Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 67: Taxes and Licenses

Chapter 4: Privilege and Excise Taxes

Part 6: General Revenue LawLitigation Tax

TCA 67-4-601: Rights of local governments preserved -- Amount of tax -- Liability -- Application -- Scott County pilot project.


(a) It is the expressed intent of the general assembly that counties and municipalities shall continue to have the authority to levy a local litigation tax and that no provision of chapter 488 of the Acts of 1981 shall be construed to limit or repeal such authority.

(b) (1) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, each county by resolution of its legislative body, adopted by two-thirds (2/3) majority vote, may levy a privilege tax on litigation in all civil and criminal cases instituted in the county, other than those instituted in municipal courts, in addition to all other such privilege taxes authorized by law. Any tax levy adopted under this subsection (b) shall not exceed ten dollars ($10.00) per case; and the proceeds shall be used exclusively for the purposes of jail or workhouse construction, reconstruction or upgrading, or to retire debt, including principal and interest and related expenses, on such construction, reconstruction or upgrading or for courthouse renovation.

(2) Any tax levy adopted under this subsection (b) shall only be effective until such time as all expenses of the construction, reconstruction, upgrading or renovation project have been paid, or until such time as the debt for such project has been retired. For the purposes of this subsection (b), debt includes principal, interest, origination costs and related expenses, as well as any debt issued for the purposes of refinancing the original indebtedness.

(3) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the state shall not be liable for or pay the tax levied under this subsection (b) in any civil or criminal case on behalf of any individual because such individual is indigent.

(4) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, this subsection (b) shall not apply to any publicly owned hospital in any county having a population of not less than seventy-three thousand six hundred (73,600) and not more than seventy-three thousand nine hundred (73,900), if the county commission for such county by majority vote provides that any such hospital shall be exempt.

(5) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, upon the adoption of a resolution by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of a county legislative body, a privilege tax on litigation in all civil and criminal cases may be levied in an amount not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per case.

(6) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, upon the adoption of a resolution by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of a county legislative body, a privilege tax on litigation in all civil and criminal cases may be levied in an amount not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per case, to be used exclusively for court house security, in addition to those purposes identified in subdivision (b)(1).

(7) (A) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a county may adopt the privilege tax in subdivision (b)(5) or (b)(6), or both.

(B) (i) Notwithstanding the exclusive use restriction in subdivision (b)(6), a county that adopts the privilege tax in subdivision (b)(5) or (b)(6), or both, may also adopt a resolution by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the legislative body, to use those funds, in addition to other purposes as permitted under this section, for the purpose of obtaining and maintaining software and hardware associated with collecting, receiving and maintaining records for law enforcement agencies, including county sheriff offices, jails and municipal or metropolitan police departments. This project may include computerizing agency operations, replacing existing systems with high technology systems that collect and share data on criminal activity and historical data with other law enforcement agencies, including fusion centers, and collecting and sharing biometric information for positive criminal or inmate identification. New or replacement systems shall incorporate modern software concepts and architecture, which shall include n-tier architecture, source code compliant with object-oriented programming concepts, and the use of a relational database management system for data storage.

(ii) Any use of a privilege tax for purposes under this subdivision (b)(7)(B) shall only be permitted until such time as all expenses for the purchase, installation, training, maintenance and associated costs for the project as described under subdivision (b)(7)(B)(i) have been paid, or until such time as the debt for that project has been retired.

(iii) For purposes of this subdivision (b)(7)(B), "debt" includes principal, interest, origination costs and related expenses, as well as any debt issued for the purposes of refinancing the original indebtedness.

(8) Any legislative body that had adopted a resolution by a two-thirds (2/3) vote under subdivision (b)(5) or (b)(6) prior to August 27, 2008, shall not be required to adopt another resolution for this section to continue to apply in such county.

(9) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, in any county having a population of not less than sixteen thousand eight hundred (16,800) nor more than sixteen thousand nine hundred (16,900), according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census, upon the adoption of a resolution by two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the county legislative body, a privilege tax on litigation in all civil and criminal cases may be levied in an amount not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per case to be used for equipment and personnel costs of the county sheriff's department or for those purposes identified in subdivision (b)(1).

