Property Tax Group

The Property Tax Group (“PTG”) at Evans Petree is an exceptionally experienced team of property tax professionals that is uniquely qualified to provide comprehensive solutions to property tax issues.

Exceptionally Experienced

Evans Petree has represented taxpayers since the early 1970s, and the property tax professionals in the PTG have combined property tax experience of over 150 years.  We have successfully resolved hundreds of thousands of cases over the years.  This experience is crucial in identifying and managing issues that affect property tax liability.

The PTG has experience at every level of the property tax process, including negotiations with local assessors, appeals before county and state boards of equalization, cases in the state court system, and even the successful representation of the taxpayer in Memphis Bank & Trust v. Garner, a landmark property tax case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The PTG’s experience is magnified by our active membership and participation in the American Property Tax Counsel (APTC).  The APTC is a national affiliation of independent property tax law firms.  Membership is limited to the preeminent property tax law firm in each state and is by invitation only.  Each firm undergoes a rigorous screening process.  Our membership allows us to associate with local counsel in other states with proven expertise to ensure the best possible representation of our clients in any area of the country.

Uniquely Qualified

Evans Petree is unique among law firms because it is one of the only firms in the Mid-South with a practice group dedicated solely to property taxes.  The firm has 5 lawyers in the PTG who work exclusively on property tax matters.

The PTG is unique among property tax professionals because we employ lawyers.  While we achieve great results through negotiations with local assessors and appeals to county and state boards of equalization, having lawyers allows us to pursue cases beyond these levels to the court system if necessary.  Other property tax representatives without lawyers cannot appeal cases beyond the administrative level, which not only limits their ability to see every case through to its conclusion, but also diminishes their bargaining power when negotiating potential settlements.

Comprehensive Solutions

While many property tax representatives will only work on appeals, the PTG handles everything relating to property taxes.  Some of the most common issues addressed by the PTG include:

  • Property tax appeals (real and personal)
  • Property tax exemptions
  • Payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) agreements
  • Personal property schedules (preparation and filing)
  • Property tax budgeting
  • Property tax litigation

The PTG is also not limited by property type.  We represent taxpayers on all kinds of properties, including:

  • Apartments
  • Banks
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels
  • Industrial buildings
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Motor carriers
  • Offices
  • Regional malls
  • Retail
  • Self-storage facilities
  • Shopping centers
  • Vacant land
  • Warehouses

Property Types

Commercial & Industrial Vacant Land

In recent years the ability to sell tracts of vacant land has been hampered by the slow economy.  Lenders may not recognize any value in land right now, but assessors still do.  With a lack of land sales to rebut the government’s high valuations, many taxpayers are trapped between increasing holding costs and an illiquid, non-income producing asset.

This is where the Property Tax Group can help.  We can relieve the trapped land owner by lowering the property tax portion of those holding costs.  As a legal team, we approach the problem of vacant land taxes from several different angles:

  • Is the true market value of the land lower than the assessor’s value?
  • Does the land suffer from environmental problems?
  • Is the land improperly classified and so taxed at a higher rate?
  • Is the land a candidate for the greenbelt program?
  • Is the land a candidate for exemption or tax abatement?
  • Would a parcel consolidation relieve some of the tax burden?

The answer to the vacant land owner’s tax problem may be a property tax appeal, but Evans Petree’s Property Tax Group has a broad range of strategies for long-term solutions.

Golf Courses / Country Clubs

Over the last decade, the number of people playing golf has declined significantly.  As a result of this decline, golf courses and county clubs have suffered significant economic losses.  It is critical that golf courses are analyzed carefully to maximize property tax savings on their real and personal property.

Other tax consultants and tax lawyers may not have adequate experience to handle unique issues surrounding the appeal of golf courses, but we do.  We will address issues that others might miss:

  • How do you value a golf property based on income when the property has been losing money?
  • How can you use sales of other golf properties when the only sales available are very different from the subject?
  • Is the subject property’s highest-and-best-use still golf?
  • What is the effect of the assessor’s personal property valuation?
  • Does the property qualify for any form of tax relief?

Our team has developed important relationships with industry professionals who are competent to appraise or testify in contested cases.  We can help solve the problem of over-taxation for golf courses and country clubs.


Healthcare properties are a more complicated valuation task than the average assessor can handle with any accuracy.  Medical buildings are typically valued with a computer-modeled cost approach, and the results vary wildly depending on the large number of assumptions being made.  Alternatively, the assessor may try to base the value on the income stream from a going-concern, rather than the rental income generated from the property itself, leading to inflated values.

The highly specialized equipment used in healthcare facilities is also prone to overvaluation.  The healthcare industry is constantly changing, and those changes can leave relatively new equipment obsolete.  Assessors often miss this obsolescence in their straight-line valuations, and healthcare property owners continue to pay tax on that lost value.

