Albuquerque National Bank v. Perea/Opinion of the Court

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Albuquerque National Bank v. Perea by David Josiah Brewer
Opinion of the Court
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Case Syllabus
Opinion of the Court

United States Supreme Court

147 U.S. 87

ALBUQUERQUE NATIONAL BANK  v.  PEREA


The decree dismissing the original and supplemental bills must be sustained. As to the tax of 1888, the case stands upon the allegation that plaintiff's property was originally assessed at its full value, while other property was assessed 70 per cent. thereof; that it appealed to the board of equalization for a reduction; and that such tribunal reduced the valuation, but only to 85 instead of 70 per cent. It would seem that the mere statement of this was sufficient. The law of New Mexico requires property to be assessed at its cash value. Confessedly, this plaintiff's property was assessed at 15 per cent. below that value. Surely, upon the mere fact that other property happened to be assessed at 30 per cent. below the value, when this did not come from any design or systematic effort on the part of the county officials, and when the plaintiff has had a hearing as to the correct valuation, on appeal before the board of equalization, the proper tribunal for review, it cannot be that it can come into a court of equity for an injunction, or have that decision of the board of equalization reviewed in this collateral way. Stanley v. Supervisors, 121 U.S. 535, 7 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1234.

With respect to the taxes of 1889, there was no payment or tender of payment of any amount. Plaintiff seeks to avoid the necessity therefor by alleging that it is impossible to separate the legal from the illegal portions of the taxes,-an allegation which is manifestly untrue, in view of the fact that it had no difficulty in making the separation in the taxes of 1888, the assessment for which was made in a similar way, and in view of the further fact that it must have known what property it had which was subject to taxation as well as its value, and therefore the rate of taxation being fixed by law, it could, of course, have known what amount was undoubtedly due. The rule in respect to this matter is perfectly well settled in this court. In State Railroad Tax Cases, 92 U.S. 575, 616, it was fully considered. In that case it was said by Mr. Justice Miller, speaking for the court: 'It is a profitable thing for corporations or individuals whose taxes are very large to obtain a preliminary injunction as to all their taxes, contest the case through several years' litigation, and, when in the end it is found that but a small part of the tax should be permanently enjoined, submit to pay the balance. This is not equity. It is in direct violation of the first principles of equity jurisdiction. It is not sufficient to say in the bill that they are ready and willing to pay whatever may be found due. They must first pay what is conceded to be due, or what can be seen to be due on the face of the bill, or be shown by affidavits, whether conceded or not, before the preliminary injunction should be granted. The state is not to be thus tied up as to that of which there is no contest, by lumping it with that which is really contested. If the proper officer refuses to receive a part of the tax, it must be tendered, and tendered without the condition annexed of a receipt in full of all the taxes assessed.' Many other cases to like effect might be cited.

The decree will be affirmed.

Notes[edit]

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).