Any owner of land may apply for its classification as forest land by filing a written application with the assessor of property. The application must be filed by March 1. Reapplication thereafter is not required so long as the ownership as of the assessment date remains unchanged. Property that qualified as forest land the year before under different ownership is disqualified if the new owner does not timely apply. The assessor must send a notice of disqualification to these owners, but must accept a late application if filed within 30 days of the notice of disqualification and accompanied by a late application fee of $50.1
The assessor shall determine whether the land is forest land, and if such a determination is made, the assessor shall classify and include it as such on the county tax roll.2In determining whether the land is forest land, the assessor must take into account, among other things, the acreage of the land, the amount and type of timber on the land, the actual and potential growth rate of the timber, and the management practices being applied to the land and to the timber on it. The assessor may request the advice of the state forester in determining whether the land should be classified as forest land.3
Any person aggrieved by the denial of any application to the assessor of property for designation of land as forest land may appeal to the state forester. The state forester will examine the land, and may have access to the original application filed with the assessor, and must determine if the land is forest land. If the state forester determines that it is, the state forester must notify the owner of the land and the assessor, who must classify the land as forest land and include it as such on the tax rolls of the county.4
The landowner, or the assessor, may appeal the decision of the state forester to the chancery court for the county. Such appeal must be taken within 90 days after the issuance of the determination by the state forester. The landowner and the assessor have the same rights and remedies for appeal and relief as are provided in the general statutes with respect to appeals from boards of tax equalization.5
1T.C.A. § 67-5-1006(a)(1).
2T.C.A. § 67-5-1006(a)(2).
3T.C.A. § 67-5-1006(b)(1) and (2).
4T.C.A. § 67-5-1006(d)(1) - (3).
5T.C.A. § 67-5-1006(e)(1) - (3).