Inventories of merchandise held by merchants and businesses for sale and exchange by persons taxable under the business tax (Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 67, Chapter 4, Part 7) are exempt from property taxation. This exemption includes tangible personal property held for lease or rental, but does not include such property in the possession of a lessee. Leased personal property in the possession of the lessee is subject to property taxation and is classified and assessed according to the lessee's use.1
1T.C.A. § 67-5-901. See also Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 89-89 (May 30, 1989) (finding that the statute excepting categories of leased personal property from the property tax exemption for leased property is constitutional); Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 91-94 (November 27,1991) (finding that the ultimate user of the tangible personal property in a business or profession is liable for the property tax, whether the user is a lessee or sublessee, and the owner, lessee, or sublessee from whom the ultimate user, lessee or sublessee obtained the property is not liable for the property tax assessment).