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Focus on the Law: Board Of Equalization

The Tennessee Constitution, Article II, Section 28 permits the taxation of all real property, personal property or mixed.  The Legislature is authorized to exempt from this property owned by the State, Counties, Cities or Towns.  It may also exempt property used exclusively for “purposes purely religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational.”

All property, except that owned public utility companies, is assessed by elected county property tax assessors.  Property assessors conduct reappraisals of real property every four to six years.  In Knox County the elected property assessor is Phil Ballard and his office is in Suite 204 of the City-County Building on 400 Main Street.

If you disagree with value placed on your real property by the tax assessor, you should appeal to the county equalization board where the property is located.  The local boards meet in May or June each year to conduct hearings.  The Knox County Equalization Board meets in June of every year.  You should contact Phil Ballard’s office [phone number (865)215-2360] starting on May 27th of this year to make an appointment to appear before the Knox County Board.  The Board is authorized to hear appeals of current year tax assessments.  It can decrease the assessment of properties that is determines to have been excessively assessed.  It can correct errors arising from clerical mistakes that are brought to its attention. And, after giving the taxpayer notice and the opportunity to be heard, it can increase the assessment of property it determines to be under assessed.

If you are not satisfied with the decision of the local board of equalization, you may then file an appeal to the State Board of Equalization in Nashville.  This appeal is handled by an administrative judge.  You may file your appeal electronically or in writing.  Appeals forms may be found at https://www.comptroller.tn.gov/SBOE/sbappeal.asp  The appeal should be filed by August 1 of the tax year under appeal, or within 45 days after the date the county board of equalization sent you notice of its action, whichever is later.  You must pay a filing fee assessed per parcel of real property under appeal based upon the value of each parcel.  Depending upon the outcome, part of this fee may be refunded after the decision.

The next level of appeal is to the Assessment Appeals Commission.  This may be done by filing a letter or written complaint detailing your reasons for disagreeing with the decision of the order of the administrative judge. There is also a filing fee for this level of appeal.

Remember, in order to pursue an appeal, state law requires that you pay at least the undisputed portion of your taxes prior to the delinquency date.  You also must pay the full amount of any delinquent taxes due against the property for prior years.  When a final certificate of assessment is issued by the Board of Equalization or Assessment Appeals Commission, you will either receive a refund of any overpayment or will owe the amount of any underpayment of taxes, along with interest at the rate provided by law.

 

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