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General Laws

Section 38A. Every person, other than a gas or electric company as defined in section one of chapter one hundred and sixty-four, owning a pipeline used for transmitting for a distance of twenty-five miles or more natural gas or petroleum or the products or by-products of either, shall, on or before January thirty-first in each year, make a return to the commissioner signed and sworn to by such person, which shall be in such form and detail as the commissioner shall prescribe, and shall contain all information which he shall consider necessary to enable him to value such pipeline in each city or town as of January first of such year. Property returned to the commissioner under this section need not be included in the list required to be filed by such person under section twenty-nine; but the return made to the commissioner shall be open to inspection by the board of assessors of every city and town where such pipeline is subject to taxation. Failure to make the return required by this section shall bar such owner from any appeal of the commissioner’s determination of value under this section, unless such owner was unable to comply with such request for reasons beyond such owner’s control. If any owner in a return made under this section makes any statement which he knows to be false in a material particular, such false statement shall bar such person from any appeal under this section. If any such owner shall in any year fail to make the return required by this section, the commissioner shall estimate the value of the property, according to his best information and belief.

On or before June fifteenth in each year, the commissioner shall determine and certify to the owner of such pipeline and to the board of assessors of every city or town where such pipeline is subject to taxation, the valuation as of January first in such year of such pipeline in said city or town. Every owner and board of assessors to whom such valuation shall have been so certified may, on or before July fifteenth then next ensuing, appeal to the appellate tax board from such valuation. Every such appeal shall relate to the valuation of only one pipeline system in one city or town and shall name as appellees the commissioner and all persons, other than the appellant, to whom such valuation was required to be certified. Said board shall hear and decide the subject matter of such appeal and give notice of its decision to the commissioner, the owner, and the board of assessors; and, except as provided in section thirteen of chapter fifty-eight A, such decision shall be final and conclusive. Said board shall consolidate for the purpose of the hearing and decision aforesaid all appeals relating to the valuation of the same pipeline system in the same city or town, and in its discretion may so consolidate all appeals involving the same pipeline system although such appeals relate to more than one city or town.

Every pipeline subject to this section shall be assessed by the board of assessors of the city or town in which it is located at the valuation certified by the commissioner under this section; provided, however, that in the event of a final decision of the appellate tax board or of the supreme judicial court under the preceding paragraph establishing a different valuation, the assessors shall grant an abatement, or assess and commit to the collector with their warrant for collection an additional tax, as the case may be, to conform with the valuation so established by such final decision. Assessment pursuant to this paragraph shall be deemed to be a full compliance with the oath of office of each assessor and a full performance of his official duty with relation to the assessment of said pipeline.

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