The Property Tax Group can help.  We have the expertise to identify the best strategy and maximize the potential tax savings for a wide array of healthcare sub-types, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Surgery Centers
  • Ambulatory Centers
  • Rehab Centers
  • Medical Office Buildings
  • Assisted Living
  • Nursing Homes

Our team has a vast amount of experience successfully challenging assessors on the valuation of healthcare properties.  We can help find the best solution for over-valued healthcare properties.

Hotels / Motels

The Hospitality industry faces lots of upturns and downturns over small periods of time as this industry gets impacted with various factors like the economy, weather, major events etc.  This industry had a tough time due to the recent recession but has shown strong growth since then.

In this changing environment, the Property Tax Group of Evans Petree brings years of experience in handling valuation of hotels and motels.  We work with hotel organizations on a national and local basis to understand the needs of the hospitality industry.  We are experienced in handling the tax appeals and valuation for a wide range of property types in this industry including:

  • Luxury hotels & resorts
  • Full service hotels
  • Limited service hotels
  • Economy or discount motels


Demand for Industrial Space has been dwindling in recent years.  Manufacturing is being outsourced overseas; the speed it takes to order and ship product along with efficiencies in technology and building design have made segments of the industrial market obsolete.  Decreasing demand for these spaces has had a tremendous impact on rental rates, vacancies, investor interest, and, of course, value.

With these areas of concern in mind, the Property Tax Group has developed a best class approach to finding the optimal line of attack to assist our clients in reducing their tax liability.  We will look at all approaches to value and determine the best way to advance a winning tax strategy.

The Property Tax Group can help.  We work on a wide array of Industrial buildings, including:

  • Bulk Warehouse
  • Standard Distribution
  • Flex Warehouse
  • Heavy Manufacturing
  • Light Industrial

Our team has years of experience successfully challenging assessors on the valuation of these properties.  We can help find the best solution for your industrial building.


Many multi-family investors have seen a quick and dramatic recovery from the recession.  Class A properties are moving at hundreds of thousands of dollars per unit.  While assessors are glad to value multi-family properties based on the surging sale prices, not all multi-family taxpayers are getting the benefit of that market boom.

This is where the Property Tax Group can help.  Whether the taxpayer is a REIT or the owner of a single asset, we can relieve multi-family property owners from over-burdensome property taxes.  As a legal team, we approach the problem of property taxes from several different angles:

  • Has the assessor valued the property using the correct size and dates of construction?
  • Has the assessor overstated the property’s income potential?
  • Has the assessor valued the property based on sales of superior properties?
  • Does the property suffer from flooding or contamination problems?
  • Is the property a candidate for the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) program?
  • Would a parcel consolidation relieve some of the tax burden?

Evans Petree’s Property Tax Group has a broad range of strategies to keep property taxes from growing as aggressively as the multi-family market.  We fight to help the taxpayer maintain the level of income that their property should produce.


Demand for office space is waning as professionals become more efficient with their businesses.  Call center jobs are being outsourced, spaces leased for computers are shrinking with the machines they serve, and private rooms with doors are losing popularity to open plans.  A brand new 20,000 square foot lease in one building may well mean a 30,000 foot vacancy at a competing property down the road.

As if downsizing were not enough, offices are regularly over-taxed based on an assessor’s opinion of the property’s income potential.  Often, the concessions given to achieve or maintain a certain level of occupancy are not accounted for, resulting in an inflated tax bill.  Even owner-occupied properties suffer from over-valuation based on the assessor’s opinion of “market” rent.

The Property Tax Group can help.  We have the expertise to identify the best strategy and maximize the potential tax savings for a wide array of office sub-types, including:

  • Single Tenant / Multi-Tenant
  • Corporate HQ
  • Low-Rise / High-Rise
  • Medical Office
  • Office Condos

Our team has a vast amount of experience successfully challenging assessors on the valuation of office properties, from tiny condos to entire office parks.  We can help find the best solution for over-valued offices.

Personal Property

For our compliance clients, Evans Petree files required personal property schedules or returns.  Evans Petree makes sure that the returns are filed accurately and on time, all items statutorily required to be reported are listed and categorized in the correct section of assets, ghost assets or assets that are not taxable are not reported, and returns or schedules are updated according to the jurisdiction's instructions.

Residential Vacant Land

We have successfully represented property owners on thousands of vacant residential land parcels from undeveloped tracts to individual subdivision lots.  Our clients include developers, brokers, and lenders.  Our proactive approach utilizes state of the art valuation techniques and strategies.


Single Family Residences and PUDs

We have successfully challenged the values of thousands of single family residential parcels and take great pride in our ability to provide the absolute best service and results in this sector.


Our real estate professionals have a long history of success in the area of condominium valuation for tax purposes.  Whether it be for individual owners, larger investors, or even fractured condominium projects, we have the experience and expertise to represent you.


