School Dist. of Plattsburg v. Bowman

Decision Date23 December 1903
Citation77 S.W. 880,178 Mo. 654
CourtMissouri Supreme Court

Appeal from Circuit Court, Clinton County; A. D. Burnes, Judge.

Action by the school district of Plattsburg against Phillip V. Bowman and others. Judgment for defendants, and plaintiff appeals. Affirmed.

W. S. Herndon, for appellant. Sandusky & Sandusky, for respondents.


This is an action by the school district of Plattsburg, Clinton county, a body politic, under article 2, c. 154, Rev. St. 1899, against the defendant Bowman on his bond as assessor of taxes for Clinton county, and against the other defendants as the sureties on his bond, to collect, as damages, certain taxes for the year 1900 which it is alleged were lost to the plaintiff by the act of the assessor in assessing certain tangible personal property, consisting principally of cattle, which was owned by several different partnerships, to the partnerships and in the school districts in the county in which the partnerships respectively did business, and in which the cattle actually were when assessed, instead of assessing to each of the partners his proportionate interest in the partnership property in the school districts in which each of said partners resided. All of the property has been assessed to the respective partnerships. The only question is, which school district is entitled to the tax—that in which the partnership does business and in which the property is actually located, or that in which the partners reside—and, if the partners reside in different school districts, whether the proportionate interest of each partner in the partnership property should be assessed to each partner in the school district in which each resides. The circuit court entered judgment for the defendants, and the plaintiff appealed.

Primarily the assessment and collection of taxes are proceedings in rem. Therefore, where the property is actually located is the place where the assessment is made and the tax collected. It is, of course, competent for the Legislature to prescribe where personal property shall be assessed and taxed, and, when the Legislature has so prescribed, such regulations must be followed. But when the statute is silent the ordinary rules of law must obtain. The property here involved is partnership property, and the owner of such property is the partnership. The individuals composing the partnership have an interest in the partnership property. That interest can only be accurately determined by an accounting. The partnership may be wholly insolvent, so that the individual's interest would amount to nothing, after the debts are paid. But the tangible property of the partnership is subject to taxation irrespective of whether the firm is solvent or insolvent. There is therefore a marked difference between partnership property and the individual interest of the individuals in the partnership property. In a legal sense, the partnership is the owner of the property, while the members have an interest in the partnership. The general rule of law is that partnership property is properly assessed in the name of the partnership, and not in the names of the individuals composing the partnership, in the proportion of the interest of each in the partnership. 1 Cooley on Taxation (3d Ed.) p. 659, thus states the rule: "The property of a partnership is generally with much propriety required to be taxed at the place where the partnership business is carried on, and it may be assessed in the firm name, even after the death of one of the partners, if the business is continued in the firm name by the...

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8 cases
  • McDowell v. Fid. Nat. Ins. Co., 20902.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 4 Febrero 1930
  • State ex rel. School Dist. No. 24 of St. Louis County v. Neaf
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 5 Julio 1939
    ... ... 602, sec. 288; 3 Cooley on Taxation (4 Ed.), p. 2145, sec ... 1065; 61 C. J., pp. 125, 127, secs. 57, 58; School ... District of Plattsburg v. Bowman, 178 Mo. 654, 77 S.W ... 880; State ex rel. K. C., St. J. & C. B. Ry. Co. v ... Severance, 55 Mo. 378. (2) The legislative ... ...
  • School Dist. No. 24 of St. Louis County v. Neaf
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 13 Marzo 1941
    ... ... 602, sec. 288; 3 Cooley ... on Taxation (4 Ed.), p. 2145, sec. 1065; 61 C. J., p. 125, ... 127, secs. 57, 58; School Dist. of Plattsburg v ... Bowman, 178 Mo. 654, 77 S.W. 880; State ex rel. K ... C., St. J. & C. B. Railroad Co. v. Severance, 55 Mo ... 378. (3) Evidence showing ... ...
  • McDowell v. Washington Fidelity Nat. Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 4 Febrero 1930
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