Before leaving the subject of taxes, one other difficulty should be mentioned, and that is the various descriptions of the property used by the assessors and collectors. In the case of an irregular piece of land the full description of which by metes and bounds occupies many lines, or even pages, it is manifestly impossible for the full description to appear on the tax books. The assessor therefore seeks a shorter description and defines the land by giving the book and page on which is recorded a deed conveying the land in question, as for instance, "Part of the Segui Grant, 100 acres in Section 37, T.3, S.R. 26 E., as recorded in Deed Book B.2 p. 204."
When this entry is first put on the books, it is probably correct, but as years go on and it is copied from roll to roll, errors creep in and the book, or the page, or some number, is changed. Or, the property may be reconveyed, and a new assessor may describe it properly under the book and page in which the new deed is recorded. . Such variations constantly occur and render difficult the reconcilement of the returns made with the receipts obtained. To prevent this, reference to the records themselves or to an abstract of title is frequently necessary, and even then it may be found that the land has been assessed under both descriptions. In such a case, proper steps should be taken to have one of the assessments cancelled.
A reference to Form 22 (Section 26) will show how these mistakes may be minimized in practice; for on the front of the page is given the full description, while on the back thereof is given the description or descriptions used by the assessors. This addition to the usual form has proved to be of great service and its adoption is recommended. In the same way, descriptions by county assessors frequently differ from those of municipal assessors, and these differences in the descriptions should always be clearly stated on the form.
If proper attention be given and correct returns made, such mistakes can be cured for future years, for almost invariably tax assessors are desirous of bringing their records to as high a degree of accuracy as their opportunities will permit.