General Questions

Where can I find information on property tax sales?

For information on property tax sales please see the Clerk and Masters office website. This site will have all information on available tax sales in the county.

Property Appraisal

Why is property taxed in Tennessee?

Article II Section 28 of the Tennessee Constitution states: “…all property real, personal or mixed shall be subject to taxation…” Property tax dollars are used by city, county and state governments to provide funding for roads, parks, fire and police protection, public schools and many other local services.

What does the Assessor do?

The Assessor of Property has the duty of determining the value and classification of all property except public utility property which is valued by the State of Tennessee, Comptroller of the Treasury, Office of State Assessed Properties. The Assessor estimates only the value of your property. The amount of taxes paid depends on the budget set in July by Metro Government.

Will the value of my property change every year?

Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated Section 67-5-1601 reappraisal must be completed either in a four, five, or six year cycle. Davidson County is on a 4-year reappraisal cycle. The next reappraisal is scheduled for 2021. Normally, the value placed on a property during the year of a reappraisal remains undisturbed until the next reappraisal unless the value is changed on appeal or corrected for physical characteristics such as the addition or deletion of an improvement or land.

At what value is my home appraised for property tax purposes?

The appraised value of property may be accessed at the following address: Simple Search

How is my home appraised for property tax purposes?

The Assessor appraises your home at “market value”. Market value is the amount of money a well-informed buyer would pay and a well-informed seller would accept for property in an open and competitive market, without any outside influence.

How does the Assessor determine market value?

The Assessor’s Office collects sales data from all real estate transactions in Davidson county and processes these into appraisal models that assist in the evaluation of all real property.

Does the Assessor visit my property?

All properties within Davidson County are visited by a member of the Assessor’s staff who performs an exterior inspection of the property between reappraisal years.

Example: The last reappraisal was 2017. Prior to the next reappraisal scheduled for 2021, all properties will be visually inspected at least from the exterior. The Assessor’s office also visits and inspects the interior of properties when necessary, or upon invitation by the taxpayer.

If I bought my house last year, shouldn’t the value be the same as what I paid for it a year ago?

The sale by itself doesn’t necessarily indicate market value. However, factors such as the date of sale versus the date of appraisal (which is January 1 of the tax year), other comparable sales within the subject neighborhood, etc., will be evaluated along with the sale of the property in making a final determination.

When will I be notified of the value of my property?

The Assessor’s office is required to notify a property owner of any change in value or classification of his/her property. As stated above, if the property is unchanged between reappraisal years there will be no need for a notice, however, if there is a change in the physical characteristics or use of the property a notice of assessment change will be sent to the home owner in May of the tax year the change is made.

How can I determine whether or not the appraisal of my home is accurate?

A determination can be made by comparing homes with similar characteristics within the neighborhood and/or have an appraisal completed by a licensed real estate appraiser.

What can I do if I believe the value of my home is incorrect?

If you believe your value is incorrect after exercising the above steps, you may contact the Assessor’s office to request a review. If you are not satisfied with the results of that review, you may appeal your property to the Metro Board of Equalization which meets in June of each tax year.

Assessment Appeals

To appeal or not to appeal?

Before making your decision to appeal your property value to this office, be sure and compare your property to others in your neighborhood to see if they are appraised uniformly. Also, you may know of properties that have sold that you can compare their sale prices to your property. Be sure to note any physical or zoning changes that may affect the value of your property as it compares to the sales.

Is there help available?

This office is willing to listen to your concerns and will be happy to advise you of the proper course of action. If after discussing your property with you we discover we have made an error, we will correct that error and make a recommendation to the appropriate parties.

In addition to this office, there are professional property tax representatives who are registered with the State Board of Equalization who may be able to assist you. You may find a complete list of these “Registered Property Tax Agents” at the State Board of Equalization’s website here.

How do I file an appeal?

You may contact this office to schedule an appeal to the Metro Board of Equalization during the latter part of May through mid-June.

What happens after I appeal?

You will receive a notice of any action made by the Assessor or Metro Board of Equalization.

How do I prepare an appeal?

If you feel aggrieved by your valuation or classification, you may assemble all documentation that supports your conclusion of value that is different from the Assessor.

What if I don’t like the value the Board determines?

You may appeal the Metro Board’s decision to the State Board of Equalization before August 1 for the tax year or within forty-five days of the date the notice of local board action was sent, whichever is later.

Can I go straight to the State Board and not present an appeal to the Metro Board?

You must first appeal to the Metro Board of Equalization. This is the first level of administrative appeal.

Property Exemptions

What type of organizations are eligible for exemption from property taxation?

Religious, charitable, scientific or nonprofit educational institutions may apply to have property owned by that organization exempt from property taxes if the property is currently being used exclusively to carry out one or more of the purposes for which the organization was created.

