Court Fees & Taxes

Of late, it seems some of our local officials have decided that a new, good way of raising revenue is to increase fees and taxes on everything going through the court system. It sounds good when you say it fast enough, let the bad guys, the people using the court system, pay more after all why not, they're the ones using the courts? Unfortunately, that's not really how it works. The bad guys rarely pay their bills so the higher fees and taxes are most usually paid by the average citizen using the courts for all kinds of reasons.

Fortunately, at least one State Representative is raising concerns about the ever increasing costs for average citizens to use the court system. Senator Jon Lundberg, former Chair of the House Civil Justice Committee requested The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations do a study to see if all the fees and taxes being charged through the courts is having a negative impact.


Each year members propose legislation paid for through court fees.  Every one of the bills’ is for a good cause (ranging from courthouse renovation, top funding support for sexual abuse victims….).

However, this practice has also led to a very expensive legal system and declining revenues.  Last year, we asked TACIR to study the various fees.  Attached, is a two-page summary.  The full report is also available and I would be happy to share it with you.


That report came back in January and appears to show that the high fees and taxes decrease collections and may even prohibit some from being able to use the court system due to prohibitive costs.

Below is a link to that report if anyone cares to read it.

TACIR Report

I would like to think that those local officials who think that piling more and more fees and taxes on those using the courts is such a good idea, might want to rethink that.