Rollback Taxes

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The assessor of property will compute the amount of taxes saved by the difference in present use value assessment and value assessment pursuant to T.C.A. § 67-5-601 et seq., for each of the preceding three years for agricultural and forest land, and for the preceding five years for open space land, and the assessor shall notify the trustee that such amount is payable, if (1) the land no longer qualifies as agricultural land, forest land, or open space land as defined in T.C.A. § 67-5-1004; (2) the owner of the land requests in writing that the classification as agricultural land, forest land, or open space land be withdrawn; (3) the land is covered by a duly recorded subdivision plat or an unrecorded plan of development and any portion is being developed; except that, where a recorded plat or an unrecorded plan of development contains phases or sections, only the phases or sections being developed are disqualified; (4) an owner fails to file an application as required by this part; (5) the land exceeds the acreage limitations of T.C.A. § 67-5-1003(3); or (6) the land is conveyed or transferred and the conveyance or transfer would render the status of the land exempt.1

If, under the provisions of T.C.A. § 67-5-1008(d)(1), only a portion of a parcel is subject to rollback taxes, the assessor must apportion the assessment of the parcel on the first tax roll prepared after the taxes become payable, and enter the apportioned amount attributable to that portion as a separately assessed parcel on the tax roll. Apportionment will be made for each of the years to which the rollback taxes apply.2

The rollback taxes due as the result of disqualification or withdrawal of the land from classification are the tax savings calculated under T.C.A. § 67-5-1008(d). Rollback taxes shall be payable from the date written notice is provided by the assessor, but shall not be delinquent until March 1 of the following year. When the assessor determines there is liability for rollback taxes, the assessor shall give written notice to the tax collecting official identifying the basis of the rollback taxes and the person the assessor finds to be responsible for payment, and the assessor shall provide a copy of the notice to the responsible person. Rollback taxes shall be a first lien on the disqualified property in the same manner as other property taxes, and shall also be a personal responsibility of the current owner or seller of the land as provided in this part. The assessor may void the rollback assessment, if it determined that the assessment was imposed in error. Liability for rollback taxes, but not property values, may be appealed to the state board of equalization by March 1 of the year following the notice by the assessor. Property values fixing the amount of rollback taxes may only be appealed as otherwise provided by law.3

If land that is classified under the Greenbelt Law as agricultural, forest, or open space land (or any portion thereof) is converted to a use other than those stipulated in the statute by virtue of a taking by eminent domain or other involuntary proceeding, except a tax sale, the land (or any portion thereof) involuntarily converted to another use is not subject to rollback taxes by the landowner, and the agency or body doing the taking will be liable for the rollback taxes. Property transferred and converted to an exempt or nonqualifying use shall be considered to have been converted involuntarily if the transferee or an agent for the transferee sought the transfer and had power of eminent domain.4

In the event that the land involuntarily converted to another use constitutes only a portion of a classified parcel on the assessment rolls, the assessor must apportion the assessment and enter the portion involuntarily converted as a separately assessed parcel on the appropriate portion of the assessment roll. Furthermore, for as long as the landowner continues to own the remaining portion of such parcel and for as long as the landowner's lineal descendants collectively own at least 50 percent of the remaining portion of such parcel, the remaining portion will not be disqualified from use value classification under the Green belt Law solely because it is made too small to qualify as the result of the involuntary proceeding.5

If the sale of agricultural, forest or open space land results in the property being disqualified due to conversion to an ineligible use or otherwise, the seller is liable for rollback taxes unless otherwise provided by in a written contract. If the buyer declares in writing at the time of sale an intention to continue the greenbelt classification but fails to file any form necessary to continue the classification within 90 days from the sale date, the rollback taxes  become the sole responsibility of the buyer.6

Property passing to a lineal descendant of a deceased greenbelt owner, by reason of the death of the greenbelt owner, are not subject to rollback solely because the total greenbelt acreage of the new owner exceeds the maximum under T.C.A. § 67-5-1003, or will exceed the maximum following the transfer. Property exceeding the limit in these circumstances will be disqualified from greenbelt classification, but will not be assessable for rollback unless other disqualifying circumstances occur before the property has been assessed at market value three years.7

If an assessor fails to carry out his or her duties in accordance with the provisions of the Greenbelt Law, all compensation to the assessor will be discontinued pursuant to the provisions of T.C.A. § 67-5-305.8

     1T.C.A. § 67-5-1008(d)(1).

     2T.C.A. § 67-5-1008(d)(4)(A) and (B).

     3T.C.A. § 67-5-1008(d)(3).  See also Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 79-517 (December 7, 1979).

     4T.C.A. § 67-5-1008(e)(1).  See also Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 85-035 (February 13, 1985).

     5T.C.A. § 67-5-1008(e)(2).

     6T.C.A. § 67-5-1008(f).  See also Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 87-27 (February 19, 1987);  Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 86-015 (January 23, 1986).

     7T.C.A. § 67-5-1008(h).

     8T.C.A. § 67-5-1010.