City of Watertown, NY
Jefferson County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 7-1-1937 by L.L. No. 1-1937]

§ 271-1 Imposition of tax.

[Amended 5-31-1938 by L.L. No. 1-1938; 7-3-1939 by L.L. No. 1-1939; 7-1-1940 by L.L. No. 1-1940; 6-30-1941 by L.L. No. 1-1941; 6-29-1942 by L.L. No. 3-1942; 7-1-1944 by L.L. No. 1-1944; 7-1-1945 by L.L. No. 1-1945; 7-1-1946 by L.L. No. 1-1946; 7-1-1947 by L.L. No. 1-1947; 7-1-1948 by L.L. No. 2-1948; 7-1-1949 by L.L. No. 2-1949; 7-1-1950 by L.L. No. 2-1950]
A. 
Pursuant to the authority granted by § 20-b of the General City Law of the State of New York and further authority of Chapter 381 of the Laws of 1950, a tax equal to 1% of the gross income from July 1, 1950, until rescinded by action of this Council is hereby imposed upon every utility doing business in the City of Watertown which is subject to the provisions of the State Department of Public Service, except motor carriers or brokers subject to such supervision of Article 3-B[1] of the Public Service Law, and a tax equal to 1% of its gross income is hereby imposed for the same period upon every other utility doing business in the City of Watertown, which taxes shall have application only within the territorial limits of the City of Watertown and shall be in addition to any and all taxes and fees imposed by any other provisions of law for the same period. Such taxes shall not be imposed on any transaction originating or consummated outside of the territorial limits of the City of Watertown, notwithstanding that some act is necessarily performed with respect to such transaction within such limits.
[1]
Editor's Note: Article 3-B was repealed by the Laws of 1970, c. 267, § 5, effective 3-1-1971. See now Transportation Law, § 240 et seq.
B. 
Pursuant to the authority granted by § 20-b of the General City Law of the State of New York, as amended by Chapter 843 of the Laws of 1955, omnibus corporations created and operating subject to the supervision of the State Department of Public Service under Article 3-A[2] of the Public Service Law, solely within the City of Watertown, are hereby declared to be exempt from such tax as was imposed by this article.
[Added 4-9-1956 by L.L. No. 1-1956]
[2]
Editor's Note: Article 3-A was repealed by the Laws of 1970, c. 267, § 5, effective 3-1-1971. See now Transportation Law, § 150 et seq.

§ 271-2 Definitions.

[Amended 6-30-1941 by L.L. No. 1-1941]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
GROSS INCOME
Includes receipts received in or by reason of any sale, conditional or otherwise, made (except sales hereinafter referred to with respect to which it is provided that profits from the sale shall be included in "gross income") or service rendered for ultimate consumption or use by the purchaser in the City of Watertown, including cash, credits and property of any kind or nature (whether or not such sale is made or such service is rendered for profit), without any deduction therefrom on account of the cost of the property sold, the cost of the materials used, labor or services or other costs, interest or discount paid or any other expense whatsoever; also profits from the sale of securities; also profits from the sale of real property growing out of the ownership or use of or interest in such property; also profit from the sale of personal property (other than property of a kind which would properly be included in the inventory of the taxpayer if on hand at the close of the period for which a return is made); also receipts from interest, dividends and royalties derived from sources within the City of Watertown other than such as are received from a corporation, a majority of whose voting stock is owned by the taxpaying utility, without any deduction therefrom for any expenses whatsoever incurred in connection with the receipt thereof; and also profits from any transaction, (except sales for resale and rentals) within the City of Watertown whatsoever.
GROSS OPERATING INCOME
Includes receipts received in or by reason of any sale, conditional or otherwise, made for ultimate consumption or use by the purchaser of gas, electricity, steam, water, refrigeration, telephony or telegraphy or in or by reason of the furnishing for such consumption or use of gas, electric, steam, water, refrigerator, telephone or telegraph service in the City of Watertown, including cash, credits and property of any kind or nature, without any deduction therefrom on account of the cost of the property sold, the cost of materials used, labor or services or other costs, interest or discount paid or any other expenses whatsoever.
PERSON
Persons, corporations, companies, associations, joint-stock associations, copartnerships, estates, assignees of rents, any person acting in a fiduciary capacity or any other entity and persons, their assignees, lessees, trustees or receivers appointed by any court whatsoever or by any other means, except the state, municipalities, political and civil subdivisions of the state or municipality and public districts.
UTILITY
Includes every person subject to the supervision of either division of the State Department of Public Service, except persons engaged in the business of operating or leasing sleeping and parlor railroad cars or of operating railroads other than street surface, rapid transit, subway and elevated railroads, and also includes every person, (whether or not such person is subject to such supervision), who sells gas, electricity, steam, water, refrigeration or telegraphy delivered through mains, pipes or wires or furnishes gas, electric, steam, water, refrigerator, telephone or telegraph service by means of mains, pipes or wires, regardless of whether such activities are the main business of such person or are only incidental thereto or of whether use is made of the public streets.

