State at Relation and To Use of R. C. Divine, Collector of Revenue Within and for City of Greenfield v. Collier

Citation256 S.W. 455,301 Mo. 72
PartiesTHE STATE at Relation and to Use of R. C. DIVINE, Collector of Revenue Within and For CITY OF GREENFIELD, v. L. A. COLLIER, Appellant
Decision Date20 November 1923
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri

Appeal from Dade Circuit Court; Hon. Berry G. Thurman Judge.


Ben M. Neale for appellant.

(1) The city of Greenfield, being a city of the fourth class, has only such powers as are specifically given by law. Authority to assess and collect taxes at the time these taxes were assessed and were collectible, was found in Sec. 9347, R. S 1909 (now Sec. 8445, R. S. 1919). Under this section, the city assessor is given authority to assess all property "in such cities," and further on in the section it is made the duty of the county clerk to deliver to the mayor a certified abstract from his assessment book of all property "within such city." Under this section, unless property is located "in the city" or "within" the city, it is not assessable by the city assessor, consequently, not taxable. The farm owned by the appellant, and on which his personal property was located could not be taxed by the city, for the reason that the farm was not "in" or "within" such city. The only theory on which city tax could be collected on the stock and farm implements, located and used exclusively on the farm, is that because it is personal property, it has a different location from the location of the farm; its location being the same as the location, or home, of the owner. (2) Prior to the enactment of Secs. 11337 and 11355, R. S. 1909, the rule in Missouri was that tangible personal property, such as horses, cattle and farm implements, was assessable and taxable where it is actually located, though that situs might be different from the domicile of the owner. See Plattsburg v. Clay, 76 Mo.App. 497; School District v. Bowman, 178 Mo. 654; Leavell v. Blades, 237 Mo. 695; State ex rel. v. County Court, 47 Mo. 594. Recognizing this rule, and with the purpose, evidently, of changing it in certain respects, Sec. 11337, R. S. 1909, was enacted, requiring personal property to be taxed in the county in which the owner resides. And Section 11355 was enacted, providing that personal property of an estate, in charge of administrator, shall be taxable by and for the benefit of the school district where the deceased resided at the time of his death. These two sections plainly recognize the general contrary rule in Missouri, in providing two statutory exceptions to the rule. Had the Legislature not intended that these sections should operate as exceptions to the rule, how easy it would have been to have simply said that all personal property, wheresoever situate, if taxable in Missouri, should be assessed at the domicile of the owner. (3) There is a vast difference in the assessment and collection of taxes by a city of the fourth class, and by a county, school district, or other political subdivision of the State, which have exact counterparts in other political subdivisions, situated in all parts of the State. For instance, every resident of the State must live in some school district in the State, and in large part his privileges, benefits and advantages are identical. Recognizing this, our courts have held that personal property, kept by its owner on a farm in one school district, is assessable and taxable in the school district which is the domicile of its owner. Widely different from this, however, is the right of a city to assess and collect city taxes, which are used alone to carry on the city government, on property which is located exclusively without the city, and which has a situs of its own. (4) Surely the courts will not go to the length of holding that a city of the fourth class has a right to make a man pay city taxes on personal property which it not only does not protect or benefit, but actually forbids him keeping within the city limits, where it may receive the benefit and protection of the city government. The only theory on which taxation is permissible is, that in return for taxation, protection is afforded by the authority which the taxes help maintain, to the property on which the tax is levied. Leavell v. Blades, 237 Mo. 707.

Fred L. Shafer for respondent.

"A tax assessed against the person for personal estate is to be assessed to him at the place of his residence, because in contemplation of law his movable property accompanies him wherever he goes. This is the general rule, though tangible personal property may be taxed where it is, irrespective of ownership if the statute shall so provide." Cooley on Taxation (1 Ed.) p. 269; State ex rel. v. Pearson, 273 Mo. 72; State ex rel. v. Trembrook, 145 Mo.App. 368.


Railey, C.

This action was commenced by plaintiff on July 6, 1918, before a justice of the peace in Center Township, in Dade County, Missouri, to recover of defendant less than $ 50 as personal delinquent taxes. A stipulation was filed in the justice's court, which, without caption, reads as follows:

"For the purpose of the trial of this cause both in the justice's court and upon appeal to the circuit court, the following statement of facts is stipulated to be true:

"That the city of Greenfield is a city of the fourth class, duly organized under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Missouri, and is located in Dade County, Missouri, and that R. C. Divine, the relator herein, is the duly elected qualified and acting Collector of the Revenue of said city.

"That the defendant herein is an actual resident of said city, residing within the corporate limits thereof, in which place he has resided continuously for more than ten years.

"That the tax bill filed herein as the basis of this suit is regular in every way, and the amount stated therein is the amount the plaintiff ought to recover, providing it is entitled to recover at all under the statement of facts as herein agreed to, there being no contention as to the legality of said tax bill, nor of the manner of making the assessment, levy or other procedure leading up to the issuing of said tax bill, nor of the amount of said levy, there being but one and only one question of law at issue between the parties hereto, as follows, to-wit:

"The property forming the basis...

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