Council eyes tax freeze program for city

By LARRY C. BOWERS
Posted 11/15/17

A much-anticipated presentation was made at the Cleveland City Council work session earlier this week, but it was conducted over a minimal  period of time due to other presentations. Ken …

This item is available in full to subscribers

Council eyes tax freeze program for city

Posted

A much-anticipated presentation was made at the Cleveland City Council work session earlier this week, but it was conducted over a minimal  period of time due to other presentations. 


Ken Morrell of the Division of Property Assessments for the Tennessee Comptroller's Office, was in town for a discussion of  tax freeze options for the city to consider.


Bradley County implemented a tax freeze for its senior citizens several years ago, after the Act became law in 2007.


The city's senior residents are hopeful a tax freeze, if offered, will, offset a recent property tax increase.


That increase, combined with Bradley County's reappraisal this year, has resulted in a substantial increase in taxation, especially for elderly citizens on a fixed income.


A few of these seniors attended Monday's Council meeting.


Morrell said there are relief possibilities in the State Constitution, and 23 counties and 32 cities are offering a tax freeze. He said his office compiles statistics on these communities as to the annual expense, and benefits, of such offerings.


He told city officials there are similarities between a tax freeze and tax relief.


He said the tax amount to be frozen would stay the same from the time the application is filed forward, unless there is physical change to the property. An annual registration is also required.


Council wants staff is to put together a proposal for consideration, with assistance from Morrell's office.


The possibility of a tax freeze has been in place in Tennessee for more than a decade. 


 In November 2006, Tennessee voters approved an amendment to Article II, Section 28 of the Tennessee Constitution giving the General Assembly the authority by general law to authorize counties and/or municipalities to implement a local option property tax freeze for taxpayers 65 years of age or older.


In its 2007 session, the 105th General Assembly enacted the Property Tax Freeze Act,  which establishes the tax freeze and authorizes the legislative body of any county and/or municipality to adopt the property tax freeze program. The Act became effective on July 1, 2007.


Homeowners qualifying for the program can have property taxes on their principal residence frozen at a base tax amount, which is the amount of taxes owed in the year they first qualify for the program.


Thereafter, as long as the owner continues to qualify for the program, and their physical property does not change, the amount of property taxes owed for that property will not change, even if there is a property tax rate increase.


In order to qualify, the homeowner must file an application annually and must:


• Own their principal place of residence in a participating county and/or city;


• Be 65 years of age or older by the end of the year in which the application is filed; and


• Have an income from all sources that does not exceed the county income limit established for that tax year


In counties or municipalities participating in the Tax Freeze Program, application may be made to the county Trustee or city collecting official.


The state Comptroller’s Office will calculate the income limit for each county annually using a formula outlined in state law.


Situations where the base tax amount would change for a homeowner are:


• When improvements are made to the property resulting in an increase in its value; and


• When the homeowner sells the home and purchases another residence.


The tax freeze is available only on the principal place of residence of the qualifying homeowner located in a participating county or city.


For more information on the tax freeze in Bradley County, and the possibility of a city of Cleveland tax freeze, contact Laurie Pinkleton, administrative county specialist, Division of Property Assessments, at 615-401-7802.




Inset Text:


He said the tax amount to be frozen would stay the same from the time the application is filed forward, unless there is physical change to the property. An annual registration is also required.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

X

Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE

Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE

We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.

If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.

Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE