Appraisal Process

The primary responsibility of the Property Assessor is to discover, list, classify, and value all real, personal or mixed property within the jurisdiction of Williamson County for tax purposes.

To ensure that all property that should legally be on the county assessment roll is properly listed, classified, and valued, it must first be located and identified.

The task of discovery is a constant attempt to capture all new construction, additions, and demolition of existing improvements, as well as changes to land use and configuration.

To accomplish this, assessment personnel track building permits, completion notices, property sales, zoning changes, and a host of other sources for information about property status.

Field inspections of all subdivisions and rural sectors of the county on a regular basis help the Assessor keep records as up-to-date as possible with regard to property changes.

Discovery of personal property is accomplished through a reporting schedule that businesses are required to file each year by March 1, listing all personal property or updating those schedules already on file.

After locating property, the Assessor's office must accurately record and list all of that property’s characteristics to properly value the land and all improvements.

All structures and extra features are measured, and amenities or features that affect the market value of the improvements such as bathrooms, interior and exterior trim, floors finish, roofing type, etc. are noted for quantity and quality.

After all data has been collected on a property, the information is compared to all similar properties using a Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (cama) system that contains the property characteristics of all land and buildings in the county.

Along with assigning a value to property, the Assessor also establishes the classification or use category for each property, which determines the assessment level that will be used in taxation for that property.

Tennessee law establishes the following assessment levels for different property classes:
  • Commercial and Industrial - 40%
  • Exempt - 0%
  • Farm - 25%
  • Personal Property - 30%
  • Public Utility - 55% (both real and personal)
  • Residential - 25%
The laws governing the tax appraisal process in Tennessee are based upon the same principles and procedures that are used throughout the appraisal profession. There are three basic approaches to the valuation of real property:
  • The Cost Approach involves estimating the replacement cost of a structure, and adjusting that estimate to account for depreciation.
  • The Income Approach is an analysis of a property's value based on its capacity to generate revenue for the owner.
  • The Market Approach involves comparison of a property to other properties with similar characteristics that have recently been sold.

The goal of the Assessor is to estimate fair market value for all property in the county. Fair market value is defined as how much a property would sell for, in an open market, under normal conditions.

To determine market values, the assessor must be familiar with all aspects of the local real estate market, such as:
  • Current financing charges for borrowing money to buy or build property
  • Current sale prices of different types of properties
  • Local construction and repair costs-
  • Normal operating expenses
  • Typical rents