ASSESS. To rate Or, fix the proportion which every person has to pay of any par ticular tax. To tax. To adjust the shares of a contribution by several towards a com mon beneficial object according to the bene fit received. To fix the value of ; to fix the amount of.
As used in a covenant to pay rates, etc., "assessed" means "reckoned on the value." 66 L. J. Ch. 353 ;  1 Ch. 633.
Determining the value of a person's property or occupation for the pur pose of levying a tax.
Determining the share of a tax to be paid, by each individual.
Laying a tax.
Adjusting the shares of a contribution by several towards a common beneficial object according to the benefit received.
An assessment is an official estimate of the sums which are to constitute the basis of an apportionment of a tax between the indi vidual subjects of taxation within the dis trict. It does not of itself lay the charge upon either person or property, but is a step I preliminary thereto, and which is essential to the apportionment ; Evansville & I. R. Co. v. Hays, 118 Ind. 214, 20 N. E. 736. As the word is more commonly employed, an assess ment consists in the two processes of listing the persons, property, etc., to be taxed, and of estimating the sums which are to be the guide in an apportionment of the tax be tween them ; City of Chicago v. Fishburn, 189 Ill. 367, 59 N. E. 791; Pomeroy Coal Co. v. Emlen, 44 Kan. 123, 24 Pac. 340 ; State v. R. Co., 54 S. C. 564, 32 S. E. 691. To as sess a tax is to determine what a taxpayer shall contribute to the public ; and to levy a tax is to make a record of this determina tion and to extend the same against his prop erty ; Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co. v. Klein, 52 Neb. 258, 71 N. W. 1069.
A local assessment can only be levied upon land. It cannot, as a tax can, be made a personal liability of the taxpayer. A tax is levied over a whole state, or a political sub division. A local assessment is levied on property situated in a district created for the express purpose of the levy, and pos sessing no other existence than to be the thing on which the levy is made. A tax is a continuing burden; a local assessment is exceptional both as to time and locality; it is brought into being to accomplish a par. titular purpose. A tax is levied, collected, and administered by a public agency ; a lo cal assessment is made by' an authority ab extra. 'Yet it is like a tax in that it is ina•
posed under an authority derived from the legislature. It is like a tax in that it must be levied for a public purpose, and must be apportioned by some reasonable rule. It is unlike a tax in that the proceeds must be expended in an improvement from which a benefit, clearly exceptive and plainly per ceived, must enure to the property upon which it is imposed ; Town of Macon v. Pat ty, 57 Miss. 378, 34 Am. Rep. 451 (a leading case).
Though local assessments are laid under the taxing power, and are, in a certain sense, taxes, yet they are a peculiar class of taxes, and not within the meaning of that term as it is usually employed ; Mayor, etc., of Binning. ham v. Klein, 89 Ala. 461, 7 South. 386, 8 L. R. A. 369 ; Holley v. County of Orange, 106 Cal. 420, 39 Pac. 790; Nichols v. City of Bridgeport, 23 Conn. 189, 60 Am. Dec. 636; City Council of Augusta v. Murphey, 79 Ga. 101, 3 S. E. 326 ; Dempster v. Chicago, 175 Ill. 278, 51 N. E. 710 ; Board of Com'rs of Monroe County v. Harrell, 147 Ind. 500, 46 N. E. 124 ; Gosnell v. City of Louisville, 104 Ky. 201, 46 S. W. 722 ; Jones v. City of Bos ton, 104 Mass. 461; Kansas City v. Bacon, 147 Mo. 259, 48 S. W. 860 ; Mann v. Jersey City, 24 N. J. L. 662 ; City of Raleigh v. Peace, 110 N. C. 32, 14 S. E. 521, 17 L. R. A. 330 ; Raymond v. City of Cleveland, 42 Ohio St. 522 ; Beaumont v. Wilkes-Barre City, 142 Pa. 198, 24i. l. 888 ; Heller v. City of Milwaukee, 96 . 134, 70 N. W. 1111; as where a min' ase required a lessee to pay taxes, duties and imposts on coal mined, the mining improvements, and the surface and coal land itself, it was held not to require him to pay municipal assessments for paving a street or constructing a sewer ; Pettibone v. Smith, 150 Pa. 118, 24 Atl. 693, 17 L. R. A. 423 ; and a devise requiring the life tenant to pay all necessary taxes on the property was held not to include assessments for sew ers and curbing ; Chambers v. Chambers, 20 R. I. 370, 39 Atl. 243 ; Chamberlin v. Glea son, 163 N. Y. 214, 57 N. E. 487. But "taxes" was held to include a sewer assessment in an agreement to convey a good title to land free from all mortgage encumbrances, taxes and mechanic's liens ; Williams v. Monk, 179 Mass. 22, 60 N. E. 394.