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Opinion of the Court.
County, 169 U. S. 421, 427, in which a statute of Oregon taxing the interest of a mortgagee in real estate was adjudged valid, although the owner of the mortgage was a non-resident." In the latter case the subject was much considered, and Mr. Justice Gray, delivering the opinion of the court, said: “The authority of every State to tax all property, real and personal, within its jurisdiction, is unquestionable. McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 429. Personal property, as this court has declared again and again, may be taxed, either at the domicil of its owner, or at the place where the property is situated, even if the owner is neither a citizen nor a resident of the State which imposes the tax. Tappan v. Merchants' Bank, 19 Wall. 490, 499; State Railroad Tax Cases, 92 U. S. 575, 607; Coe v. Errol, 116 U. S. 517, 524; Pullman's Car Co. v. Pennsylvania, 141 U. S. 18, 22, 27.”
Accepting the views of the state court in relation to the state statutes and proceedings thereunder, and concluding that the Constitution of the United States did not operate to prohibit the exercise of the power to tax these investments, it follows that the Circuit Court did not err in sustaining the validity of the taxation. But it is further contended that, as Mrs. Bristol was a non-resident, the power to tax could be exercised only as against the very property taxed; that these assessments did not constitute judgments in personam; and that judgment against ber estate could not, therefore, be rendered upon them. The state statute provided that claims for taxes should be preferred to ordinary debts, (Stat. 1894, c. 45, $ 4529,) and, as has been seen, the Supreme Court has decided that, "for the purpose of proof and payment out of the estate, a personal tax is a debt.” The court, for that purpose, so treated taxes, but not as being debts in the usual acceptation of the term. The obligation to contribute to the support of government in return for the protection and advantages afforded by government is not dependent on contract, but on the exercise of the public will as demanded by the public welfare.
By the laws of Minnesota, moneys, credits and other personal property were required to be listed, either by the owner or his agent; provisions were made for notice; for action by the as
Opinion of the Court.
sessor in case of failure to list; for a board of review, meeting at a specified time; for the delivery of lists (in tax books) to the county treasurers, who were duly authorized to receive and col. lect the taxes named therein; that personal property taxes unpaid on the 1st of March next after they became due should be deemned delinquent; for the filing of delinquent lists in the appropriate office; for issue of warrant; for the distraint of goods and chattels; for personal judgment on service of citation; and for proceeding against non-residents by attachment and publication of notice. (Gen. Stat. 1894, c. 11; Gen. Stat. 1878, c. 11.)
By section 1623, Gen. Stat. 1894, (Gen. Stat. 1878, c. 11, $ 105,) it was provided that: “ The taxes assessed upon personal property shall be a lien upon the personal property of the person assessed from and after the time the tax books are received by the county treasurer.”
Thus it appears that on the return of the delinquent tax list, the amount of the tax could be collected by distraint of goods and chattels, or by proceedings by attachment and publication, judgment in which would operate on the property taken in attachment, by garnishment or otherwise. There was no want of due process in all this, for while the non-resident came under the obligation to pay, appropriate notice and opportunity to contest were afforded. And if a personal action were brought and service obtained, the defendant would not be cut off from any competent defence, as the delinquent list would not necessarily be held conclusive. In this case no defence on the merits appears to have been relied on except the want of situs.
Dewey v. Des Moines, 173 U. S. 193, cited by plaintiff in error, is not to the contrary. What was ruled there was that a citizen of one State cannot be cast in a personal judgment in another State on an assessment levied there on real estate for a local improvement, without service on him, or voluntary appearance, or some action on his part amounting to consent to the jurisdiction.
This brings us to consider the plea of the statute of limitations interposed as to the taxes for the years 1883 to 1888 inclusive.
Mrs. Bristol died in August, 1894; the will was admitted to
Opinion of the Court.
probate by the probate court of Ramsay County, October 19, 1891; Washington County filed its claim for taxes in that court April 18, 1895; the statute of limitations provide 1 that actions
upon a liability created by statute” should be barred by the lapse of six years. Stat. 1894, c. 66, § 5136. This statute applied to actions brought in the name of or for the benefit of the State. $ 5142. The right to proceed to enforce these taxes commenced the first of April of the year following that for which they were levied. If this bad been a personal action brought against Mrs. Bristol in her lifetime, the plea of the statute was open to be defeated by the fact of her non-residence, (§ 5145,) but treating the filing of the delinquent lists as proceedings in rem, it is contended that the statute applied.
