Frequently Asked Questions

Appeals:

What is the process for appealing the value on my tax bill?

You must usually appeal to the appropriate county board of equalization, or the assessment becomes final for that year. Do not submit an appeal to the State Board of Equalization until you have first appealed to the county board of equalization, which meets in May or June each year. Contact the assessorís office to appeal to the county board of equalization.

Decisions of the county boards may be appealed to the State Board of Equalization, but must be filed by August 1 or within forty-five (45) days from the county board notice, whichever is later.

Appeals to the State Board require payment of a fee and filing an appeal form. For your convenience, you may file your appeal to the State Board of Equalization:

  1. Electronically (on-line)
  2. Or by downloading the form and mailing it in

After you have filed your appeal form, we will schedule hearings as soon as possible and you will be notified of the time and date of your appeal hearing. While the appeal is pending, you must pay at least the undisputed portion of tax before the delinquency date.

What happens after my appeal is filed?

An electronic record is created. Then, the appeal is forwarded to an administrative judge for docketing.

When will my appeal be heard?

While we cannot give you a specific timeframe, you will receive a notice approximately thirty (30) days prior to the date of hearing.

When can I expect a decision on my value appeal?

An initial decision and order of the administrative judge should be issued within ninety (90) days after the date of hearing.

If I disagree with the initial decision and order, is there another level of appeal?

Yes. The next level of appeal is to the Assessment Appeals Commission.

How do I file an appeal before the Assessment Appeals Commission?

In order to appeal, you must file a letter or written complaint detailing your reason(s) for disagreement with the initial decision and order.

Will I receive a refund?

Part of the fee (from $7 to $17) is for the cost of processing appeals and is nonrefundable. The remainder is for the cost of hearing appeals and is refundable to the extent the appeal is successful or resolved without a hearing.

The county has the square footage of my property wrong. What do I need to do?

Assessors generally work from outside measurements. If this does not sufficiently account for discrepancies, check with the assessorís staff to verify your property record. If you still disagree with the assessorís value, you may have to appeal the assessment to the county board of equalization.

When are final results posted?

The final-result information is posted to the website after seventy-five (75) days from the initial decision and order of the administrative judge and forty-five (45) days from the date of the final decision and order of the Assessment Appeals Commission.

Exemptions:

What is the process for filing an application for exemption?

Electronically by clicking on this link -- Exemption Application

Manually by downloading the form and mailing it to this office

By requesting that we mail you a form

Or obtaining a form from your local assessorís office

What happens after my application is filed?

An electronic record is created. Then, the application is forwarded to a staff attorney. The staff attorney will review the application and may request information from the local assessor or applicant, if necessary. Once all documentation is obtained, a decision will be rendered as soon as possible.

When can I expect a decision on my property tax exemption application?

The average length of time for rendering a decision on the application is approximately six (6) months. This timeframe could be shorter or longer depending on the amount of information needed. It is very important for the applicant to submit all required supporting documents with the application and to provide detailed responses to questions posed on the application.

If I disagree with the initial determination, is there another level of appeal?

Yes. The next level of appeal is to an administrative judge appointed by the Secretary of Stateís Administrative Procedures Division.

How do I appeal to the Secretary of Stateís Administrative Procedures Division?

Complete and file an appeal form by downloading the form and mailing it to this office or requesting that we mail you a form. The appeal must be filed within ninety (90) days from the date of the initial determination of the staff attorney.

Will I receive a refund?

The fee to file an exemption application is non-refundable. If you file an appeal of the initial determination, part of the fee (up to $7) helps to defray the cost of processing appeals and is non-refundable. The remainder of the fee is for the cost of hearing appeals and is refundable to the extent the appeal is successful.

When can I expect a decision on my exemption appeal?

An initial decision and order of the administrative judge should be issued within ninety (90) days after the date of hearing.

When are final results posted?

The final-result information is posted to the website after seventy-five (75) days from the initial decision and order of the administrative judge and forty-five (45) days from the date of the final decision and order of the Assessment Appeals Commission.

If I disagree with the initial decision and order, is there another level of appeal?

Yes. The next level of appeal is to the Assessment Appeals Commission.

How do I file an appeal before the Assessment Appeals Commission?

In order to appeal, you must file a letter or written complaint detailing your reason(s) for disagreement with the initial decision and order.

We just received a tax bill, and we are an IRS 501(c) (3) organization. What should we do?

Organizations that are IRS 501(c) (3) are not automatically exempt from property taxes. You should file an application, and we will determine if the organization meets the statutory requirements for exemption.

Annual reports related to payment-in-lieu-of-tax (PILOT) agreements:

Who is responsible for filing?

The business using the property under lease from the Board should file the report. If there are both prime and sublessees, it is suggested that the business using the property take the lead in insuring the report is filed.

Is it possible to extend or postpone the filing deadline (October 1)?

No, the statute does not provide for extensions. The penalty for late filing has been reduced to $50. A copy of the report must be filed with the county assessor of property by October 15, and failure to file with the Board or assessor within thirty (30) days after written demand will add $500 to the PILOT otherwise due.

How do you complete the value fields on an IDB annual report?
  1. Estimated value – this is an estimate of value as of 1/1/ tax year
  2. Term Dates – these are the effective dates of the PILOT lease agreement.
  3. PILOT Payments – these are the actual payments made by the owner/lessee for that particular tax year.
  4. Leasehold tax – check with the assessorís office to find out if the leasehold has a positive taxable value and for help calculating the tax due on this value.
How is estimated value determined?

The law requires merely a good faith estimate of value, not a formal appraisal. For relatively new property, a summary of costs may be a good measure of value. State assessment standards for tangible personal property require depreciated acquisition cost be used as the taxable value of personalty, using depreciable lives provided by statute (e.g., eight years for manufacturing equipment, to a maximum of 80% depreciation). Construction-in-process personalty values are limited to 15% of acquisition cost as long as it is still reported as CIP for federal income tax purposes.

How does the filer determine when the property will return to the assessment rolls?

With the option to renew the lease or to exercise an option to purchase at any time, it may not be possible to precisely predict when the property will return to the assessment rolls. It is suggested you use the lease expiration date as the likeliest time unless you have reason to believe another date is better. E-mail your other questions to Betsy Knotts at Betsy.Knotts@cot.tn.gov.

Can the $50 penalty fee be waived?

We have no authority to waive the late fee required when reports are filed after October 1. We do send a reminder as a courtesy, but it is ultimately the lessee (company) that is responsible for timely filing of this report each year.

Assessment Information:

Click here for more information.