(c) (1) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a pilot project concerning drug testing in public schools may be conducted in accordance with this subsection (c).

(2) For the purposes of such pilot project, Scott County, or any municipality within such county, is authorized, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of its legislative body, to levy an additional litigation tax per case, to be set by the county commission or municipal legislative body, as applicable, and to be denominated as part of the court costs, in matters before the local general sessions, juvenile, and municipal courts.

(3) Any revenue generated by Scott County, or a municipality within such county, pursuant to subdivision (c)(2), shall be used exclusively to support local nonprofit drug testing programs authorized to operate in the public school system, and shall be distributed on a monthly basis by the county or municipality to such authorized local nonprofit drug testing program.

(4) The taxes levied by this subsection (c) shall be in addition to any other taxes levied on litigation.

(5) The department of education is authorized to request information from Scott County on the results of the pilot project, and to recommend to the general assembly, or other local education agency, any element of the pilot project which may have statewide applicability.

(d) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, any county having a population of not less than sixteen thousand six hundred (16,600) nor more than sixteen thousand seven hundred (16,700), according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census, may, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of its legislative body, levy an additional litigation tax of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) in all criminal cases instituted in the county. Such tax is in addition to all other such privilege taxes authorized by law. Any revenue collected pursuant to this subsection (d) shall be deposited in the county general fund for the sole purpose of providing grants for services in support of physically and sexually abused children.

(e) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, any county having a population of not less than thirty nine thousand fifty (39,050) nor more than thirty nine thousand one hundred fifty (39,150), according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census, may, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of its legislative body, levy an additional litigation tax of five dollars ($5.00) in all civil and criminal cases instituted in the county. Such tax is in addition to all other such privilege taxes authorized by law. Any revenue collected pursuant to this subsection (e) shall be deposited in the county general fund for the sole purpose of providing grants for services to children provided by the Tennessee Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (CASA).

(f) (1) In addition to any other tax imposed pursuant to this chapter, there is levied a privilege tax on litigation in all civil and criminal cases instituted in the general sessions court in any county having a population of not less than thirty-five thousand six hundred (35,600) nor more than thirty-five thousand seven hundred (35,700), according to the 2010 federal census or any subsequent federal census, in an amount not to exceed four dollars seventy-five cents ($4.75) and upon the adoption of a resolution by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the county legislative body.

(2) Notwithstanding the apportionment provisions of SC 67-4-606, any revenue collected pursuant to this subsection (f) shall be deposited in the county general fund, with the proceeds to be used exclusively for the funding of the general sessions court, and for ensuring compliance with fire codes for the existing courthouse justice center facilities. No proceeds derived from the tax shall be used to increase or decrease the salary of the general sessions judge during such judge's term in office. All expenditures made for courthouse justice center facilities in accordance with this subsection (f) shall be administered by the county sheriff, subject to the appropriation of funds for such purposes by the county legislative body.

(3) No privilege tax shall be levied on litigation in accordance with this subsection (f) on or after July 1, 2020; provided, however, that this subdivision (f)(3) shall not be construed to absolve any person of liability for any litigation tax duly imposed by this subsection (f) prior to July 1, 2020.

History: Acts 1937, ch. 108, art. 2, SC 2; C. Supp. 1950, SC 1248.3 (Williams, SC 1248.119); impl. am. Acts 1959, ch. 9, SC 14; Acts 1981, ch. 488, SC 7; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), SC 67-4101; Acts 2000, ch. 886, SCSC 1, 2; 2001, ch. 225, SCSC 1, 2; 2004, ch. 861, SC 1; 2004, ch. 945, SC 1; 2006, ch. 958, SCSC 1-15; 2007, ch. 146, SCSC 1-3; 2008, ch. 692, SCSC 1-3; 2008, ch. 870, SCSC 1, 2; 2008, ch. 961, SCSC 1, 2; 2008, ch. 1187, SC 1; 2011, ch. 496, SC 1; 2012, ch. 659, SC 1; 2013, ch. 450, SC 1.