Tennessee Notaries as Employees

Most notaries public became notaries because their employer wanted them to do so. In many cases, the employer paid the costs involved (application fee, insurance & bond, rubber seal stamp), so they believe that they can control what the notary does both during and after business hours.

While an argument can be made that they are at least partially responsible for any notary errors, especially if they fail to train the notary who is their employee (and courts in other states have held employers responsible), it is the notary who has been commissioned and who is directly and personally obligated to learn what they need to know. It is the notary who has an obligation to perform their Notarial duties properly.

Until the new Tennessee law went into effect on October 1, 2014, a Tennessee notary was only required to keep a notary journal if they charged a fee. As the fees allowed under the old law were so small and as many notaries only notarized for customers or clients of their employer and did not charge a notary fee, a large number of Tennessee notaries have never kept a notary journal.

Now that the new law has gone into effect, a notary journal is required for all Notaries in Tennessee (even if you don’t charge a Notary fee) and the notary fees charged can be anything “reasonable.” One attorney I spoke with stated that these new requirements may lead to the State of Tennessee auditing notaries to see if excise tax is due on the work we have done. It’s always a good idea to keep thorough records of what you do as a notary and any fees you collected for doing it.

(NOTE: The new law referred to above is the 2014 law. The law was changed again in 2015. Please see my post about that here: Tennessee Changes Notary Law – Again!)

Whether employers will take on the duty of informing their employees who are notaries of the new law and its requirements is yet to be seen.

In any case, all Tennessee notaries should make themselves aware of the laws and rules that govern the performance of their duties. The best way to do that is to visit the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website and read all the information there about notaries public. That website is currently located at : http://sos.tn.gov/notary-commissions


About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed. Mobile Notary Public and Signing Agent, Freelance Writer, and Ordained Minister. Willing servant to cats. Science fiction and fantasy fan, avid reader, Founder of the Darrell Awards. Author of _Getting Started As A Notary Signing Agent_ (available from https://notarymemphis.wordpress.com/books). Please be kind to one another.
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