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So today I found out that we’re getting another tax bill… from the state of Tennessee!  Income taxes are one thing, but this one just smacks of politicians with their heads in the sand and makes no real sense to me.  The only explanation I’ve come across is that as Tennessee has no state income tax, they have to find revenue wherever they can… so they’re taxing professionals.  It doesn’t matter if you live in or out of the state, if you’ve got/hold a professional license or job for Tennessee, you get a nice tax, the Tennessee “Professional Privilege Tax”.


Flag of Tennessee

Flag of Tennessee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


$400, whether you can earn $50k a year or millions like a professional athlete can…  I’d love for someone to give me a sound reason as to not only why this exists, but why it’s “right”.  Apparently too, this tax has been on the books for around ten years or so, yet I’ve found little to nothing negative about it online… which I find unusual.



So who’s specifically targeted?


Accountant Optometrist
Agent (Securities) Osteopathic Physician
Architect Pharmacist
Attorney Physician
Audiologist Podiatrist
Broker-Dealer (Agents) Prof. Athlete (NHL, NBA)
Chiropractor Psychologist
Dentist Real Estate Principal Broker
Engineer Speech Pathologist
Investment Advisor Sports Agent
Landscape Architect Veterinarian


We already pay a biennial registration fee for every state wherein a license is held, on top of national certification fees which are paid yearly… and one or two other annual or biennial fees.  The more you can earn, the more the government wants to take from you, period.  Where is the incentive to succeed?


Here’s Tennessee’s info from their Dept. of Revenue website: http://www.tn.gov/revenue/tntaxes/proftax.shtml


Don’t pay?  You can get your license suspended.http://www.tba.org/info/professional-privilege-tax-suspensions


And, being a government program, they’re just oh-so on the ball and can do no wrong… you will pay, and more, for their mistakes too. http://www.saysuncle.com/2007/03/02/sayuncle_v_professional_privilege_taxes/


And, to boot, they don’t always mail notices of the bill!                             http://tnmed.org/professional-privilege-tax-no-notice/


If you are or would be a professional in Tennessee, how would this make you feel, specifically that state’s relationship or perception of you?  It makes me think they only see you as someone with a fat wallet that needs a little blood-letting.  You’re good for it anyway… you’re a professional, you can make the big bucks.


You know who’s not on the list who should be?  Politicians, elected officials and paid civil employees.  Hey, y’all are professionals, especially the politicians and elected officials that look at your jobs as lifetime careers.


I am fully aware of the fact that governments need income to operate, pay and fulfill the needs and demands of their expenses, etc., but come on, isn’t there another way?  Taxes are rarely a privilege to pay, and this one certainly isn’t.


When it comes to taxes and the government, we may need to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but all too often it seems there’s a lot of Zacchaeus’ running the show.