2018 Tennessee Code
Title 5 - Counties
Chapter 8 - Receipt and Management of Funds
Part 1 - General Provisions
§ 5-8-102. Privilege tax -- Motor vehicle tax.

Universal Citation: TN Code § 5-8-102 (2018)
  • (a) Privilege Taxes Authorized. Each county is empowered to levy privilege taxes upon merchants and such other vocations, occupations or businesses as are declared to be privileges, not exceeding in amount that levied by the state for state purposes.

  • (b) Motor Vehicle Tax -- Authorization. Each county is empowered to levy for county purposes by action of its governing body a motor vehicle privilege tax as a condition precedent to the operation of a motor vehicle within the county. The tax may be levied on any motor vehicle taxable by the state.

  • (c) Motor Vehicle Tax -- Imposition.

    • (1) No resolution authorizing such motor vehicle privilege tax shall take effect unless it is approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the county legislative body at two (2) consecutive, regularly scheduled meetings or unless it is approved by a majority of the number of qualified voters of the county voting in an election on the question of whether or not the tax should be levied.

    • (2)

      • (A) Except as provided in subdivision (c)(2)(B), if there is a petition of registered voters amounting to ten percent (10%) of the votes cast in the county in the last gubernatorial election that is filed with the county election commission within thirty (30) days of final approval of such resolution by the county legislative body, then the county election commission shall call an election on the question of whether or not the tax should be levied in accordance with this section.

      • (B) In any county having a population of not less than eight hundred twenty-five thousand (825,000) nor more than eight hundred thirty thousand (830,000), according to the 1990 federal census or any subsequent federal census, if there is a petition of ten percent (10%) of the qualified voters who voted in the county in the last gubernatorial election that is filed with the county election commission within thirty (30) days of final approval of such resolution by the county legislative body, then the county election commission shall call an election on the question of whether or not the tax should be levied in accordance with this section.

    • (3) The local governing body shall direct the county election commission to call such election to be held in a regular election or in a special election for the purpose of approving or rejecting such tax levy.

    • (4) The ballots used in such election shall have printed on them the substance of such resolution and the voters shall vote for or against its approval.

    • (5) The votes cast on the question shall be canvassed and the results proclaimed by the county election commission and certified by it to the local governing body.

    • (6) The qualifications of voters voting on the question shall be the same as those required for participation in general elections.

    • (7) All laws applicable to general elections shall apply to the determination of the approval or rejection of this tax levy.

  • (d) Motor Vehicle Tax -- Requirements and Limitations.

    • (1) Any disabled veteran who has one hundred percent (100%) permanent total disability from a service-connected cause or any former prisoner-of-war, as determined by the United States veterans administration, is exempt from the motor vehicle privilege tax imposed by this section or by private act upon submission of evidence of such disability to the officer in the county charged with the responsibility for collecting such tax.

    • (2) In each county that has levied or may hereafter levy a motor vehicle privilege tax under either this chapter or by private act, the duration or term for which the privilege is issued, method of collection, proration of the amount chargeable for a period of either more or less than a calendar year interval, and the grace period allowable shall be the same as that provided for in § 55-4-104 for payment of state motor vehicle registration fees for all such vehicles described in that section. During the period of transition from the current collection procedure and tax interval to the alternate interval method, each county shall use the same system of fee proration for applicable vehicles as that applied by the state during its transitional period. No resolution of the local governing body or election on the question by qualified voters of the county is required for implementation of these specific provisions.

    • (3) In each county that has levied or may hereafter levy a motor vehicle privilege tax under either this chapter or by private act, the county legislative body shall determine by resolution whether a resident who operates a motor vehicle in the county shall have a decal or emblem affixed upon the motor vehicle as evidence of compliance and, if a decal or emblem is required by the county legislative body, the place on the motor vehicle at which it shall be affixed. Any person who fails to display the decal or emblem required by a county legislative body under this subdivision (d)(3) commits a Class C misdemeanor. However, § 7-51-702, concerning nonresident motorists, shall remain in effect.

    • (4) Any OEM headquarters company may make application to the commissioner of revenue to be exempt from the motor vehicle privilege tax imposed by this section or by private act; provided, however, that the exemption granted under this subdivision (d)(4) shall apply only with respect to OEM headquarters company vehicles. For purposes of this subdivision (d)(4), "OEM headquarters company" and "OEM headquarters company vehicle" have the same meaning as provided in title 55, chapter 1.

    • (5)

      • (A) For purposes of this subdivision (d)(5), "antique motor vehicle" means any antique motor vehicle, as defined in § 55-4-111, for which a permanent antique motor vehicle registration plate has been or is issued pursuant to § 55-4-111(b) and title 55, chapter 4, part 2.

      • (B) In each county that has levied or may levy a motor vehicle privilege tax under either this chapter or by private act, the county may, by action of its governing body, either:

        • (i) Exempt any owner of an antique motor vehicle who resides in the county from liability for the tax; or

        • (ii) In lieu of paying the tax annually, require any owner of an antique motor vehicle who resides in the county to pay the tax on a one-time-only basis upon issuance of a permanent decal or other device pursuant to subdivision (d)(5)(D).

      • (C) No resolution authorizing an exemption pursuant to subdivision (d)(5)(B)(i) or requiring the one-time payment of the tax pursuant to subdivision (d)(5)(B)(ii), whichever is applicable, shall take effect unless it is approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the county legislative body at two (2) consecutive, regularly scheduled meetings or unless it is approved by a majority of the number of qualified voters of the county voting in an election conducted in accordance with subsection (c) on the question of whether or not owners should be exempted from the tax or liable for the one-time payment of the tax, whichever is applicable.

      • (D)

        • (i) In any county that approves a resolution requiring the payment of a one-time tax pursuant to subdivision (d)(5)(B)(ii), any owner who has been previously issued a decal or other device evidencing payment of the tax pursuant to this chapter or by private act and any owner who applies for initial issuance of such a decal or device shall be entitled to issuance of a permanent decal or other device upon payment of a one-time-only tax and the fee imposed by subdivision (d)(5)(D)(iii).

        • (ii) The permanent decal or other device shall be nonrenewable and nontransferable and shall be valid so long as the permanent antique motor vehicle registration plate issued to the owner is valid pursuant to § 55-4-111(b)(2).

        • (iii) The county clerk may charge a one-time-only fee for the initial issuance of the permanent decal or other device in an amount sufficient to defray the costs of implementing this subdivision (d)(5)(D).

    • (6) A veteran or active-duty service member of the armed services is exempt from the motor vehicle privilege tax imposed by this section or by private act for a motor vehicle sold, given, or donated to the veteran or service member if:

      • (A) The veteran or service member has a service-connected disability as described in 38 U.S.C. § 3901;

      • (B) The veteran or service member receives a grant from the United States department of veterans affairs, pursuant to 38 U.S.C. §§ 3901-3904; and

      • (C) The grant is used to provide or assist in providing the vehicle to the veteran or service member.

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