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State Tax Commission of State v. Phelps Dodge Corp.

Supreme Court of Arizona

April 6, 1945

THE STATE TAX COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA; THE STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA; THAD M. MOORE, D. C. O'NEIL and JOE HUNT, Members of and constituting said State Tax Commission and said State Board of Equalization; and THE COUNTY OF YAVAPAI, STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellants,
v.
PHELPS DODGE CORPORATION, a corporation, Appellee

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Yavapai. C. C. Faires, Judge.

Judgment affirmed.

Mr. Joe Conway, Attorney General, and Mr. Thomas J. Croaff, Assistant Attorney General, for Appellants.

Messrs. Ellinwood & Ross, and Mr. Norman S. Hull, of Phoenix, Arizona; Messrs. Crawford, Baker and Favour, and Mr. A. M. Crawford, for Appellee.

LaPrade, J. Stanford, C. J., and Morgan, J., concur.

OPINION

LaPrade, J.

[62 Ariz. 321] This is a puerile appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court of Yavapai County, determining that for the ad valorem tax year of 1943 the State Tax Commission had over-assessed the producing mining claims of the appellee Phelps Dodge corporation's copper mining claims in Yavapai County, commonly designated as its United Verde Branch, to the amount of $ 7,477,770, and awarding judgment against the county in the sum of $ 89,968.67, account overpayment of taxes. The company paid its taxes under protest and appealed to the Superior Court as provided for in Section 73-110,

Page 694

Arizona Code Annotated 1939. This appeal invoked the jurisdiction [62 Ariz. 322] of the Superior Court "to find the full cash value of the property and render judgment." This section requires an independent and original inquiry into the matters affecting valuation in that it expressly authorizes the trial court to consider "evidence of any matters that relate to the full cash value of the property" and directs that "Should the court find that the assessment is excessive, then the court shall find the full cash value of the property, and render judgment for appellant and against the county; . . ." State Tax Commission v. United Verde Extension Mining Co., 39 Ariz. 136, 4 P.2d 395; State Tax Commission v. Magma Copper Co., 41 Ariz. 97, 15 P.2d 961.

The record discloses that the officers of the corporation appeared before the State Tax Commission in June, 1943, and gave evidence as to the value of the producing mining claims herein involved. The minutes of the Commission dated July 8, 1943, read as follows:

"Mine Assessments

"The commission after final consideration of all mine tax statements filed in its office by producing mines, together with all other information indicating the value of said producing mines, by a vote of Chairman Moore and Member Hunt, passed and adopted the following resolution:

. . .

"Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the State Tax Commission does now determine, fix, apportion and certify for the year 1943 for the purpose of taxation the valuation of all producing patented and unpatented mining claims or groups thereof, as further described in the certificates made by this commission to the various county Boards of Supervisors, copies of which are on file in this office, and are hereby a part of these minutes, said valuations being as follows:

. . .

"Phelps Dodge Corp. (United Verde Br.) 11,463,031.00."

[62 Ariz. 323] On this resolution, Member O'Neil of the Commission voted no, and in explanation of his vote made the following statement:

"This department has reports from our own engineer on the following: (other mines not herein involved) Phelps Dodge, Verde Branch and proposed valuation in no instance conform to engineer's reports. To be able to sustain a valuation there must be some basis for same."

On August 5, 1943, the corporation, represented by a valuation engineer and its attorney, appeared before the State Tax Commission sitting as the State Board of Equalization, and protested the valuation fixed, this in writing and stating its reasons therefor. The commission by the vote of ...


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