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Learn About Our Office

Tennessee became the United States’ sixteenth state in 1796. As the state prospered, thousands of settlers moved into Tennessee and the need for law and order grew.

It was necessary for a state office to ensure that state and local financial integrity was upheld, taxes were properly accounted for, and the proceeds were spent as authorized by the General Assembly. The legislation that created the Office of the Comptroller passed in 1836.

The Comptroller became a constitutionally required position 34 years later under Article VII, Section 3 of the 1870 Tennessee Constitution. The Comptroller is elected by the Tennessee General Assembly to serve for a two-year term.

The enacting legislation passed by the 1835-1836 Tennessee General Assembly defined the Comptroller’s duties as:

  • Making an accurate accounting of all accounts and claims due to or owed by the state
  • Ensuring accurate accounting of all taxes collected by local officials
  • Reporting the state’s financial status to the General Assembly
  • Providing materials for local tax collectors
  • Auditing the accuracy of local tax rolls
  • Alerting local prosecutors to tax collectors who did not properly perform their duties.

In 1937, the Department of Audit was created, and the Office assumed the responsibility to audit all accounts and financial records as well as fund and debt transactions of state government.

Today, the Office continues to fulfill its mission to make government work better by carrying out these critical functions for Tennessee government. We invite you to learn more about our various Office responsibilities and staff by navigating the pages located in the left-hand menu.