In the next few days, Bedford County property owners will begin receiving their reappraisal notices. Property values in the county have risen in the five years since the last reappraisal, and it’s common for owners who get their notice (and who aren’t looking to sell their property) to become alarmed, thinking a higher property value automatically leads to a higher tax bill.
It doesn’t work that way.
Bedford County properties are reappraised every five years. That process is market-driven. The assessor’s office looks at what properties are selling for across the county.
In Tennessee, the reappraisal process is supposed to be revenue-neutral. Bedford County’s property rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year was $2.66 per $100 assessed value. But, to account for the increased property values, commissioners will use a much lower tax rate, called the “certified tax rate,” as their starting point when they set 2021-22 budgets and tax rates. That certified tax rate hasn’t been officially locked in, but Assessor of Property Ronda Clanton says that the preliminary estimate is that it will be $1.9657 per $100 assessed value. Ideally, the certified tax rate will bring in about the same amount of money when applied to the new, higher property values that the old rate brought in when applied to the old property values.
If county government needed to raise taxes for some special situation, it could still set a rate higher than the certified tax rate. But that wouldn’t be the fault of reappraisal, and the county would have to meet special requirements to inform the public about exactly what was happening. Clanton said the county has only had to exceed the certified tax rate once in the past 25 years – in 2016, when the county was faced with funding two large building projects.
It’s also possible that reappraisal could affect your tax bill if your individual property value rose faster or slower than the county-wide average.
But in general, reappraisal should not be a cause for alarm. For most property owners, that higher appraised value will not lead to a dramatically-higher tax bill.
Bedford County Financial Management Committee and the county finance office will work to prepare a budget and tax rates for approval by the full county commission before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
Property owners are also reminded that there’s a difference between appraised and assessed value. Your appraised value is the amount of money your property might bring if it were put up for sale. That appraised value is then multiplied by 25 percent (for residential or agricultural property) or 40 percent (for commercial property) to determine the assessed value. So if your home had an appraised value of $100,000, it would have an assessed value of $25,000 – and it’s that assessed value that would be used to figure the tax bill.
For more information about property appraisals, call the assessor’s office at 931-684-6390 or go to comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/pa.html.