The primary function of the register of deeds is to make and preserve a record of instruments required or allowed by law to be filed or recorded, including but not limited to deeds, powers of attorney, mortgages, liens, contracts, plats, leases, judgments, wills, court orders, military discharges, financial statements called fixture filings,termination statements, and other miscellaneous instruments. The records provide public notice of property ownership, liens, contracts and other transactions that affect the public interest.
The register is responsible for collecting “transfer” and “mortgage” taxes. With some statutory exceptions, the register must collect a tax on the transfer of all interests in real estate and the “mortgage” tax on recording instruments which evidence an indebtedness. Currently the state of Tennessee realty transfer tax is $3.70 per $1000.00 of value or consideration and the mortgage tax is $1.15 per $1000.00 or major fraction thereof over $2000.00 of indebtedness. Other than state taxes, the register is required to collect a register’s fee for the recording of documents. These fees vary according to the type and length of the instrument.