We have special expertise in this area of investment property and have been extremely successful in alleviating the tax burdens for our clients.


Commercial Retail is going through an interesting phase.  It was one of the property types that had a big impact due to the recession.  Many properties have seen extensive vacancies for extended periods along with considerable drop in rental income.  Slowly but steadily the commercial retail market is making a comeback.  But at the same time, brick and mortar stores are facing their biggest challenge from online retail.  Many big retail chains have either closed shop or downsized to small spaces.  With door to door delivery in a day or two with Amazon Prime etc., shoppers are more inclined to shop online than ever, which again is going to impact the retail real estate market.

Another changing trend in retail is the outlook towards shopping malls.  Several malls across the country, which used to be the go-to places for consumer shopping, have closed in the recent years.  Vast buildings with empty parking lots have become an eyesore around the country.  How is this going to impact the value of commercial retail properties?

The Property Tax Group at Evans Petree has solutions.  We have extensive experience in handling tax appeals for various commercial retail property types, which include:

  • Shopping Malls
  • Power/Neighborhood Centers
  • Strip Retail Centers
  • Single Tenant Retail  Stores
  • Discount Supermarkets
  • Convenience Stores

Special Use Properties

The Property Tax Group at Evans Petree brings an expertise with special use properties that is second to none.  With years of experience we have developed the capability to determine true market value of many unusual properties and one-off facilities.  We know how to value these unique buildings and to convey this information in a thoughtful manner to the local assessor offices.

Types of Special Use Properties we handle:

  • Convenience Stores
  • Banks
  • Auto Dealers
  • Service Garages
  • Restaurants
  • Bowling Alleys
  • Heavy/Light Manufacturing Facilities
  • Country Clubs/Golf Courses
  • Meeting Halls
  • Resorts
  • Health Clubs/Day Spas
  • Marinas

Management Services

Evans Petree's Property Tax Group provides various management services to many of our clients.

They include:


For our Management Clients, we can prepare audit and approvals of tax bills.  Evans Petree reviews the tax bills for accuracy and forwards them to our Management Clients with an audit and approval form that tells the amount to pay, when to pay, and whom to pay.


For our Management Clients, we can prepare tax projections for annual budgeting and for budgeting considerations in purchasing new properties.  We prepare comprehensive projections for clients, informing them of reappraisal schedules, estimates of future years values based on experience and historical information and estimates of tax rates, also based on experience and historical information.


For our Management Clients, we can prepare year-end management reports that give the client current year and prior year values of their property, appeal status, appeal results, tax savings, actual tax amounts, taxing jurisdictions, and due dates.


For our Management Clients, we prepare monthly update reports that give the client the current value of the property, whether the property is being appealed, and the status of the appeal.


Personal Property Schedules 

Evans Petree handles the filing of Personal Property Schedules for many of our clients.  This filing by Evans Petree assures the client that their personal property schedules are timely filed and that they receive the correct assessment of their personal property as provided by statute.   

Fiscal Impact Summary Compliance Reports

Evans Petree handles the filing of Fiscal Impact Summary Compliance Reports for many of our clients who have PILOT property.  This filing by Evans Petree assures the client that this State of Tennessee required report is timely filed in compliance with the State of Tennessee guidelines.   

Greenbelt Status Applications

Evans Petree handles the filing of Greenbelt applications for many of our clients in Tennessee whose land qualify for Greenbelt status, both agricultural and forestry.  This filing by Evans Petree assures the client that their Tennessee property gets the greenbelt status if it so qualifies.  This filing includes hiring a forester to properly prepare a forestry plan for the client so that the property achieves the forestry status and reviewing agreements with farmers to make sure that they properly comply with Tennessee law.

Property Success Stories

Evans Petree's Property Tax Group represents over $19,000,000,000 (nineteen billion dollars) of property for such clients as Lowe's, Boyle, Weingarten, CLK, and Brookside Properties.

We specialize in achieving tax savings for office, retail, multi-family, industrial, residential, commercial and residential vacant land, hotels, golf courses, personal property and many special use properties. Examples of our success stories are below:

Value Reduction

Tax Savings

National Resort Hotel

Over $113,000,000

Over $1,800,000

Middle TN Regional Mall

Over $16,000,000

Over $470,000

Large Regional Mall

Over $17,000,000

Over $280,000

Country Club

Over $6,000,000

Over $75,000

Public Golf Course

Over $5,600,000

Over $73,000

International Mfg. Personal Prop.

Over $34,000,000

Over $480,000


Over $8,000,000

Over  $55,000


Over $9,000,000

Over $175,000

Class A Office Building

Over $29,000,000

Over $416,000

Regional Medical Office

Over $20,000,000

Over $288,000

2,000,000 SF Industrial

Over $12,200,000

Over $354,000


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