This can include allowing another exempt institution to use the property for a purpose for which that organization was created, provided the owning institution receives no more that one dollar ($1.00) in rent per year (the owner may receive a reasonable fee for maintenance and service). The three key provisions are:

1. Owned by a religious, charitable, scientific or educational institution.
2. Currently being used for an purpose for which that organization exists.
3. The owning organization must apply to the State Board of Equalization and receive approval in writing.

Wouldn’t any property owned by a tax exempt organization be automatically exempted from property taxes?

Not necessarily. The primary consideration is “current use”. For example, if a church buys a vacant site with the intention of building a new church there in the future, the property would not be able to be exempted until the new building is completed and ready for use. And even then, if the site were several acres in size and only a portion of the land was being used for the actual church buildings, parking lots, athletic fields, etc., the excess land may still be taxable until it also is put to a use that would warrant exemption.

How does an organization apply for exemption?

Exemption application forms and instructions for completing them are available in the Assessor’s Office. After the form is filled out by the requesting institution, one copy is filed with the State Board of Equalization for a decision and the other is filed with the Assessor of Property. All applications and supporting documentation should be filed by May 20th of the tax year for which the exemption is being sought. A separate application must be filled out for each parcel of property being requested for consideration.

What documents or other material should be provided with application?

Copies of the following documents should accompany the organization’s application to the State Board, as well as the copy filed with the Assessor:
-Deed of Ownership
-Articles of Incorporation (if applicable)
-Organization’s By Laws (if applicable)
-I.R.S. Tax Exempt Letter
-Income and Expense Statement or I.R.S. Information Return
-Photograph (s) of the property

After the exemption is approved, how often is the property owner required to update the record or re-apply?

Once an exemption is approved it is not necessary to reapply each year. If there are changes, however, in the ownership or use of the property which might affect the property’s exempt status, it is the organization’s responsibility to promptly notify both the Assessor and the State Board of Equalization.

Greenbelt Program

What is The Agricultural, Forest and Open Space Act of 1976?

The Agriculture, Forest, and Open Space Act of 1976 is a law that was passed to ease some of the pressures caused by urbanization.

The policy of the state as declared by the General Assembly, says that owners of an open space should have the opportunity to preserve this land if so desired. Therefore, the Act prevents this open space from being prematurely developed. However, for a parcel of land to be qualified under the act it must first meet certain criteria.

For taxpayer’s property to qualify, the land must be categorized as agricultural land or forest land. Agricultural land is land consisting of at least fifteen (15) acres and being used for production or growing of crops, plants, animals and nursery products. Forest land is land that consists of at least fifteen (15) acres and is used to grow trees under a sustained yield management program or acreage with tree growth that would constitute a forest.

If you feel your land of fifteen (15) acres or more qualifies as agriculture or forest land, you may make application with the Assessor of Property.

What types of properties are eligible for enrollment in the “Greenbelt” program?

There are 3 types of land which may qualify for greenbelt classification:
Agricultural Land: a tract of at least 15 acres that is currently engaged in farming (i.e. the production or growing of crops, plants, animals, nursery or floral products). A tract that is smaller than 15 acres , but is at least 10 acres can qualify for greenbelt if the owner has at least 1 tract in the program that meets the minimum 15 acre qualification. The current test of farm use is a property’s ability to generate an average annual income of at least $1,500 over any 3 year period. Property can also qualify, regardless of income, if you, your parent or your spouse has farmed the property for at least 25 years, you continue to live on the property, and the property is not currently used for a purpose inconsistent with farming.

Forest Land: a tract of at least 15 acres engaged in growing trees under a sound program of sustained yield management or having tree growth in such quantity and quality as to be managed as a forest.

Open Space Land: a tract of at least 3 acres maintained in an open or natural condition for public enjoyment and use.

Note: With all three classes, the law limits an owners qualification to 1500 acres in any given county.

How do I apply for Greenbelt?

All necessary forms are available at the Assessor’s Office. The application, including a certification from the owner about the property’s use, can be filled out and approved during a short office visit. After approval, the property owner is responsible for recording the application at the County Register of Deeds. Once enrolled, the owner is not required to reapply each year, but is required by law to promptly notify the Assessor of any change in the use or ownership of the property which would affect its Greenbelt eligibility.

What are “Rollback Taxes”?