§ 271-3 Record.

[Amended 10-21-1991 by L.L. No. 6-1991]
Every utility subject to tax under this article shall keep such records of its business and in such form as the City Comptroller may require, and such records shall be preserved for a period of three years, except that the City Comptroller may consent to their destruction within that period or may require that they be kept longer.

§ 271-4 Filing of returns.

[Amended 7-3-1939 by L.L. No. 1-1939; 6-30-1941 by L.L. No. 1-1941; 6-29-1942 by L.L. No. 3-1942; 10-21-1991 by L.L No. 6-1991]
Every utility subject to tax hereunder shall file, on or before September 25, December 25, March 25 and June 25, a return for the three calendar months preceding each such return date, including any period for which the tax imposed hereby or by any amendment hereof is effective, each of which returns shall state the gross income or gross operating income for the period covered by each such return. Returns shall be filed with the City Comptroller on a form to be furnished by him for such purpose and shall contain such other data, information or matter as the City Comptroller may require to be included therein. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, any utility whose average gross income or average gross operating income, as the case may be, for the aforesaid three-month periods is less than $1,500 may file its returns for such periods on June 25, 1939; June 25, 1940; June 25, 1942; June 25, 1943; and June 25, 1944, respectively. The City Comptroller, in order to ensure payment of the tax imposed, may require at any time a further or supplemental return, which shall contain any data that may be specified by the City Comptroller. Every return shall have annexed thereto an affidavit of the head of the utility making the same or of the copartner thereof or of a principal officer of the corporation, if such business is conducted by a corporation, to the effect that the statements contained therein are true.

§ 271-5 Payment of tax.

[Amended 10-21-1991 by L.L. No. 6-1991]
At the time of filing a return as required by this article, each utility shall pay to the City Comptroller the tax imposed by this article for the period covered by such return. Such tax shall be due and payable at the time of filing the return or, if a return is not filed when due, on the last day on which the return is required to be filed.

§ 271-6 Procedure upon failure to file sufficient return.

[Amended 7-3-1939 by L.L. No. 1-1939; 10-21-1991 by L.L. No. 6-1991]
In case any return filed pursuant to this article shall be insufficient or unsatisfactory to the City Comptroller, and if a corrected or sufficient return is not filed within 20 days after the same is required by notice from the City Comptroller, or if no return is made for any period, the City Comptroller shall determine the amount of tax due from such information as he is able to obtain and, if necessary, may estimate the tax on the basis of external indices or otherwise. The City Comptroller shall give notice of such determination to the person liable for such tax. Such determination shall finally and irrevocably fix such tax unless the person against whom it is assessed shall, within 30 days after the giving of notice of such determination, apply to the City Comptroller for a hearing or unless the City Comptroller, of his own motion, shall reduce the same. After such hearing, the City Comptroller shall give notice of his decision to the person liable for the tax. The decision of the City Comptroller may be reviewed by a proceeding under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Act of the State of New York, if application therefor is made within 30 days after the giving of notice of such decision. An order to review such decision shall not be granted unless the amount of any tax sought to be reviewed, with interest and penalties thereon, if any, shall be first deposited with the City Comptroller and an undertaking filed with him in such amount and with such sureties as a Justice of the Supreme Court shall approve, to the effect that if such proceeding is dismissed or the tax confirmed, the applicant will pay all costs and charges which may accrue in the prosecution of such proceeding, or, at the option of the applicant, such undertaking may be in a sum sufficient to cover the tax, interest, penalties, costs and charges aforesaid, in which event the applicant shall not be required to pay such tax, interest and penalties as a condition precedent to the granting of such order.

§ 271-7 Notice.

Any notice authorized or required under the provisions of this article may be given by mailing the same to the person for whom it is intended in a postpaid envelope addressed to such person at the address given by him in the last return filed by him under this article or, if no return has been filed, then to such address as may be obtainable. The mailing of such notice shall be presumptive evidence of the receipt of the same by the person to whom addressed. Any period of time which is determined according to the provisions of this article by the giving of notice shall commence to run from the date of mailing of such notice.

§ 271-8 Penalty for late payment.

[Amended 10-21-1991 by L.L. No. 6-1991]
Any person failing to file a return or corrected return or to pay any tax or any portion thereof within the time required by this article shall be subject to a penalty of 5% of the amount of tax due, plus 1% of such tax for each month of delay or fraction thereof, except the first month after such return was required to be filed or such tax became due, but the City Comptroller, if satisfied that the delay was excusable, may remit all or any portion of such penalty.

§ 271-9 Refunds.

