T.C.A. § 67-5-705 allows municipalities and counties to provide property tax relief to homeowners 65 years of age and older who have low income. The municipality must pass an ordinance to implement the freeze, which applies to the elderly homeowner’s principal residence. Taxes would be frozen at the “base tax,” which is the amount due in the year the taxpayer becomes eligible for the program and successfully applies. Improvements made or discovered after the tax base is established, however, would increase the taxes owed.
To qualify for the freeze, the taxpayer must be 65 years of age or older and have income, combined with that of any other owners of the residence, within the greater of the weighted average median household income for (1) age groups 65 to 74 and (2) age groups 75 and over, and the state tax relief income limit. The weighted average median household income for each county must be published annually by the comptroller. The taxpayer must apply annually to the tax collecting official, who approves or denies the application.
The comptroller will provide income verification and other services to implement this freeze, and municipalities and counties must pay the costs. Financial records are confidential but will be made available to officials who administer this program. A taxpayer who knowingly provides false information to take advantage of the program commits a Class A misdemeanor.
The maximum size of lots (five acres) eligible for the freeze and other rules for implementation of the program are established by the state Board of Equalization through the Division of Property Assessments.