In County of Redwood v. Winona & St. Peter Land Co., 40 Minnesota, 512, the statute of limitations of six years was held to apply to proceedings to enforce the collection of taxes against real estate, and to the same effect are Mower County v. Crane, 51 Minnesota, 201; Pine County v. Lambert, 57 Minnesota, 203; State v. Norton, 59 Minnesota, 424. In the first cited case it appeared that certain lands having been taxed, were in 1883 assessed and a tax levied for each year for fifteen years prior to that time. On an application for judgment against the land it was objected that the statute of limitations had run as to all taxes where the application for judgment could have been made six years or more prior to the time it was made, if the land had been taxed at the time it should have been taxed under the statute, and the court sustained the objection. It was held that by statute in Minnesota, the statute of limitations ran against the State the same as against an individual; that a tax was a liability created by statute; that although statutes of limitation may in terms be applicable only to actions, they are to be construed liberally and applied to all proceedings that are analogous in their nature to actions "so as to make the right sought to be enforced, and not a form of procedure, the test as to whether or not the statute applies. Upon this principle they are held to apply to all claims which may be the subject of actions, however presented; also that they furnish a rule for cases analogous in their subject matter, but for which a remedy unknown to the
Opinion of the Court.
common law has been provided. They have also been applied by analogy to proceedings in admiralty, to claims in bankruptcy, or in probate court, although not within the strict letter of the statute.
A tax being a liability created by statute, and the filing of the delinquent list being, as the statute declares, and as we bave held, the institution of an action against the land for the recovery of the tax appearing against it in the list; and, inasmuch as the nature of the right sought to be enforced, and not the mode of procedure, is the test - we are unable to
, ,see why it should make any difference whether the action is in rem or in personam,-against the property instead of against its owner. We have therefore come to the conclusion that these proceedings are, within the meaning of the statute, 'an action upon a liability created by statute,' and are barred as to all taxes for the enforcement of which such proceedings might have been instituted more than six years before the commencement of the present proceedings, had such taxes been assessed in the proper year."
The estate of Mrs. Bristol is liable to respond to this claim because these taxes were lawfully levied in respect of her property situated in Minnesota when the levies were made; and the statute gave a lien for them against all her personal property within the jurisdiction. Collection could have been enforced by distraint, or by attachment, and in either case could only have been made out of the property sequestered. In the pending proceeding then which seeks to subject assets of the estate within the jurisdiction to payment of the claim it seems to us the ruling of the Supreme Court is applicable. In other words, the filing of the delinquent lists had reference to property, and a personal judgment could not have been taken thereon without service of citation.
Ilence in a subsequent proceeding to enforce collection from property of the decedent, the rule which was applied to proceedings to obtain judgment against real estate would appear to be applicable in principle. If the county of Redwood bad lost its right to enforce the assessments, (supposing they had been made when they should have been,) by lapse of time, the county
Statement of the Case.
of Washington may well be held subject to a similar deprivation in respect of the allowance of a portion of its claim. Reversed, and the cause remanded with direction to exclude
the taxes for the years 1883 to 1888, inclusive, and to reniler judgment for the taxes and penalties after the latter year, with interest on the aggregate sum thereof from June 29, 1898, the date of the judgment below.
MR. JUSTICE WHITE concurred on the ground of stare decisis.
UNION REFRIGERATOR TRANSIT COMPANY v.
ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF UTAH.
No. 207. Argued March 21, 1900.–Decided April 9, 1900.
Cars of the Union Refrigerator Transit Company, a corporation of Ken
tucky, engaged in furuishing to shippers refrigerator cars for the transportation of perishable freight, and which were employed in the State of Utah for that purpose, were subject to taxation by that State.
The Union Refrigerator Transit Company filed its bill in the District Court in and for Salt Lake County, State of Utah, against Stephen H. Lynch, treasurer of Salt Lake County and collector of taxes therein, alleging: “That it is and was during all the times hereinafter mentioned a corporation duly organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Kentucky ; that its principal office and place of business is in the city of Louisville, in said State, and was and is engaged exclusively in the business of furnishing to shippers refrigerator cars for the transportation of perishable freight over the vari. ous lines of railroads throughout the United States and of soliciting shipments for such cars and giving to the said cars needful attention at various points in transit; that the said cars are and were during the said times the sole property of the plaintiff, and are not and were not during any of the said time allotted,