[Amended 7-3-1939 by L.L. No. 1-1939; 10-21-1991 by L.L. No. 6-1991]
If, within one year from the payment of any tax or penalty, the payer thereof shall make application for a refund thereof and the City Comptroller or the court shall determine that such tax or penalty or any portion thereof was erroneously or illegally collected, the City Comptroller shall refund the amount so determined. For like cause and within the same period a refund may be so made on the initiative of the City Comptroller. However, no refund shall be made of a tax or penalty paid pursuant to a determination of the City Comptroller as hereinbefore provided unless the City Comptroller, after a hearing as hereinbefore provided or of his own motion, shall have reduced the tax or penalty or it shall have been established in a proceeding under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Act of the State of New York that such determination was erroneous or illegal. All refunds shall be made out of moneys collected under this article. An application for a refund, made as hereinbefore provided, shall be deemed an application for the revision of any tax or penalty complained of, and the City Comptroller may receive additional evidence with respect thereto. After making this determination, the City Comptroller shall give notice thereof to the person interested, and he shall be entitled to an order to review such determination under said Article 78, subject to the provisions hereinbefore contained relating to the granting of such an order.

§ 271-10 Tax to constitute part of operating costs.

The tax imposed by this article shall be charged against and paid by the utility and shall not be added as a separate item to bills rendered by the utility to customers or others but shall constitute a part of the operating costs of such utility.

§ 271-11 Action to enforce payment.

[Amended 10-21-1991 by L.L. No. 6-1991]
Whenever any person shall fail to pay any tax or penalty imposed by this article, the Corporation Counsel shall, upon the request of the City Comptroller, bring an action to enforce payment of the same. The proceeds of any judgment obtained in any such action shall be paid to the City Comptroller. Each such tax and penalty shall be a lien upon the property of the person liable to pay the same in the same manner and to the same extent that the tax and penalty imposed by § 186-a of the Tax Law is made a lien.

§ 271-12 Powers of City Comptroller.

[Amended 10-21-1991 by L.L. No. 6-1991]
In the administration of this article, the City Comptroller shall have the power to make such reasonable rules and regulations, not inconsistent with law, as may be necessary for the exercise of his powers and the performance of his duties and to prescribe the form of blanks, reports and other records relating to the administration and enforcement of the tax, to take testimony and proofs under oath with reference to any matter within the line of his official duty under this article and to subpoena and require the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers and documents.

§ 271-13 Secrecy provisions; penalties for offenses.

A. 
Except in accordance with the proper judicial order or as otherwise provided by law, it shall be unlawful for the City Comptroller or any agent, clerk or employee of the City of Watertown to divulge or make known, in any manner, the amount of gross income or gross operating income or any particulars set forth or disclosed in any return under this article. The officer charged with the custody of such returns shall not be required to produce any of them or evidence of anything contained in them in any action or proceeding in any court, except on behalf of the City of Watertown in an action or proceeding under the provisions of this article or on behalf of the State Tax Commission in an action or proceeding under the provisions of the Tax Law of the State of New York or on behalf of any party to any action or proceeding under the provisions of this article when the returns or facts shown thereby are directly involved in such action or proceeding, in either of which events, the court may require the production of and may admit in evidence so much of said returns or of the facts shown thereby as are pertinent to the action or proceeding and no more. Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit the delivery to a person or his duly authorized representative of a copy of any return filed by him nor to prohibit the publication of statistics so classified as to prevent the identification of particular returns and the items thereof or the publication of delinquent lists showing the names of persons who have failed to pay their taxes at the time and in the manner provided for by this article, together with any relevant information which, in the opinion of the City Comptroller, may assist in the collection of such delinquent taxes or the inspection by the Corporation Counsel or other legal representatives of the City of Watertown of the return of any person who shall bring action to set aside or review the tax based thereon or against whom an action has been instituted in accordance with the provisions of this article.
[Amended 10-21-1991 by L.L. No. 6-1991]
B. 
Any offense against the foregoing secrecy provisions shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or by imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both; and if the offender is an officer, agent, clerk or employee of the City of Watertown, he shall be dismissed from office and shall be incapable of holding any office or employment in the City of Watertown for a period of five years thereafter.
C. 
Notwithstanding any provisions of this article, the City Comptroller may exchange with the chief fiscal officer of any other city in the State of New York information contained in returns filed under this article, provided that such other city grants similar privileges to the City of Watertown and provided that such information is to be assessed for tax purposes only, and the City Comptroller shall, upon request, furnish the State Tax Commission with any information contained in such returns.
[Amended 10-21-1991 by L.L. No. 6-1991]

§ 271-14 Deposit of taxes and penalties.

[Amended 6-29-1942 by L.L. No. 3-1942; 10-21-1991 by L.L. No. 6-1991]
All taxes and penalties received by the City Comptroller for taxes heretofore or hereafter imposed under this article shall be credited and deposited by him in the general fund of the City.