When a property that has been assessed as Greenbelt becomes disqualified for any of the following reasons:

– size of tract or use no longer meet qualifications
– the owner requests in writing to withdraw
– the property is covered by a recorded subdivision plat, unless the owner can still prove farm use
– property is sold and converted to other use

The owner may be liable to pay what are referred to as “rollback” taxes on the property. “Rollback” is simply the difference between the Greenbelt assessment and the market value assessment that would have been applied if the property had not been in the program. In effect, it is paying back the tax savings the owner enjoyed under greenbelt. For Agricultural and Forest properties the rollback period is 3 years (the current year and the 2 preceding years), for Open Space property the rollback is 5 years. If only a portion of the property is sold or converted to a non-qualifying use, rollback is only assessed on that portion, as long as the remainder of the property still qualifies. Rollback assessments are made on the next tax roll after the property no longer qualifies for greenbelt. An owner should fully understand “rollback” before applying for the Greenbelt program.

Mobile Homes

Are mobile homes taxable property in Tennessee?

Yes, under Tennessee Law mobile homes are assessed as real property, as an improvement to the land where that mobile home is located. This can be on property owned by the mobile home owner, or on a lot or pad in a mobile home park where the owner is renting or leasing a space. A key date to remember is January 1, which is the statutory “date of assessment”. Because a mobile home by definition is “moveable”, the possibility exists that it could be located in more than one jurisdiction during any given year. To prevent it from being assessed for taxes more than once, a mobile home is assessed in the county where it is physically located on January 1st, no matter how long it remains on site after that date.

If a mobile home is located in a mobile home park, who is responsible for paying the taxes, the home owner or the park owner?

The mobile home owner. Because the mobile home is assessed as an improvement to their property, the mobile home park owner will receive a tax bill that includes the taxes for all mobile homes in their park. However, the mobile home owner is responsible for paying the taxes attributed to their mobile home. At the park owner’s discretion, this can be done in a lump sum or included in the monthly collection of any rents or dues.

Are active duty military personnel required to pay property taxes on their mobile homes?

Mobile homes owned by non-resident active duty service personnel in Tennessee on military orders are considered “personal property” in accordance with the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act, and therefore are exempt.

What responsibility does the owner of a Mobile Home Park have in reporting improvements ( mobile homes) on their property?

In December of each year, the Assessor furnishes each mobile home park owner in the county with a report to list all mobile homes located in their park as of January 1. It is the duty of the mobile home park owner to correctly list each mobile home by make, model, size, original cost, etc. and return that report, along with certification of any military exemptions to the Assessor’s office no later than 1 April.

Why is the value listed in the Assessor’s office different than what I paid for the mobile home?

While the purchase price can be one indicator of value for a particular mobile home, the amount paid does not necessarily equal the market value. Considerations such as repossessions, sale prices and discounts, family sales, and sales where land or furnishings are involved, often make the purchase price unreliable as the fair market value of a mobile home. The Assessor’s Office is responsible for equalizing values and making uniform assessments of all mobile homes in the jurisdiction. The values assigned for tax purposes are developed using uniform standards for quality, size and depreciation. If a mobile home is properly listed (age, size, etc.), the results will closely approximate the current market value, but more importantly for tax purposes, they will ensure a fair and equal assessment for every taxpayer who owns a similar mobile home.

Tangible Personal Property

What is considered ‘tangible personal property’ under the law?

Just about any tangible property not considered to be real estate falls under the definition. If you have any questions about whether an asset fits the description, contact this office.

What if I’m a very small business and don’t have an accounting staff?

All businesses are required to use the Schedule B form. There is an option to check the SMALL ACCOUNTS CERTIFICATIONS. By checking this you certify that the total depreciated value of your property (all groups) is $1,000.00 or less.

What happens if I don’t file the schedule by March 1?

The law requires the Assessor’s Office to place a value on your tangible personal property, which may be higher than you would have reported. Your only appeal route then is through the Metro Board of Equalization. You also may be assessed a penalty for failing to report.

Will I be audited?

Every business owner is subject to selection for audit. A member of the Assessor’s staff reviews each completed form, and where necessary, works with the business owner to obtain an accurate reporting. Audit methods vary, generally based on the size and type of business involved. An inspection of the business premises may be required, or a detailed examination of records of purchases may be needed. You can help by doing the most thorough job possible when you complete the schedule.

How will I know if my assessment is changed?

We will send you an Assessment Notice in May, indicating any changes in your assessment. If you disagree with the changes, you should contact our office to request a review. As in the case of realty assessments, you should prepare to provide any documentation you have to support your case. If you still don’t agree with the Assessor’s Office action, you may file an appeal to the Board of Equalization, which begins its meetings in June.

Periodic Reappraisal

Why is Reappraisal necessary?

Reappraisal eliminates inequities which are created over time by changes in the real estate market, ensuring fairness and equity for all property owners.

A property’s market value can increase or decrease. If the Assessor’s record of a property’s market value does not change with the market, some people could pay too much in property taxes, while others could pay too little.

That’s why the Davidson County Assessor is required to conduct reappraisals every four years. Reappraisals allow the Assessor to adjust property values so that every property in Davidson County is appraised at market value. The last reappraisal occurred in 2017.

