Morton C. Hunter Stone Co. v. Woodard

Decision Date21 April 1899
Citation152 Ind. 474,53 N.E. 947
PartiesMORTON C. HUNTER STONE CO. v. WOODARD, County Treasurer.
CourtIndiana Supreme Court


Appeal from circuit court, Monroe county; W. H. Martin, Judge.

Action by the Morton C. Hunter Stone Company against Joseph S. Woodard, as treasurer of Monroe county. There was a decree for defendant, and plaintiff appeals. Affirmed.

Cooper & Cooper, for appellant. Henley & Wilson, for appellee.


Appellant sought to enjoin the treasurer of Monroe county from collecting taxes for 1897 on property listed by the county assessor. The complaint alleges that the company is a domestic manufacturing corporation located in Monroe county; that between April 1 and June 1, 1897, the company made out and delivered to the proper township assessor the sworn statement required by section 73 of the general tax law of 1891 (section 8491, Burns' Rev. St. 1894; section 6337, Horner's Rev. St. 1897); that the county board of review met in June, but failed to make any assessment of any kind against the company, as required by section 74, p. 227, Acts 1891 (section 8492, Burns' Rev. St. 1894; section 6338, Horner's Rev. St. 1897); that on November 1, 1897, the county assessor, without giving any notice, and without describing in any way the property, its value or kind, and without filing with the auditor any statement of any reason for making the assessment, or of any facts or evidence on which the assessment was based, assessed the company to the amount of $17,000, on which the auditor computed taxes in the sum of $370.60, and entered them in the tax duplicate for 1897; that the auditor delivered the duplicate to appellee, as county treasurer, who is about to enforce collection, etc. The answer is as follows: “That at the meeting of the county board of review of Monroe county, Indiana, in 1897, the auditor of said county failed to lay before said board the schedule and statement herein required to be returned to him as provided by section 73 of the Session Laws of 1891 of the general assembly of said state, and at no time during said session of the board of review did said auditor lay before said board such schedule and statement; that on account of such failure said county board of review did not pass upon the question of plaintiff's property in said county; that the auditor of state of the state of Indiana failed to make out the return statements and valuations of plaintiff's said property, nor did such state auditor furnish to the auditor of Monroe county any statement or return or assessment of plaintiff's said property up to the time of the assessment made by the county assessor of Monroe county herein; that said county assessor, in making such assessment, gave notice to the plaintiff of his intention to make such assessment as provided by law, and said plaintiff failed and refused to make any objections to the assessment of plaintiff's property as made by said county assessor; that no assessment for the year 1897 was made other than the assessment so made by said county assessor. Wherefore,” etc. A demurrer to this answer for want of facts was overruled, and judgment was rendered for appellee upon appellant's refusal to plead further.

Appellant contends that sections 73 and 74 of the general tax law provide the only method by which its property could be reached for taxation; that the company complied with section 73 by delivering to the township assessor a verified schedule; that the county board of review, having under these circumstances exclusive power to make the assessment, failed to make any assessment whatever against the company; and that, therefore, “the power of taxation was completely exhausted.” Section 108, p. 241, Acts 1891 (section 8526, Burns' Rev. St. 1894; section 6371, Horner's Rev. St. 1897), makes it the duty of the township assessor, whenever he shall discover or receive credible information that any property has been omitted in the assessment of any year, or that the tax for which such property was liable has not been paid “from any cause,” to proceed to add such property to the assessment. In this section the county assessor is given the same powers. Section 113, p. 244, Acts 1891 (section 8531, Burns' Rev. St. 1894; section 6380, Horner's Rev. St. 1897), confers upon the county assessor the powers given to the county auditor and treasurer by section 142, p. 257, Acts 1891, and section 182, p. 268, Id. Section 142, p. 257, Acts 1891 (section 8560, Burns' Rev. St. 1894; section 6409, Horner's Rev. St. 1897), and as amended in 1897 (Acts 1897, p. 141), directs the county auditor, whenever he shall discover or receive credible information that any property “has, from any cause, been omitted in whole or in part in the assessment of any year,” to proceed to add the omitted property to the tax duplicate. Section 182, p. 268, Acts 1891 (section 8600, Burns' Rev. St. 1894; section 6449, Horner's Rev. St. 1897), requires the treasurer to report to the auditor any omitted property he knows of, or learns of from credible sources. Sections 108, 142, and 182 direct the respective officers to give the owner notice in writing of the officer's intention to add the omitted property to the tax duplicate, describing it in general terms, and requiring the owner to appear, etc. Those sections further require the...

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