ASSESSMENT - Black's Law Dictionary

What is ASSESSMENT? Definition of ASSESSMENT in Black's Law Dictionary

In a general sense, the process of ascertaining and adjusting the shares respectively to be contributed by several persons towards a common beneficial object according to the benefit received.

The listing and valuation of property for the purpose of apportioning a tax upon it, either according to value alone or in proportion to benefit received. Also determining the share of a tax to be paid by each of many persons; or apportioning the entire tax to be levied among the different taxable persons, establishing the proportion due from each. Town of Albertville v. Hooper, 196 Ala. 642, 72 So. 258. Northwestern Imp. Co. v. Henneford, 184 Wash. 502, 51 P.2d 1083, 1085.Iowa Nat. Bank. v. Stewart, 214 Iowa 1229, 232 N.W. 445, 451. It fixes the liability of the taxpayer and ascertains the facts and furnishes the data for the proper preparation of the tax rolls. Dallas Joint Stock Land Bank of Dallas v. State, Tex.Civ.App., 118 S.W.2d 941, 942.

"Assessment" and "levy" are frequently used interchangeably. Huyler v. Huyler's, 44 N.Y.S.2d 255, 257. Though properly speaking it does not include the levy of taxes. Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Patrick Cudahy Family Co., C.C.A.7, 102 F.2d 930, 932. Assessment is also popularly used as synonym for taxation in general, the authorative imposition of a rate or duty to be paid, but in its technical signification it is only taxation for a special purpose or local improvement, local taxation, as distinguished from general taxation ; taxation on principle of apportionment according to the relation between burden and benefit; whole taxes are impositions for purpose of general revenue. Collister v. Kovanda, 51 Ohio App. 43, 199 N.E. 477, 478; Home Owners' Loan Corporation v. Tyson, 133 Ohio St. 184, 12 N.E.2d 478, 480; Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Town of Ahoskie, 192 N.C. 258, 134 S.E. 653, 654.

An assessment is doubtless a tax, but the term implies something more; it implies a tax of a particular kind, predicated upon the principle of equivalents, or benefits, which are peculiar to the persons or property charged therewith, and which are said to be assessed or appraised, according to the measure or proportion of such equivalents; whereas a simple tax is imposed for the purpose of supporting the government generally, without reference to any advantage which may be supposed to accrue to the persons taxed. Taxes must be levied, without discrimination, equally upon all the subjects of property ; whilst assessments are only levied upon lands, or some other specific property, the subjects of the supposed benefits; to repay which the assessment is levied. In re Walker River Irr. Dist., 44 Nev. 321, 195 P. 327, 330.

Installments of the money subscribed for shares of stock, called for from the subscribers by the directors, from time to time as the company requires money, are called "assessments," or, in England, "calls." Water Co. v. Superior Court, 92 Cal. 47, 28 Pac. 54, 27 Am.St.Rep. 91; Spangler v. Railroad Co., 21 Ill. 278; Stewart Publishing Co., 1 Wash.St. 521, 20 Pac. 605. While the terms "call" and "assessment" are generally used synonymously, the latter term applies with peculiar aptness to contributions above the par value of stock or the subscription liability of the stockholders; Porter v. Northern Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 36 N.D. 199, 161 N.W. 1012, 1014; whereas "call" or "installments" means action of the board of directors demanding payment of all or portion of unpaid subscriptions; Seyberth v. American Commander Min. & Mill. Co., 42 Idaho, 254, 245 P. 392, 395.

It has been said, however, that the superadded liability of stockholders to creditors, is not in a true sense an "assessment," but is a "statutory liability." Leach v. Arthur Say. Bank, 203 Iowa, 1052, 213 N.W. 772, 773.

Fixing the amount of damages to which the successful party in a suit is entitled after an interlocutory judgment has been taken; also the name given to the determination of the sum which a corporation proposing to take lands for a public use must pay 4satisfaction of the demand proved or the value taken.

An apportionment made in general average upon the various articles and interests at risk, according to their value at the time and place of being in safety, for contribution for damage and sacrifices purposely made, and expenses incurred for escape from impending common peril. 2 Phil. Ins. c. xv.

A sum specially levied in mutual benefit insurance upon a fixed and definite plan within the limit of the company's or society's fundamental law of organization to pay losses, or losses and expenses incurred, being to a certain degree substantially the equivalent of premiums. Beaver State Merchants' Mut. Fire Ins. Ass'n v. Smith, 97 Or. 579, 192 P. 798, 800. The periodical demands made by a mutual insurance company, under its charter and by-laws, upon the makers of premium notes, are also denominated "assessments." Hill v. Insurance Co., 129 Mich. 141, 88 N.W. 392. Meaning "premiums," Ancient Order of United Workmen of Kansas v. Hobbs, 136 Kan. 708, 18 P.2d 561, 562; and being the consideration for the insurance contracts. Downing v. School Dist. of City of Erie, 297 Pa. 474, 147 A. 239, 240.

"Assessment" as applied to labor on mining claims is universally understood to mean the annual labor required by Rev.St.U.S. § 2324 (30 U.S. C.A. § 28), in order to hold the right to the possession of the claim after a discovery and complete location has been made. Smith v. Union Oil Co., 166 Cal. 217, 135 P. 966, 969. See Assessment Work.


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