Realtors applaud repeal of professional privilege tax

Hank Hayes • Jul 24, 2019 at 9:45 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Real estate brokers won’t have to pay the $400 professional privilege tax anymore, Tennessee Association of Realtors (TAR) lobbyist and Nashville attorney Russ Farrar told a Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR) meeting on Tuesday.

That news drew instant applause.

“After being on the table for a good number of years, they finally came up with the money,” Farrar noted. “The fiscal note (of repealing the tax) always kept (lawmakers) from passing (a repeal). ... The (Gov. Bill Lee) administration green-lighted it. Everybody wanted (the repeal).”

In the next legislative session, Farrar indicated, other fees and impact taxes counties impose on Realtors and home builders don’t need to go up.

“(Counties) seem to always turn to Realtors instead of spreading it out and making it a fair tax to everybody,” Farrar pointed out. “(Counties) start with the construction and real estate industries. We’re going to be watching out for that. ... The lower those fees are, the easier it is to sell a home. ... As the real estate economy goes, so goes the economy of the community.”

Farrar stressed the TAR initially opposed but changed its position to neutral concerning the “hands free” bill that became law and outlaws driving while holding a cell phone.

“Tennessee, believe it or not, has the worst accident rate for distracted driving than any state in the nation,” Farrar declared.

Concerning Wednesday’s state House speaker nomination, Farrar said the TAR won’t be endorsing anyone.

“We completely stay out of the internal politics of both the House and the Senate,” Farrar said. “There’s nothing for anyone to gain. Number two, we respect the members enough that they need to make their own choices without any influence from any trade association or other outside groups.”

The TAR has about 28,000 members across the state.