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Property Exemptions


Religious, charitable, scientific or nonprofit educational institutions may apply to have property owned by that organization exempt from property taxes if the property is currently being used exclusively to carry out one or more of the purposes for which the organization was created.

This can include allowing another exempt institution to use the property for a purpose for which that organization was created, provided the owning institution receives no more than one dollar ($1.00) in rent per year (the owner may receive a reasonable fee for maintenance and service).  The three key provisions are:

  • Owned by a religious, charitable, scientific or educational institution.
  • Currently being used for a purpose for which that organization exists.
  • The owning organization must apply to the State Board of Equalization and receive approval in writing.

The primary consideration is “current use”.  For example, if a church buys a vacant site with the intention of building a new church there in the future, the property would not be able to be exempted until the new building is completed and ready for use.

Applying For Exemption

Exemption application forms and instructions for completing them are available in the Assessor of Property office.  After the form is completed, one copy is filed with the State Board of Equalization for a decision and the other is filed with the Assessor of Property.  All applications and supporting documentation should be filed by May 20th of the tax year for which the exemption is being sought.  A separate application must be completed for each parcel of property being requested for consideration.  Copies of the following documents should accompany the organization’s application to the State Board, as well as the copy filed with the Assessor:

  • Deed of Ownership
  • Articles of Incorporation (if applicable)
  • Organization’s By Laws (if applicable)
  • I.R.S. Tax Exempt Letter
  • Income and Expense Statement or I.R.S. Information Return
  • Photograph (s) of the property

After receiving the application and other documentation, the State Board of Equalization will notify both the owner and the Assessor of Property in writing when a decision is reached in reference to the exemption of the property.  That notification will also state the date the exemption is to be effective.

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Property Assessor

City County Building
Suite 204
400 Main Street
Knoxville, TN 37902

Phone: 865-215-2360
Fax: 865-215-3671

Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Department Email