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great convenience and time-saver for both the department and the taxpayer.
4. AMENDMENT BY CHAPTERS 335, 336 AND 337 OF LAWS OF 1916
Mortgage Tax: These amendments remove ambiguous language in section 260, which changes were made necessary by the decision of the court of appeals in the case of the People ex rel. American Ice Co. vs. Tax Commissioners, 207 N. Y. 766; permit the mortgagor or mortgagee of any mortgage which covers property within and without the state to waive determination and pay the tax on the full amount of such mortgage or any advancement thereon, such payment to render the amount of such mortgage or advancement exempt from taxation; also on the filing of a verified statement by individual owners, bonds secured by such mortgage may be made exempt from all other taxation; make section 264 conform to amendments of section 260; and prevent evasion of mortgage taxes by removing certain language from section 263.
Tax Law COMPILATION
The fact that the legal provisions relating to taxation were widely scattered through the laws and constitution of the state made necessary a compilation of these provisions in a single volume, co-related by a consolidated index. The law division during the last year made such a compilation and the commission's edition of all the laws affecting taxation appeared as the fourth number of the New York State Tax Bulletin. This collection is the most complete of its kind in existence. A careful examination of existing provisions revealed the fact that thirty general laws in addition to the tax law proper contained taxation provisions. Added to these are the tax sections of the federal and state constitutions and innumerable special laws. All these were carefully collated and a semi-digest index of over one hundred pages was added. This digest represents original work on the part of the law division. Each sentence and paragraph of the six hundred pages of laws was digested and cross-indexed in as many ways as could be anticipated. The references to the tax law proper appear in plain faced type and other matter in italics. This brings together in a striking way the entire disjunctive mass of taxation law so grouped that even a layman may be able to ascertain with reasonable certainty what the law is on any given subject. Also it centralizes under the official title of each public officer charged with any duty in reference to tax administration, a detailed alphabetical enumeration of such duties. This work is designed to meet the demand for such an edition of the tax law.
RULINGS The law division passes upon the most intricate legal phases of tax administration. Questions continually arise in connection with corporation franchise, special franchise and mortgage taxes, and the general duties of the commission. Equally important are the inquiries which come from local officials and taxpayers. During the year over six hundred written rulings have been rendered, and in addition personal conferences have been held whenever requested.
LITIGATION REFERRED TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL The attorney-general represents the commission in the courts. The law division co-operates with the attorney-general whenever requested in the preparation of cases for trial or in the drawing of briefs on appeal. The particulars and status of tax litigation therefore is properly a part of the attorney-general's report and only an outline is here presented. Special franchise tax Certiorari proceedings pending.
1,328 Writs served in 1916...
260 Returns verified
222 Further returns
20 Recommendations for settlements.
66 Proceedings being tried..
6 Proceedings terminated
140 Franchise tax Certiorari proceedings pending
13 Writs served in 1916...
9 Proceedings terminated
9 1 43 15
Mandamus city of New York against State Board of Equalization. To compel re-establishment of rates for 1915 excluding bank shares. Application denied; affirmed in appellate division and court of appeals.
Nassau county equalization appeal — order of appellate division on stipulation permitting the crediting, instead of paying, the amount due the town of Hempstead appealed from by towns of North Hempstead and Oyster Bay. Appeal dismissed in court of appeals. Reassessment proceedings - People against assessors of the
town of Hunter. People against assessors of the
city of Port Jervis. To compel correction or cancellation of assessment-rolls of 1916. In the Hunter case an appeal is pending from an order denying a motion to dismiss on a technicality. The Port Jervis proceeding stands adjourned without date owing to the serious illness of the city attorney.
Mandamus - People ex rel. John J. Sheehan against tax commission. To compel reinstatement. Application denied by the court.
COURT OF APPEALS DECISIONS
pany against Sohmer, 217 N. Y. 443. A domestic corporation that has leased its property to a foreign corporation for a long term and does no other business than the election of officers is not subject to a franchise tax.
People ex rel. Empire State Dairy Company against
Sohmer, 218 N. Y. 199. The pasteurization of milk is not such manufacturing as permits exemption from taxation of franchise under section 183 of the tax law.
People ex rel. Ridgwood Land and Improvement Com
pany against Tax Commission, 219 N. Y.-. A real estate company that has ceased to do business except the election of officers and distribution of proceeds of mortgages on property formerly owned, to stockholders, is not subject to a franchise tax.
Special Franchise Tax
York, 218 N. Y. 483. Section 48 of the tax law is not retroactive and therefore does not permit the deduction of payments in the nature of a tax made in years prior to the assessment of special franchises.
People ex rel. Central Hudson Gas and Electric Com
pany against Woodbury, 219 N. Y.-. Application for writ of certiorari must be made within the statutory time limit and the attorney-general has no power to waive this limitation.
People ex rel. New York, Westchester and Boston
Railway Company against Ebstein, 219 N. Y.Payments in the nature of a tax entitled to credit on special franchise taxes under section 48 of the tax law must be so credited under section 914 of the New York Charter.
People ex rel. town of Oyster Bay against Tax Com
mission, 218 X. Y. 706.
Differences arising on review of county equalizations by the State Tax Commission may be adjusted by credit, instead of payment, when attorneys for all towns agree.
Matter of city of New York, 219 N. Y.-. State Board of Equalization properly considered bank stock assessments in fixing the county rates of equalization.
Section 256 No time limit fixed for review by tax commission of recording officer's determination as to mortgage tax on indeterminate mortgage.
Section 4, subd. 4 Real property purchased by widow of pensioner with pension moneys exempt to extent of $5,000.
Section 36-a Corporations having real property in more than one tax district may make application for a grievance day subsequent to the regular one.
Section 260 Amendment of 1916 allowing payment of full mortgage tax on property within and without the state and thus securing exemption of bonds may be applied retroactively.
Sections 181, 182 The holding of stock of another corporation represents the employment of capital but not doing business in the state.
NEW SPECIAL FRANCHISE ASSESSMENTS During the year assessment as special franchises of corporate properties lying on the borders of the state has been before the law division. Much valuable property of public service corporations in the form of bridges and cables along the Niagara river, also property extending into the Atlantic ocean from New York, Long Island and vicinity, has heretofore escaped taxation, as spe cial franchises. Investigation has shown, however, that the legal authorities uphold assessment of bridges over the Niagara river,