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Local Referendum for Local Sales Tax

Reference Number: MTAS-731
Reviewed Date: 12/16/2022

No local sales tax or any increase in the local sales tax can become effective until approved in an election in the city or county levying it. T.C.A. §§ 67-6-705 and 67-6-706. If holding a special election on the issue, the county election commission will hold an election not fewer than 75 days nor more than 90 days after receiving a certified copy of the ordinance or resolution. T.C.A. § 2-3-204(a). For regular municipal or state election dates, the deadline for submitting the ordinance to the election commission is 75 days prior to the election. T.C.A. § 2-3-204(b). If the majority vote is for the ordinance or resolution, it becomes operative on the day the election commission makes its official canvass. No tax can be collected until the first day of a month occurring at least 30 days after the operative date. T.C.A. § 67-6-706(a)(3).

If the county legislative body adopts a resolution to levy the tax at the same rate already in effect in a city, the election is open only to voters outside the city. If the county tax is at a higher rate than the city tax, city voters also participate in the election. T.C.A. § 67-6-706(b)(1).

If a city ordinance or a county resolution is rejected in a local referendum, that city or county cannot hold another sales tax election for six months. (An exception is that the waiting period is one year in counties with populations of not more than 750,000 nor less than 700,000 [Shelby] and not more than 278,000 nor less than 250,000 [Hamilton] according to the 1970 and any subsequent federal census.) T.C.A. § 67-6-706(b)(2).