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AGO 1964 No. 89 - March 05, 1964
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington


TAXATION ‑- ASSESSMENT OF PROPERTY ‑- STORAGE OF COMMODITIES IN WASHINGTON ‑- PRODUCTS TO BE SHIPPED OUT OF WASHINGTON ‑- STATUTES GOVERNING ‑- NO IMPLIED AMENDMENT.

Sections 13-16, chapter 28, Laws of 1963, Ex. Sess. (RCW 84.36.171 et seq.) do not repeal by implication RCW 84.36.140et seq.  The tax exemption may be claimed by following the provisions of the act which are applicable.

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                                                                   March 5, 1964

Honorable Richard A. Nelle
Prosecuting Attorney
Whatcom County
Court House, 311 Grand Avenue
Bellingham, Washington

                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 63-64 No. 89

Dear Sir:

            By a previously acknowledged letter you have asked whether RCW 84.36.140 ‑ 84.36.162 has been impliedly repealed by the 1963 amendment to RCW 84.36.171.

            We answer your question in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 84.36.140 ‑ 84.36.162 were first enacted as chapter 67, Laws of 1939. RCW 84.36.140 reads:

            "All grains and flour, fruit and fruit products, vegetables and vegetable products, and fish and fish products, while being transported to or held in storage in a public or private warehouse shall be exempt from taxation if actually shipped to points outside the state on or before April 30th of the first year for which they would otherwise be taxable: Provided, That proof of shipment be furnished as required in RCW 84.36.150."

            RCW 84.36.150 provides:

            "The county assessor shall list and assess all such grains and flour, fruit and fruit products, vegetables and vegetable products, and fish and fish products as of January 1st of each year, without regard to any average inventory; but shall  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] cancel any such assessment in whole or in proportionate part upon receipt of sufficient documentary proof that the property so assessed was actually shipped to points outside the state on or before April 30th of such year:  Provided, That no such cancellation shall be made unless such proof be furnished to the county assessor before June 1st of such year:  Provided further, That any such assessment of grain shall also be subject to cancellation as provided in this section if sufficient documentary proof be so furnished that the grain so assessed was milled into flour and such flour was actually shipped to points outside the state on or before April 30th of such year."

            The remaining sections of the act define the terms used, the effect on other statutes, and the legislative purpose.

            Prior to the 1963 amendment RCW 84.36.171 (chapter 66, Laws of 1939) read:

            "Goods, wares, raw furs, and merchandise manufactured or produced in any of the states, territories, or possessions of the United States or foreign countries and brought into this state for the purpose of transportation or sale through and to points without the state, while being so transported, or while held in storage in a public or private warehouse awaiting such transportation, shall be considered and held to be property in transit and nontaxable if actually shipped to points outside the state on or before April 30th of the first year for which they would otherwise be taxable.  The county assessor shall list and assess all such goods, wares, and merchandise as of January 1st of each year, without regard to any average inventory, but shall cancel any such assessment in whole or in proportionate part upon receipt of sufficient documentary proof that the identical property so assessed was actually shipped to points outside the state on or before April 30th of such year; but no such cancellation shall be made unless proof is furnished to the county assessor before June 1st of such year.  A sale of or transfer of title to any such property, while being so transported or held in storage, shall not operate to defeat the intent or purpose of this section."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            The two acts were quite similar.  The date for proving the exemption and the date for shipping the property out of the state were identical. In referring to these statutes the court said inHalferty & Co. v. King County, 30 Wn.2d 561, 192 P.2d 736 (1948):

            "We are convinced that these two enactments disclose the common purpose of encouraging the storage of commodities in the state of Washington, whether they be salmon from Alaska, sugar from Hawaii, or any other goods, wares, or merchandise manufactured or produced in any of the territories and possessions outside the boundaries of the United States which would already have entered into the stream of interstate commerce before arrival in this state; or whether they be certain products of this state which are destined shortly to enter into that stream.  The legislature was clearly trying to work out identical procedures; . . ."

            Obviously, the court in the Halferty case, supra, did not view the statutes here in question as being in any way inconsistent.  The amendment of statutes by the legislature following the court's opinion deals only with procedures and does not create any conflict.

            RCW 84.36.171 was amended by § 13, chapter 28, Laws of 1963, Ex. Sess., and now provides:

            "Goods, wares, raw furs and merchandise manufactured or produced in any of thestates,1/ territories, or possessions of the United States or foreign countries and brought into this state for the purpose of transportation or sale through and to points without the state, and identified at the time the affidavit is filed as property ultimately destined for out-of-state shipment, while being so transported, or while held in storage in a public or private warehouse awaiting such transportation, shall be considered and held to be property in transit and nontaxable if actually shipped to points outside the state.  The county assessor shall list and assess all such goods, wares and merchandise as of January 1st of each year, without regard to any average inventory, but shall cancel  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] any such assessment in whole or in proportionate part upon receipt of the affidavit of exemption as set forth in section 14 of this amendatory act.  A sale of or transfer of title to any such property, while being so transported or held in storage, shall not operate to defeat the intent or purpose of this section."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            Chapter 28 also added three new sections to RCW which implement RCW 84.36.171.  Section 14, the only one material here, provides:

            "Any owner or agent claiming property in transit as defined in RCW 84.36.171 as of January 1st of any year shall file with his listing of property as provided by RCW 84.40.040 an affidavit of exemption in such form and manner as prescribed by the state tax commission which shall adequately describe the nature and amount of such property.  Such property for which an exemption is sought must be shipped to an out-of-state destination not later than December 31st of the year for which the exemption is claimed."

            Other than changes in certain procedures to be followed for claiming and proving the exemption, the principal effect of chapter 28 was in changing the date by which the property had to be shipped out of the state from April 30th to December 31st.  For the first time it can make a material difference to some taxpayers which enactment is applicable.

            Chapter 28, Laws of 1963, Ex. Sess., did not expressly repeal RCW 84.36.140,et seq., nor, in our opinion, is there a repeal by implication.  As was said inAbel v. Diking & Drainage Imp. Dist., 19 Wn.2d 356, 142 P.2d 1017 (1943):

            "Repeals by implication are ordinarily not favored in law, and a later act will not operate to repeal an earlier act except in such instances where the later act covers the entire subject matter of the earlier legislation, is complete in itself, and is evidently intended to supersede the prior legislation on the subject, or unless the two acts are so clearly inconsistent with, and repugnant to, each other that they cannot, by a fair and reasonable construction, be reconciled and both given effect. . . ."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 5]]

            See, also,State Etc. v. Spanaway Water Dist., 38 Wn.2d 393, 229 P.2d 532 (1951);Taylor v. Greenler, 54 Wn.2d 682, 344 P.2d 515 (1959).

            As stated earlier, the court in effect concluded that the acts in question were not inconsistent or repugnant to each other. Halferty & Co. v. King County, 30 Wn.2d 561, 192 P.2d 736 (1948), supra.

            Therefore we must conclude that §§ 13-16, chapter 28, Laws of 1963, Ex. Sess., do not repeal, by implication, RCW 84.36.140 et seq.  The tax exemption may be claimed by following the provisions of the act which are applicable.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

HENRY W. WAGER
Assistant Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/The word "states" appears for the first time in § 3, chapter 168, Laws of 1961.

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