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AGO 1951 No. 178 - November 28, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

TAXATION ‑- PERSONAL PROPERTY ‑- ADVANCE PAYMENT

Personal property taxes are known and designated as taxes of the year in which they become due, even though liability therefor may be asserted against property of the person who owned such personalty on the first day of January of the preceding year.  What is described as "Advance Tax 1951 Assessment‑-Tax for Year 1952" is probably a title used by the county treasurer in billing taxes for early payment under his powers to make jeopardy collection.

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                                                               November 28, 1951

Mr. Hugh H. Evans
Prosecuting Attorney
Spokane County
Spokane 11, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 178

Attention:  John E. Calbom

Dear Sir:

            This is in reply to your letter of September 26, 1951.

            Your question is paraphrased as follows:

            Where there is a sale in September 1951 of personal property subject to personal property tax, is the so-called "Advance Tax 1951 Assessment ‑ Tax for Year 1952" the personal property tax for the calendar year 1951 or for the year 1952?

            Our conclusion may be stated as follows:

            Personal property taxes are known and designated as taxes of the year in which they become due, even though liability therefor may be asserted against property of the person who owned such personalty on the first day of January of the preceding year.  What is described as "Advance Tax 1951 Assessment ‑ Tax for Year 1952" is probably a title used by the county treasurer in billing taxes for early payment under his powers to make jeopardy collection.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Personal property within the State of Washington is listed and assessed every year with reference to its value and ownership on the first day of January of the year in which it is assessed.  RCW 84.40.020 (Rem. Rev. Stat. Supp. 11112).  However, the taxes resulting from such listing and assessment are not due until February 15 of the following year.  RCW 84.56.070 (sec. 11247 Rem. Supp. 1949).  For the purpose of designation, taxes are known and spoken of as taxes for the year in which they are due; taxes assessed and levied in 1951 are called the "1952 taxes."  RCW 84.08.150 (Rem. Rev. Stat. Supp. 11112-2).  The 1952 personal property taxes may be collected from any real or personal property of the person assessed; that is, the owner of such personal property on January 1, 1951.  RCW 84.60.030 (sec. 11265 Rem. Supp. 1943).  Under the provisions of RCW 84.56.100 (sec. 11247 Rem. Supp. 1949) and RCW 84.56.110 (sec. 11250 Rem. Supp. 1949) the person assessed may be held so liable even in advance of the date on which the taxes on such property would otherwise become due.

            We enclose our opinion to the Prosecuting Attorney of Adams County, date May 21, 1951 [[Opinion No. 51-53-44]], in anticipation of any question you may have as to the possible proration of the 1952 taxes between the vendor and purchaser.  This opinion also raises the question of whether, in the absence of an agreement between the vendor and purchaser, the vendor could be held responsible as between the two for taxes on personal property sold during the year in which the assessment and levy is made.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

WILLIAM G. JENKINS
Assistant Attorney General

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