Neilson v. San Pete County

In Neilson v. San Pete County, 40 Utah 560, 123 P. 334 (Utah 1912), the court explained that "the taxes mentioned in Comp. Laws 1907, section 2642, the predecessor to section 59-2-1321, are such only which it is clear the county had no authority to collect, and, in case they are collected, has no legal right to retain them." Id. at 338. The Neilson court distinguished section 2642 from section 2684, the predecessor to the current Utah Code section 59-2-1327, by noting that section 2642 allows a taxpayer to obtain a refund without having paid under protest and without going to court. "The illegality of the tax is absolutely assumed," and only if the county refuses to provide the refund must the taxpayer go to district court to appeal the decision. Id. at 338, 340. The court considered it "easy to perceive why payment under protest is required for taxes specified under section 2684, and why none is required for those mentioned in section 2642," evidently because it regarded section 2642 as covering only those instances where the payment "more than once" or "erroneously or illegally" collected is a "matter of record in the county treasurer's office." Id. at 338. In such a situation, where the county treasurer has the information necessary to make the determination at hand, the county commissioners need only receive some form of notification from the taxpayer to be "as well prepared to look into the matter as they would be by the filing of a more formal claim against the county" in court. Id.