Teresa Kinsler, the current property assessor, is required by the Tennessee Constitution to list and value all property subject to ad valorem taxation on an assessment roll each year.
The “ad valorem” basis for taxation means that all property should be taxed “according to value” which is the definition of ad valorem. The assessed value is a percentage of “fair market value” or “use value” as prescribed by law. Property is assessed as follows:
- Residential Land-25% of its “fair market value” or “use value”
- Commercial Property-40% of its “fair market value”
- Personal Property-30% of its “fair market value”
To arrive at “fair market value” for your property the assessor must know what “willing sellers” and “willing buyer” are doing in the marketplace. She must also keep current on cost of construction in the area and any changes in zoning, financing, and economic conditions which may affect property values. The assessor uses the three nationally recognized appraisal approaches to value, those being cost, income, and market. This data is then correlated into a final value estimate by the appraiser. After your appraisal has been made, the appropriate percentage of value required by law is calculated as your “assessed value.”
When additional taxes are voted by the people, an individual’s property tax bill will increase. Also, when market value increases, naturally, so does the assessed value. If you were to make improvements to your existing property, for instance, add a garage, an additional room, or a swimming pool, the “fair market value” and, therefore, the assessed value would also increase. The assessor has not created the value. She simply has the legal and moral responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property.
Taxable property is divided into two classes, real property and personal property. Real property includes land and all buildings, structures, and improvements to the land. Personal property is machinery and equipment, fixtures, furniture, and other items that are movable in nature used by a business.
Assessor Teresa Kinsler and her team are legally and ethically obligated to conduct
their jobs fairly and impartially. No one gets any special favors, and no one gets
singled out for unfair treatment.