Reference Number: 
CTAS-1640

Authority.  T.C.A. §§ 67-4-601 through 67-4-606.

Description.  The General Assembly has provided a privilege tax on litigation, collected upon the commencement of a civil action, a finding or plea of guilty or submission to a fine in a criminal action, the filing of an appeal or writ of error or certiorari, judgment against the defendant in any original civil action brought by a city, county or the state or upon judgment or final decree against the appellee when the appellant is a city, county or the state.  Such tax is administered by the commissioner of revenue and collected by the clerks of Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, circuit courts, criminal courts, probate courts, county court, courts of law and equity, chancery courts, general sessions courts, city courts and any other inferior courts the General Assembly may create.

The following are the most common state privilege taxes upon litigation:

   1. Criminal charges; T.C.A. § 67-4-602(a) $29.50
  2. Civil suits in courts of record; T.C.A. § 67-4-602(b) $23.75
  3. Civil cases in general sessions; T.C.A. § 67-4-602(c) $17.75

When a general sessions court is exercising state court jurisdiction, except with regard to juvenile court, there is levied an additional privilege tax of $1 added to the $23.75 listed above.  

In all criminal charges in any state, county or municipal court for any violation of Title 55, Chapter 8, or for any violation of any ordinance governing the use of a public parking space there is levied an additional state litigation tax of $1.  

Additionally, T.C.A. § 67-4-602(h) imposes an additional privilege tax on litigation of $3.00 on all criminal charges, upon conviction or by order, instituted in any state or general sessions court, to be deposited in a special account in the state treasury to be known as the "Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification System Fund."

There is also an additional litigation tax of $2.00 imposed on all criminal charges, upon convicition or by order, instituted in the general sessions court of any county served by a judicial commissioner.

Collection. State litigation taxes are collected by the various court clerks. For services in collecting and remitting these taxes, clerks are entitled to a 6.75 percent commission. T.C.A. § 8-21-401. As this commission is a change to a uniform percentage from prior law, which provided for different commissions in different courts and counties, the Department of Revenue provided that clerks shall be held harmless and shall not receive a commission that is less than the commission received by the clerk in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005.