BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (AP) - A law passed to reduce taxes for farmers is also being used to drastically cut tax bills by wealthy Tennessee residents who appear to do little farming.
The Commercial Appeal looked at records across the state and concluded the statute causes counties to forego an average of 5 percent of their tax base to greenbelt discounts. Those losses reach 20 percent in rural counties where the economy relies on agriculture.
In Knoxville, two golf courses have lost exemptions they previously enjoyed under the 1976 statute. The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Cherokee Country Club and Holston Hills Country Club now owe more than $375,000 in back taxes.
The exemption has also been claimed by business owners and country music figures.
Records about what a tax-subsidized farm operation does are often sketchy.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)