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THE TAX LAW.
[Tbis bill became cb, 908 of tho Laws of 1896.]
REVISERS' NOTE EXPLANATORY OF THE TAX LAW.
The original law (L. 1889, ch. 289), creating a statutory revision commission, expressly provided, among other things, that the commission should prepare and report to the legislature a bill for the consolidation and revision of the general statutes of the state, relating to the collection and assessment of taxes, and the exemption of property from taxation throughout the state.” Accordingly the commissioners appointed pursuant to such law, prepared a consolidation and revision of the tax laws which, however, was never submitted to the legislature as a whole, either by report or bill. But in 1892, the commission assisted in the preparation of a bill revising the laws taxing the succession of property, which became chapter 399 of the laws of 1892, known as the taxable transfers act.
The supplemental supply bill of 1892 (chapter 660) provided for the appointment by the governor of two counsel to “ examine the laws of this and other states relating to taxation, and to report to the next legislaure before the first day of February, the result of their investigations, with recommendations as to legislation, relating to assessment and taxation in this state."
Messrs. Collin and Fiero were appointed as such counsel and reported to the legislature of 1893, a proposed revision of the tax laws, purporting to cover and supersede all existing statutes relating to taxation. The bill, as reported by the counsel, was introduced in the legislature, but no portion of it became a law, except that relating to sales by the comptroller and by county treasurers for unpaid taxes, which was enacted as chapter 711 of the laws of that year. No formal report was made by the counsel to the legislature of 1894, but chapter 768 of the laws of that year provided the compensation of such counsel for services rendered during the year 1893.
Mr. Fiero reported to the legislature of 1895, a revision of the tax laws, excepting the laws relating to the taxation of transfers of property, and the taxation of corporations. The bill proposed by him follows substantially the arrangement originally reported by the tax counsel, in pursuance of chapter 660 of the laws of 1892, but as stated in his report, he abandoned many changes. thereto proposed by the counsel," which were regarded as somewhat radical."
The revision as presented to the legislature of 1895, was introduced as a bill in the senate and referred to the committee on tax. ation and retrenchment, but was never reported from that com. mittee.
While the matter of revision was under consideration by the tax counsel appointed in pursuance of the act of 1892, the statutory revision commission made no effort to revise the tax laws; but none of the proposed revisions having been accepted by the legislature, the commissioners now deem it proper and desirable to resume consideration of the subject and prepare a bill, in accordance with the general scheme of revision which the commission is expected to complete.
All the bills submitted to the legislature by the tax counsel follow the plan of the statutory revision commission for framing general laws; and each bill gives to the revision the chapter number which it should have in the general laws.
The present commissioners have carefully examined the origi. nal bill prepared by the former commission, as well as the several bills prepared by the tax counsel, and so far as practicable, have followed their general arrangement, but for the substance of this revision have gone over the entire field of statutory law relating to taxation.
The tax laws of the state are quite conflicting and confused and a revision is very desirable. In preparing the draft of the bill submitted herewith, the commission has tried to preserve, as far as possible, the substance of existing statutes, in order that the bill may not meet the objection that it effects radical changes.
Various changes, however, have been necessary to eliminate inconsistencies and to reduce the subject to a harmonious and systematic whole. Several changes are proposed in those portions of the law relating to the sale of lands for nonpayment of taxes, taxable transfers and the taxation of corporations. In making these changes, the commission has been aided by valuable suggestions from the comptroller, whose office has jurisdiction of these subjects.
There are, of course, in addition, many changes in phraseology, which are necessary in the revision and re-writing of the law, All the changes of substance are indicated in the notes at the end of the sections, and it will be unnecessary to enumerate them here.
There has been no revision of the tax laws since the revised statutes of 1828, but the general scheme of taxation as then adopted has remained substantially unchanged, so far as the local assessment and collection of taxes are concerned. But since that time a large number of statutes relating to the subject of tàxation have been passed, many of which conflict with, or supersede the provisions of the revised statutes, and can only be reconciled by a judicial decision.
Various other statutes have introduced into our law new schemes of taxation. Notably, the act of 1855 (chapter 427), pro viding for the sale by the comptroller of land of nonresidents for unpaid taxes; also the acts providing for an organization and franchise tax on corporations, and for the taxation of the succession of property on the death of the owner.
The exemptions of property from taxation have also been largely increased. The creation of a state board of assessors for the equalization of state taxes between the several counties and for hearing appeals from the equalization of boards of supervisors, is also a feature of the existing law which has grown up since the revised statutes. Altogether there are about one hundred acts supplemental to the revised statutes of 1828.
Many of the provisions of article II, entitled “ procedure," seem more properly to come within the scope of a revision of the code of civil procedure, rather than a revision of the tax laws; but the commission has deemed it desirable to re-enact them at this time as a portion of the tax law, in order that they may not be left on the statute books as fragmentary provisions of laws, the other portions of which are repealed by this bill. When the revision of the code of civil procedure is undertaken, the provisions of the article will be again considered and may be incorporated into the code, so far as practicable.
The table following the repealing schedule indicates this disposition, in the sections of the revision or otherwise, of each law repealed by this chapter. The page references at the end of the sections are to the eighth edition of the revised statutes.
CHARLES Z. LINCOLN,
THE TAX LAW.
AN ACT in relation to taxation, constituting chapter twenty
four of the general laws.
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
CHAPTER XXIV OF THE GENERAL LAWS.
The Tax Law.
2. Mode of assessment. (SS 20-41.)
of lands. (SS 120-143.) 7. Sales by county treasurers for unpaid taxes and
redemption of lands. (S$ 150-158.)
equalization. (S$ 170-177.)
Taxable Property and Place of Taxation.