Proper Fees for Recording or Filing

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The register is not obligated to receive any deed or other document whereupon a fee attaches unless the fees accompany the document.  T.C.A. §§ 8-13-111; 47-9-403.  Registers are not allowed to receive any fees or other compensation for any service other than those expressly provided by law.  T.C.A. § 8-21-101.  In most cases, the fee must accompany the instrument, but T.C.A. § 12-2-106 requires registers to extend credit to the Commissioner of Finance and Administration for recording documents for the State of Tennessee and to submit a bill for the same.  Also, the register must extend credit to the United States for recording fees related to notices of federal liens and certificates discharging the federal liens.  T.C.A. § 66-21-201.  If a question arises as to the proper fee to charge for the service of a register, the register may apply to a court to determine any question arising under the law.  T.C.A. § 8-21-105.

The most basic statute relating to Register’s fees is T.C.A. § 8-21-1001.  Other fees are generally found with the statutes relating to the subject matter, e.g., UCC instruments or corporate charters.

The register must also adopt a policy setting out the procedure to be followed in cases where fees accompanying an instrument for recording exceed the required amount.  T.C.A. § 8‑13‑111.  The procedure must include one (1) or more of the following:

  1. Establishing a credit, debit or a copy account for individual customers; 
  2. Contacting the person or entity tendering the instrument to get specific instructions regarding the excess fee; 
  3. Retaining as fees of the register's office a reasonable overage amount; or 
  4. Registering every eligible instrument and refunding excess fees, less a reasonable amount of the excess payments retained as fees of the office.