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Bob Ferguson

AGO 1952 No. 316 -
Attorney General Smith Troy


Delinquent taxes on property annexed to a city which were levied for county road district purposes, must be paid into the city treasury and placed in the street fund.

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                                                                   May 29, 1952

Honorable John C. Merkel
Prosecuting Attorney
Kitsap County
307 Dietz Building
Bremerton, Washington                                                                                                                                                 Cite as: AGO 51-53 No. 316

Dear Sir:

            Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of May 7, 1952, in which you request our opinion as to whether, under section 35.13.270 of the Revised Code of Washington, delinquent taxes levied on property within territory which is a part of the county road district must be paid to a city and placed into the street fund when the territory has been annexed to a city.

            It is our conclusion that delinquent taxes levied by a county within a road district which is annexed to the city before collection must be paid to the city and placed in the city street fund.


            RCW 35.13.270 is a portion of section 5, chapter 248, Laws of 1951.  It reads:

            "Whenever any territory is annexed to a city which is part of a road district of the county and road district taxes have been levied but not collected on any property within the annexed territory  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] the same shall when collected by the county treasurer be paid to the city and by the city placed in the city street fund."

            The language of this statute makes no exception of delinquent taxes but refers to all taxes which have been levied and are uncollected.  This statute, which was enacted in 1951, has not been passed upon by the courts as to its conformity to section 5, Article VII, which reads:

            "No tax shall be levied except in pursuance of law; and every law imposing a tax shall state distinctly the object of the same, to which only it shall be applied."

            Assuming, however, that the act meets constitutional objections we see nothing ambiguous in the language that has been used and therefore there is no occasion for construction.  Where the language of the statute is unambiguous the actual language employed must be accepted notwithstanding that it may appear to have been used inadvertently.  Shelton Hotel Company v. Bates, 4 Wn. (2d) 498, 104 P. (2d) 478; State ex rel. Blankenship v. Gaines, 136 Wash. 610, 241 Pac. 12;In re Eaton's Estate, 170 Wash. 280, 16 P. (2d) 433; andErnst v. Kootros, 196 Wash. 138, 82 P. (2d) 126.

            Since the language of the statute made no distinction between current taxes and delinquent taxes which are levied and uncollected, we must conclude that both types of taxes must be paid into the city treasury and placed in the city street fund.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General