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Correction of Erroneous Assessments

The assessor of property must certify in writing a corrected or revised assessment to the trustee, or city tax collector in the case of city taxes, whenever the assessor discovers, or it has been called to the assessor's attention, that there has been an error or omission in the listing, description, classification or assessed value of property or any other error or omission in the tax rolls held by the trustee or city tax collector.1The assessor must certify to the trustee or city tax collector the facts and the reasons for the change in the assessment, and the tax must be collected upon the revised assessment.2The State Board of Equalization may request a copy of the assessor's certification.3If the tax computed on an erroneous basis of valuation or assessment has been paid prior to the assessor's certification of the corrected assessment, the trustee or city tax collector must, within 60 days after receipt of the certification from the assessor, refund to the taxpayer that portion of such tax paid which resulted from the erroneous assessment. The refund is to be made without the necessity of payment under protest or such other requirements as usually pertain to refunds of taxes unjustly or illegally collected.4

Correction of assessments must be requested by the taxpayer, or initiated by the assessor, prior to March 1, no more than the second year following the tax year for which the correction is to be made.5For example, correction of an erroneous assessment for the 2010 tax year would have to be initiated before March 1 of 2012. If additional taxes are due as a result of the corrected assessment, they are not delinquent until 60 days after the date notice of the corrected assessment is sent to the taxpayer. Once a suit has been filed to collect delinquent taxes pursuant to T.C.A. § 67-5-2405, the assessment and levy are deemed valid and are not subject to correction.6If the assessor does not correct an error in an assessment within 30 days after the request, or if the correction results in an increase in an assessment, the aggrieved taxpayer may appeal directly to the State Board of Equalization;7alternatively, the taxpayer may go through the regular process by appealing to the county board of equalization.8A defect in assessment, levy, or tax procedure will not affect the validity of a decision unless it results in a denial of minimum constitutional guarantees.9

It is important to note that the only errors or omissions which may be corrected under this provision are those involving obvious clerical mistakes, ascertainable from the face of the official tax and assessment records and involving no judgment or discretion by the assessor.  Examples of correctable mistakes include the name or address of an owner, the location or physical description of the property, misplacement of a decimal point or mathematical miscalculation, errors of classification, and duplicate assessments. Matters of opinion by the assessor and clerical mistakes in tax reports or schedules filed by a taxpayer are not correctable under this procedure.10

     1T.C.A. § 67-5-509(c)(1).

     2T.C.A. § 67-5-509(c)(2).

     3T.C.A. § 67-5-509(c)(3).

     4T.C.A. § 67-5-509(a). 

     5T.C.A. § 67-5-509(d).

     6T.C.A. § 67-5-509(d).

     7T.C.A. § 67-5-509(e).

     8Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 96-077 (April 24, 1996).

     9State v. Delinquent Taxpayers, 785 S.W.2d 819 (Tenn.Ct.App. 1989); T.C.A. § 67-5-509(b).

     10T.C.A. § 67-5-509(f).  For prior law, see Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 76-07 (June 25, 1976) and Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 87-90 (May 14, 1987).