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Tennessee Property Tax Updates

UPDATED september 2018

High Taxpayer Expectations For New Shelby County, Tennessee Assessor

On September 1, 2018, Melvin Burgess Jr. took office as the new Assessor of Property for Shelby County, Tennessee. He succeeds Cheyenne Johnson, who has served as Assessor for the past 10 years. Burgess new job: to fairly assess all taxable property in the largest county in Tennessee. Shelby County encompasses the City of Memphis, with the highest property tax rate in the state. Good decisions by the Shelby County Assessor are crucial, as the tax burden is heavy.

What do we know about the new Assessor? He served for 8 years on the County Commission. He has a background in accounting and was the director of internal audit for Shelby County Schools. He previously served on the Industrial Development Board of Memphis and Shelby County, which grants PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of-tax) incentives.

What do the Taxpayers of Shelby County want from the new Assessor? Fairness in the tax appeal process is vital, so we hope for an Assessor that will not attempt to use his influence to deny fair process to the Taxpayer. We hope for an Assessor that will not appeal value reductions made by the Shelby County Board of Equalization. We hope for an Assessor who does not contend values higher than his original valuation in retaliation for Taxpayer appeals. We hope for an Assessor that will encourage a culture of fairness and openness, and who will listen to and consider the input of Taxpayers. We hope for an Assessor who wants to arrive at the right answer, instead of defending his valuation at all costs.

We have high expectations for the new Assessor, and we will be watching his performance to decide whether or not he meets them.

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Evans Petree PC
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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