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Maricopa County v. Trustees Arizona Lodge No. 2

Supreme Court of Arizona

July 5, 1938

MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA; GEORGE FRYE, JOHN A. FOOTE and C. W. PETERSON, as Members of and Constituting the Board of Supervisors of Maricopa County, Arizona; and JIM BRUSH, as Assessor of Maricopa County, Arizona, Appellants,
v.
TRUSTEES ARIZONA LODGE No. 2, F. & A. M., a Fraternal Organization; GRAND LODGE, KNIGHTS OF PYTHIAS OF ARIZONA; G. J. CONRAD, Guardian of the Estates of ELWIN MILLER, RICHARD MILLER and LAWRENCE MILLER, Minors; SAMUEL GRAHAM; JOHN GRAHAM; O'CONNELL BROTHERS, INC., a Corporation; LEO V. SEAMAN; H. B. ST. CLAIRE; EDMUND W. WELLS; JOHN M. WILLIAMS and BARBARA WILLIAMS, Husband and Wife; JOHN B. GANNON and EMMA B. GANNON, Husband and Wife; NEIL B. McGINNIS COMPANY, a Corporation; KORRICK DRY GOODS COMPANY, a Corporation; H. G. WATSON; COULTER MOTOR COMPANY, a Corporation; DORRIS-HEYMAN FURNITURE COMPANY, a Corporation; PACKARD PHOENIX MOTOR COMPANY, a Corporation; STUCKEY AUTO SUPPLY COMPANY, a Corporation; L. G. VINSON and B. M. PRINGLE, Doing Business as a Co-partnership Under the Name of VINSON AND PRINGLE; ARIZONA LIVESTOCK COMPANY; LLOYD B. CHRISTY as Guardian of the Estates of GEORGETTE BARSA AND GEORGE W. BARSA, Minors; ALMA GRACE SEARS and W. P. SEARS, Husband and Wife; FANNIN HARDWARE COMPANY, a Corporation; CHRIS JOHNSON; PHOENIX AUTO SUPPLY COMPANY, a Corporation. FRANCIS T. ASHBROOK; FRED L. COOLEY; L. D. CROOK; CHARLES E. GOETZ; HARVEY S. HARELSON; JOHN LANDON and MATILDA LANDON, Husband and Wife; ARIZONA COTTON GROWERS FINANCE COMPANY, a Corporation, Appellees

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa. C. C. Faires, Judge. Judgment affirmed.

Mr. John W. Corbin, County Attorney, Mr. Lin H. Orme, Jr., Deputy County Attorney Mr. Allan K. Perry, Special Counsel, for Appellants.

Messrs. Snell, Strouss & Salmon, and Mr. Terrence A. Carson, for Appellees.

OPINION

Page 956

[52 Ariz. 332] ROSS, J.

This is an action to determine whether revenue laws of the state require the owner of intangible personal property to pay taxes thereon.

The plaintiffs, residents of Maricopa county, brought the action alleging that they were not the owners of real estate but that they are the owners of mortgages on real estate, chattel mortgages, and of conditional sales contracts in Maricopa county, and that defendants, members of the board of supervisors [52 Ariz. 333] of said county, have ordered the assessor of said county to list and assess such intangibles for the tax years 1935, 1936 and 1937 and to collect the taxes for 1935 and 1936 at the rate fixed for 1935 and for 1937 at the rate for 1936. No serious contention is made as to the form of the action, both parties seemingly being anxious to have determined whether under the statutes plaintiffs' property is liable for taxes. While the relief in part asked was an injunction against the said defendants to restrain them from assessing plaintiffs' property, it may be said to be in fact an action for a declaratory judgment. We shall so treat it.

The defendants demurred to the complaint on the ground that it failed to state a cause of action. This demurrer was overruled and the defendants electing to stand thereon judgment was entered for the plaintiffs enjoining the defendants from listing for taxation plaintiffs' said intangible property, and the appeal is from such ruling.

The question is one of construction of the taxation laws of the state.

The legislature has divided property liable to taxation into real estate and interests in real estate and into personal property and has subdivided personal property into tangibles and intangibles. Section 3067, Rev. Code 1928.

It is provided by the Constitution that all property in the state, not exempt under the laws of the United States or under the state Constitution or by law enacted pursuant to the state Constitution, shall be subject to taxation, to be ascertained as provided by law. Section 2, Art. 9.

Section 3066, Revised Code of 1928, enumerates the exemptions from taxation, which are immaterial to the issue in this case.

Section 11, article 9 of the Constitution, provides that the manner, method and mode of assessing, equalizing ...


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