The county board of equalization is the first level of administrative appeal for all complaints regarding the assessment, classification and valuation of property for tax purposes. Board duties include examining and equalizing county assessments, assuring that all taxable properties are included on the assessment lists, eliminating exempt properties from taxation, hearing complaints of aggrieved taxpayers, decreasing over-assessed property, increasing under-assessed property and correcting clerical mistakes. T.C.A. §§ 67-1-401 et seq., 67-5-1401 et seq.
Composition of the Board
At the April session in each even year, the county legislative body elects five “freeholders and taxpayers” from the different sections of the county to serve as the county board of equalization.1(Note: T.C.A. § 67-1-401 contains numerous exceptions for counties and cities specified through population class.) Members of the board of equalization serve two year terms. If the county legislative body fails to elect these members, then the county mayor makes the appointments and fills the vacancies as they occur.2Magistrates along with state, municipal or county legislative and executive officials, as well as their employees, are ineligible to serve, except in some circumstances in Shelby County.3
1T.C.A. § 67-1-401(a).
2T.C.A. § 67-1-401(b).
3T.C.A. § 67-1-401(c). See Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 90-106 (December 27, 1990) which states that it is a prohibited conflict of interest for a county trustee, a municipal tax collector, or an employee of either to sit on a county board of equalization. See also Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. U92-82 (June 30, 1992) which opines that this provision regarding Shelby County is constitutionally suspect.