Butler v. Cotton, No. 46347.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtGARFIELD
Citation233 Iowa 1311,11 N.W.2d 686
Decision Date16 November 1943
Docket NumberNo. 46347.
PartiesBUTLER v. COTTON et al., Board of Polk County Sup'rs.

233 Iowa 1311
11 N.W.2d 686

COTTON et al., Board of Polk County Sup'rs.

No. 46347.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

Nov. 16, 1943.

Appeal from District Court, Polk County; Tom K. Murrow, Judge.

Mandamus to compel Polk county board of supervisors to refund part of taxes for 1937 claimed to have been “erroneously or illegally exacted or paid,” within meaning of Code section 7235. Decree for defendants. Plaintiff appeals.


MILLER, J., dissenting.

Parrish, Guthrie, Colflesh & O'Brien, Sam Abramson, and Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, all of Des Moines, for appellant.

Bruce J. Flick, Francis J. Kuble, and James P. Irish, all of Des Moines, for appellees.

GARFIELD, Justice.

Plaintiff's three parcels of realty, which we will call tracts 1, 2 and 3, in the City of Des Moines, Polk County, were assessed for taxation for 1937. Plaintiff did not protest to the local Board of Review from the assessment on tract 1 but paid the 1937 taxes on the original valuation in two installments, in April and October, 1938. Plaintiff did protest his assessment on tracts 2 and 3 to the local Board of Review and appealed from its adverse decision to the district court. On July 8 and September 29, 1938, consent decrees were entered in the district court in the tax appeals reducing the assessments on tracts 2 and 3. The valuation of tract 2 was reduced from $20,455 to $19,000, and on tract 3 from $76,771 to $74,742.

In the meantime, on April 22, 1938, plaintiff had paid the first half of the taxes against tracts 2 and 3 on the original valuations. On October 15, 1938, plaintiff paid the second half of the taxes on the valuations as reduced in the tax appeal cases and was given credit for the overpayment by him on the first half. In other words, the total taxes for 1937 paid on tracts 2 and 3 were on the valuations as reduced upon appeal.

In September, 1937, the State Board of Assessment and Review, now the State Tax Commission, ordered the local Board of Review of Des Moines to make certain blanket or percentage changes in the 1937 assessments in various zones or taxing districts in the city, including the districts in which plaintiff's tracts were located. In other words, the local board was ordered to modify the assessed valuation of property in a district or subdistrict by a designated percentage, to be applied throughout such area. The local board refused to comply with the order of the state board until after a decree of mandamus was entered on July 6, 1939, pursuant to our opinion in

[11 N.W.2d 687]

State v. Local Board, 225 Iowa 855, 283 N.W. 87. On August 1, 1939, the local board finally approved these blanket changes in the various districts in conformity with the order of the state board.

These blanket changes, when applied to the valuations on plaintiff's tracts, lowered the valuation on tract 1 from $345,070 to $327,260, a...

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