Every four to six years, as determined by the assessor with the county governing body’s approval, reappraisal of all real property and equalization of assessments are required in every Tennessee county unless the state board of equalization determines that reappraisal is unnecessary for a particular county. With the board’s approval, the program may be undertaken by the county property assessor and staff, the Tennessee Division of Property Assessments, or a professional firm employed for this purpose. Program costs are prorated among the state, counties, and cities. T.C.A. § 67-5-1601.
All property (real, personal, operating, and non-operating) of private utilities is reappraised by the comptroller of the treasury each year. T.C.A. §§ 67-5-1301–1302. As a result, in inflationary times the share of a jurisdiction’s taxes paid by utilities could grow for six years until the local reappraisal shifts a fair share of the burden back to homeowners and other locally appraised property owners. To prevent such tax shifting, the state board of equalization conducts sales ratio studies every two years to measure how up to date a county’s assessments are. The analysis takes a sample of properties that have recently been sold and compares actual sale prices to values on the county assessor’s books. The comptroller of the treasury uses the resulting sales ratios to adjust the taxable assessed value of the utility property it appraises. T.C.A. §§ 67-5-1605–1606. A similar process is prescribed for the state board of equalization to equalize the personal property assessment used by businesses and manufacturers. T.C.A. § 67-5-1509.
Any city lying in more than one county will be reappraised under a separate plan of reappraisal on a cycle determined by the board of equalization. The reappraisal will be done under contract with the state unless the city has a separate assessment office. T.C.A. § 67-5-1601(b).
T.C.A. § 67-5-1601 requires six-year reappraisal cycles. However, the state board of equalization may approve four-year cycles, and the assessor and county legislative body may allow five-year cycles. The board of equalization may extend the reappraisal cycle of a county beyond the six years to synchronize with a contiguous county’s cycle when a city lies partly in each county and contains property of the federal government for which in lieu of tax payments are being made. The statute also changes state funding of reappraisals to a per parcel grant. State grants to four- and five-year programs are limited to the amount required by a six-year program. The board of equalization will determine the initial schedule of review and reevaluation.