With Davidson County and several other Tennessee counties in reappraisal years, we remind Tennessee property owners that now is the time to request an appointment to appeal real or personal property assessments if you disagree with your local property assessor’s appraised value or classification of your property.

DEADLINE TO APPEAL

County boards of equalization generally begin hearing property tax appeals on June 1. They have the authority to increase, decrease, or leave unchanged the appraised value of the property and also to change the classification of the property. You must make an appointment to appear before the county board by contacting your local property assessor’s office. The deadline for review varies by county. If you fail to appear before the county board, the property tax assessment is deemed conclusive and you lose any further rights of appeal except in very limited circumstances. Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-5-1401. You should contact the local assessor’s office to request an appointment to appeal your property tax assessment by June 1.

STEPS TO APPEAL

There are multiple levels of appeals that property owners must follow in order to preserve their rights, and the appeal path can become a trap for the unwary if deadlines are missed.

  1. Informal Reviews – The first level of review, which is informal but should not be overlooked, is to talk with the local property assessor’s office. This is an easy and inexpensive means to review your assessment and determine if there has been a mistake or if the property assessor is willing to make an adjustment based on information you can provide about the use or value of the property. To request an informal review, call your local property assessor’s office. For Davidson County, the deadline to do so is May 17, 2013. Requests can also be made online.

  2. Formal Appeals to County Boards of Equalization – If you are not satisfied with the informal review or if you decide to skip that step, you must request review by the county board of equalization to preserve your appeal rights. Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-5-1401. County boards begin their sessions each year on June 1, and you should contact your local property assessor’s office to request an appointment. Deadlines to file an appeal vary from county to county. You must appear “in person” before the county board of equalization prior to its final adjournment. You may appear before the board or hearing officer by yourself or you may be represented by a qualified property tax representative or an attorney. Again, if you fail to appear, the assessment will be deemed conclusive against you. Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-5-1401.

  3. State Board of Equalization – If you are not satisfied with the decision by the county board of equalization, your next step in the appeal process is to file a further appeal with the State Board of Equalization. Tenn. Code Ann. § 67 5 1412. There are several levels of appeal within the State Board and here the process becomes more formal. Appeals to the State Board must be submitted in writing, sworn to, and filed with the executive secretary of the State Board. The State Board has forms available for your use or you may file your appeal online. There is a filing fee required for all appeals, and the amounts are noted on the State Board’s website.

Taxpayers have until August 1 or 45 days after the date the notice of the decision of the county board of equalization was sent, whichever date is later, to file a further appeal with the State Board. Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-5-1412(e).

OTHER POINTS TO REMEMBER

You should also make note of the following important points: 

  1. Appeals for Successive Years – Unless there is a change in your property assessment from last year, you will not receive a separate notice of assessment each year. Nevertheless, if you have appealed an earlier year, your appeal is limited to that tax year and does not preserve your appeal rights for the successive years in which the assessment remains unchanged. You must appeal the assessment for each tax year even if the assessment remains the same and you do not receive a new notice

  2. Payment of Undisputed Taxes – While on appeal, a property owner still must pay the undisputed portion of the property tax assessment in order to pursue the appeal and avoid the assessment of penalties after the taxes become delinquent on March 1. The unpaid portion will accrue interest if you are ultimately required to pay the assessment.

  3. Mark Your Calendars – Remember that even if you do not receive any of the notices that are required to be sent to you, you are not usually relieved of your obligation to meet all filing deadlines. If a deadline is approaching and you have not received a notice, call the local assessor’s or State Board office. Do not let any of the deadlines pass.

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