Between reappraisal cycles, the Assessor’s staff:

-Visually inspects all property in Davidson County so that the Assessor’s assessment records reflect each property’s actual characteristics, such as: square footage, story height, exterior wall type, garage, carport and detached buildings.
-Verifies all property transfers as they occur in the market place. Appraisers verify each sale in order to ensure it is an arms-length transaction.

These verified sales are recorded in the sales file to compare to properties of similar size, age, location and description to help establish fair and equitable property values.

State law protects property owners during reappraisal years: State law also protects property owners from paying more that their fair share of property tax because a reappraisal has occurred. It provides for adjusting the tax rate to a level that would bring in the same amount of revenue as before reappraisal, excluding new construction. This is called the Certified Tax Rate, and it prevents local governments from experiencing a financial “windfall ” in reappraisal years at the expense of the property owners.

How are reappraisal values established?

The 2017 reappraisal is like a snapshot of Davidson County as of January 1, 2017. Reappraisal values are based on these key factors:

-The property’s use (such as home, business, vacant land, etc.)
-The property’s characteristics
Square footage (total living area)
Quality of construction
Amenities (such as bathroom count, garage, carport, vaulted ceilings, etc.)
-Current market conditions (determined by sales in the immediate area over the past three years)

To determine the market value of a property, a team of skilled and professionally trained appraisers:
-Visually inspects all properties to ensure that the Assessor’s records reflect actual characteristics.
-Reviews and verifies market sales, cost and income data according to accepted appraisal practices.
-Completes market analyses using the CAMA (computer-assisted mass appraisal) system, comparing properties of similar size, age, location and description.
-Establishes reappraisal values that reflect current market conditions as of January 1.

Then reappraisal notices are mailed to every property owner in Davidson County.
It is important to remember that buyers and sellers in the market place establish market value — not the Assessor. The Assessor compares these verified sales to properties of similar size, age, location, and description to complete the evaluation process. This ensures that property values reflect current market conditions as of January 1.

How does the general maintenance of property affect reappraisal value?

The reappraisal value is not affected by the general maintenance of property. Repairs such as a new roof, fresh interior/exterior paint, or landscaping neither add to nor detract from the value in the Assessor’s records. While these types of repairs can be costly, they are considered to be normal maintenance expenses that all properties incur over time.

How does structural damage affect reappraisal value?

When structural damage causes property to be structurally unsound, the reappraisal value may be affected. A field inspection of the property is required to determine the extent of the impact.

What if property owners disagree with their reappraisal values?

A team of appraisers makes every effort to ensure that all unique characteristics of a property are considered in establishing market value. When property owners have a concern regarding their appraisal or classification and do not agree with the Assessor’s value, they should request an Informal Review.

The Informal Review is NOT an appeal. It is an opportunity for property owners to share information with the Assessor’s Office in order for their property values to reflect market value.

There are three ways to initiate an Informal Review:
1. Complete the Online Form. This is the fastest and most convenient way to initiate an informal review.
2. Call the Assessor’s Office at 615-862-6059.
3. Visit the Assessor’s Office.

To assist in the Informal Review, property owners should submit documentation that supports their opinion of the value of the property in question. Examples of such documentation include:

Sales prices of similar properties in the immediate area within the last three years.

-Recent private appraisal.
-Photos of the property.
-Any other information the property owner believes will assist appraisers in analyzing the property’s market value.

Documentation/information may be submitted by using the Online Form, by fax 615-862-6095, by mail, e-mail, or by dropping it off at the Assessor’s Office. Property owners should include their property’s parcel identification number for all pieces of documentation submitted.The property owner will be contacted regarding the results of their informal review.

For those property owners who disagree with the results of their informal review they may appeal to the Metro Board of Equalization, the appeals process is described below.

Here’s the appeal process:

1. Metro Board of Equalization (MBOE): The Board of Equalization is an independent body that meets beginning June 1. Failure to file an appeal could result in the assessment becoming final without further right of appeal.
2. State Board of Equalization (SBOE): If property owners disagree with the Metro Board of Equalization’s resolution, they may appeal to the SBOE, which meets as needed in Davidson County.

What is Market Value?

“Market Value” is defined as the most probable price, as of a specified date, in cash, or in terms equivalent to cash, or in other precisely revealed terms for which the specified property rights should sell after reasonable exposure in a competitive market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, with the buyer and seller each acting prudently, knowledgeably, and for self-interest, and assuming that neither is under undue duress.
By definition, “Market Value” is a theoretical concept. Many sales occur at prices other than the “Market Value.” Often the sale price is adjusted because of time pressures on the buyer or seller. Other factors that affect sale prices include owner-held mortgages and property transfers within families.

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