Taxes collected by the trustee are held in trust for the public, and therefore any disbursement, including refunds of overpaid of taxes, must be made in strict compliance with statutory authority. The trustee is authorized to make refunds of tax overpayments only upon receipt of certification from the assessor that the original assessment was in error. This refund must be made within 60 days after the receipt of certification from the assessor, and can be made even though the taxes were not paid under protest.1If the trustee receives the certification prior to the receipt of the tax payment, the taxes must be collected only on the corrected assessment.2
Tax payments, even overpayments, which are voluntarily made cannot be recovered by the taxpayer. A payment is voluntary unless made pursuant to an immediate and urgent necessity for making the payment. Payment made due to mistake of law or its application is a voluntary payment and cannot be recovered.3
1T.C.A. § 67-5-509.
2T.C.A. § 67-5-509. For prior law, see Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 87-90 (May 14, 1987) and Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 86-121 (July 15, 1986).
3Hertz Corp. V. County of Shelby, 667 S.W.2d 66 (Tenn. 1984).