cities, to supervisors and to village presidents. This work, formerly done by special agents called into the office from the field, has this year been done by the regular office force, and was finished two weeks earlier than usual, though the work was begun seven weeks later than formerly. An adequate filing system has been installed for the intelligent filing of reports, records and correspondence, and for the care of blanks and department supplies. Officers and employees have been impressed with the importance of strict attention to their duties, and a spirit of interest and co-operation prevails throughout.
Law DIVISION ADMINISTRATION The Law Division is charged with the preparation of all litigated matters prosecuted for the department by the AttorneyGeneral; legal advice to local tax officials of the state; advice and conference with the Commission and with the heads of the several bureaus of the department on all legal questions; examination of bills introduced in the Legislature; drafting of amendments to the law; preparation of memoranda for the Governor in relation to tax legislation ; and the preparation of cases involving the review of local assessments, and county equalization by boards of supervisors.
GENERAL LITIGATION About the time this Commission took office, the Court of Appeals handed down its decision in the Matter of the People ex rel. Town of Ilempstead and Hiram R. Smith, as supervisor of the Town of Hempstead v. State Board of Tax Commissioners, and Town of Oyster Bay and Town of North Hempstead, 214 N. Y. 594. Under this proceeding there was subject to review the determination made by the State Board of Tax Commissioners on the appeal of the town of Hempstead from the equalization made by the board of supervisors of Nassau county in 1911. The court ordered the determination of the State Board of Tax Commissioners, dated June 26, 1913, reversed and set aside, and that the proceeding be remitted to the State Tax Commission for a new and further hearing on the merits. This matter was reheard and determined by the present Commission.
On November 16, 1915, the town of Oyster Bay, Nassau county, and on November 18, 1915, the town of North Hempstead, Nassau county, brought separate certiorari proceedings to review the determination of the State Tax Commission in (the said reheard) appeal of the Town of Hempstead v. Nassau County, for the years 1911, 1912, 1913 and 1914 (eight proceedings in all) in which the question was raised as to whom the money should be paid under the order of the Tax Commission. On November 29, 1915, an order was granted by the Appellate Division quashing the writs and dismissing the proceedings for 1911 to the effect that the moneys should be credited to the town of Hempstead on account of the state and county taxes to be levied against the town of Hempstead in the tax levy of 1915.
SPECIAL FRANCHISE LITIGATION On April 19, 1915, the date on which this Commission assumed office, there were pending 1,537 certiorari proceedings to review special franchise valuations. Since that date six proceedings have been instituted involving village valuations for the year 1914, and 64 proceedings involving valuations for the year 1915, making a total of 1,610 proceedings.
Through the co-operative efforts of the Commission and the Attorney-General 326 cases have been disposed of, as follows:
2 91 72
leaving 1,284 cases in the hands of the Attorney-General in various stages of litigation. The department has been advised by the