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have been received with favor in tax circles. Explanations regarding each number of the bulletin are given later in the report.
ORGANIZATION OF THE STATE TAX DEPARTMENT The organization of the State Tax Department is substantially the same as it was when the last report of the department was made. It comprises the following divisions and bureaus:
A. The General Office Administration Division
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. The administration of the tax department for the year 1916 is given in detail under the headings of the various bureaus and divisions, in order.
A. The General Office Administration Division The general office is charged with the central administrative work and with the efficiency of the clerical force of the entire department.
The work of this division is so closely allied with that of the other bureaus and divisions that its work is to some extent re flected in their reports. In its diverse activities this division is the clearing house of the department. During the current year there have been ordered for the several bureaus and divisions printed blanks and other printed pieces to the number of 1,467,950. Final certification of the special franchise valuations was made on the 27th of October. There were written and compared 11,556 certificates addressed to the owners of special franchises, and 7,591 certificates to the town and city clerks. There were 10,159 names of owners of special franchise property in the lists sent to mayors, supervisors and village presidents. In these lists there appeared 20,318 final full and tentative equalized amounts. The number of owners subject to special franchise valuations on June 30, 1916, was 2,091. All these names with details of the valuations form a permanent record in the office.
Three different statements of the budget requirements of the department for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1917, have been prepared. One statement has been submitted to the governor, one to the comptroller and one to the legislature.
The work of the filing division has been brought up to date for the first time in the history of the department. Every document is now properly filed and immediately available. The mere state ment of the work done is evidence of the industry, co-operation and loyalty of the personnel of the general office.
On January 1, 1916, Charles R. McSparren who, for seven years had been a deputy attorney-general in charge of tax litigation, was appointed counsel to the commission and placed in charge of the law division of the tax department. Under the supervision of counsel an addition of over 600 volumes has been made to the law library and the division has been raised to a high standard of efficiency.
The law division is charged with:
The preparation of all litigation prosecuted for the department by the attorney-general; 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 legal questions; the examination of bills introduced in the legislature; the drafts of amendments to the law, and the preparation of cases involving the review of local assessments and county equalizations by boards of supervisors.
During the last session of the legislature, the services of the counsel were placed at the disposal of various legislative committees to render assistance in connection with tax legislation. Every bill affecting taxation was examined with care and its pro
A large number of bills were introduced to improve the tax law. As a result, over one hundred sections of the
law were amended and conditions existing at the time were greatly improved thereby. Following is a brief summary of these amendments:
1. AMENDMENTS BY CHAPTER 323 OF LAWS OF 1916 General: Amending the tax law generally for better arrangement, for repeal of obsolete matter, for clearness and such other changes as were deemed advisable. The principal material changes are: (1) extending time for assessor's field work, (2) fixing date of taxable status of real property, (3) facilitating the adoption of tax maps, (4) applies rules of county equalization to state, and requires publication of evidence used in county equalizations, (5) making possible more frequent county visitations by state tax officials, (6) extending the right of equalization appeals to mayors and borough presidents, (7) enlarging the supervisory power of the tax commission over local assessors, (8) defining more exactly what assessment-rolls shall contain, (9) preventing land boom companies from making excessive fraudulent charges for alleged services rendered in paying small taxes for individual owners, (10) preventing the assessment of boom land tracts against companies instead of against individual owners, (11) simplifying bank stock assessments, (12) removing obstacles to the assessment of personal property of corporations by the adoption of uniform reports, (13) preventing the evasion of mortgage taxes by the use of deeds of trust, and (14) making many provisions of the tax law more workable by rearrangement, omission of obsolete matter and minor changes in language.
2. AMENDMENT BY CHAPTER 333 OF LAWS OF 1916 Corporation Franchise: This amendment changes section 182 of the tax law by which a domestic corporation could escape all franchise taxes by leasing its property to a foreign corporation. This was made necessary by the decision of the court of appeals in the case of the People ex rel. Lehigh and New York Railroad Company vs. Sohmer, 217 N. Y. 443.
3. AMENDMENT BY CHAPTER 334 OF LAWS OF 1916 Special Franchise: This amendment consolidates two grievance days (1) full value, and (2) equalized value, into one, a