Property tax teams deal with numerous challenges throughout the course of a year, not the least of which is managing deadlines. Every season of the tax cycle has critical due dates and there’s virtually nothing straightforward about them. (Does the return due date apply to the postmark date or the date received? What if 30 days after the assessment falls on a weekend? When are installment due dates and extensions?) For tax teams working with more than a few properties in various locations, the property tax calendar can become so complex that it’s no longer plausible to keep track of it all on spreadsheets.
The course of a tax year offers numerous opportunities for property tax practitioners to hone their precognitive skills. The ability to read and interpret available data for signs of what’s upcoming in the tax cycle—and then to determine if action should be taken—is key to carrying out the job successfully.
Like every industry, property tax has its share of conferences. Whatever you’d like to know more about, whether it’s real estate, personal property, business valuation, compliance, depreciation, tax technology, or anything else, there’s probably a conference that covers it. You’ll also find conferences that specialize in certain industries (like the Broadband Tax Institute’s annual conference for internet and cable companies) and ones that focus on taxation in certain regions (like the Texas Association of Assessing Officers conference). There’s no shortage of learning opportunities for those looking to expand their knowledge and skills.
New York businesses have an uphill climb when it comes to property tax, and corporate tax rates in general—it is ranked 49 out of 50 (just above New Jersey) on the Tax Foundation’s state-by-state comparison with regard to business tax climate. And over the last decade, property taxes in New York City have risen at a rate three times faster than income growth. (The recently created New York City Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform is likely to recommend tax reforms in the coming year.) In recent years, the state has been making strides toward improving its tax system by enacting things like a two percent property tax cap and real property tax relief credits. Still, the tax climate may be a reason why some companies have chosen to leave the state (though that perspective is debatable).
I think it’s safe to say that all property tax teams strive to avoid penalties. But they happen. Teams working for companies with a large number of properties sometimes don’t have enough staff to keep up with deadlines or they have new, untrained staff members. Other times a failure in the process leads to a missed deadline, and extra expenses are incurred. But just because penalties happen doesn’t mean they’re acceptable—or that you should stop searching for ways to avoid them.
The start of a new year is a popular time for predictions—what developments do experts and visionaries see around the bend?
Whether or not your company operates in one of the few states that tax intangible assets—those that have no physical form but do have value—understanding intangible asset valuation is important. Why? Because it’s part and parcel of ensuring a fair assessment for both real estate and personal property.
If you’re operating your business in multiple states—or are contemplating putting down roots in another state—tax policies and obligations are probably already top of mind. Particularly if you’re planning to invest a substantial amount of money into a new facility, you’ll want to have a good understanding of your tax burden before you commit. But even if you’re already located in more than one state, you and your tax team are likely spending a lot of time keeping track of bills and deadlines for your various locations. Whichever situation you’re currently in, you need a resource that can help you make sense of it all.
Cumbersome software, inefficient processes, a lack of data visibility… these are just a few things commonly mentioned by property tax professionals when we ask them to identify pain points in their current practice. Until a few years ago, corporate tax practitioners at Comcast, the global telecommunications company, would’ve said the very same things about their processes. Then they switched to TotalPropertyTax (TPT), and eventually added MetaTaskerPT, and turned things around. Here’s the story of why Comcast chose CrowdReason software—and how it’s impacted their practice since its implementation.
By now, you’ve heard all about how automation saves time. Applied to the manual processes in any industry, it takes over the tedious and time-consuming (but necessary) tasks of everyday work so employees can focus on activities that provide a greater return. In the case of business personal property tax, automation means your team members can forego data extraction and data entry work in favor of long-term strategy activities like tax planning and predictive analytics—tasks that have real impact on an organization and make your team more valuable.
If you’re part of a corporate tax department, there are plenty of resources providing information about tax issues and strategies related to real property, but few doing the same for personal property—even though personal property offers similar opportunities for tax savings. To help with strategizing on both fronts equally, this article starts by defining each term at a basic level, then highlights the differences between real and personal property that are relevant to tax practice.
Cable companies, railroad companies, natural gas and oil companies—these are some of the types of organizations whose primary assets tend to cross county or jurisdictional borders. Because taxes are assessed on property located in specific jurisdictions, that creates a challenge when it comes to business personal property tax filings: How do you properly distribute the value of those assets over the various jurisdictions in which they’re located? This article examines the most efficient method for doing that, as well as how to choose the right allocation metrics to ensure the fairest possible distribution of value.
If you’ve read our blog at all, you know our stance on using software to manage your team’s property tax processes: We’re all about automating commercial property tax management workflows, so you get back time for high-value tasks, like determining how to protest unfair assessments.
While it might be desirable to handle all aspects of property tax in-house, it’s not always practical. In many instances, there’s a good business case to be made for outsourcing. For instance, you may be part of a corporation with limited resources to devote to the tax function or a team that lacks personnel with specialized knowledge. You may even need expert advice on tax matters if your organization is implementing new venture strategies. (What’s one case where outsourcing isn’t the best solution? If you’re simply looking for ways to improve your team’s efficiency, software can take care of that.)
If you’re wondering about the difference between secured vs. unsecured property taxes, I’d wager a guess you live in California. Why? Because it’s the only state in the union that uses this terminology in reference to this common ad valorem tax. Everywhere else, “secured property tax” is simply called real estate tax (real estate is attached to or secured by land); and “unsecured property tax” is called personal property tax (movable property not permanently affixed to a particular location).
Planning to appeal your property taxes? If you’ve done your homework, your efforts will likely save your organization a fair amount of money. You might be wondering, though, if property tax appeal software would be a helpful tool to have at your disposal. Will it help streamline the process? Will it prevent errors? Will it give you a leg up in meeting deadlines?
Managing the business personal property tax cycle is a herculean task for companies of every size. But mid- to large-size businesses, who may have hundreds of property tax assessments to deal with annually, face exceptional challenges staying on top of information tracking, due dates, filing paperwork, and more. When their workload has outgrown the standard organizational tools—like Excel spreadsheets and online project management tools—most teams know it’s time to make the leap to property tax software.
It’s no secret that the nature of work is changing, which is why a growing number of business leaders like yourself are beginning to assess what their future workforces might look like. Part of that assessment includes identifying which capabilities and tools will be most needed by their teams. In recent years, your research may have identified robotic process automation (RPA) as the answer to future challenges; today, there’s an advanced version of automation that will prove to be even more valuable for organizations: smart process automation, or SPA.
Taxes may be a certainty, but when it comes to property tax, the amount of taxes owed is not. That’s because commercial properties can be appraised in different ways, depending on who’s doing the appraising: an assessor or a fee appraiser. It’s important to know the differences in these commercial property appraisal methods so you’re better prepared to advocate for a fair assessment—and the appropriate amount of taxes owed.
There’s no question about it: Artificial intelligence (AI) is reinventing the way tax professionals approach tax season. To better understand the use of artificial intelligence in tax, it’s important to know what tax bots are, how they’re beneficial to tax teams, and why some professionals are still hesitant to adopt automation technology.
After you receive an assessment for your business/commercial property, you may find yourself questioning the amount—but also wondering if it’s worth the cost to appeal the property tax assessment. In many cases, particularly for companies experiencing technological or economic change, the answer is yes. But a property tax appeal doesn’t make sense for every piece of property. While the answer isn’t a simple yes or no, there are a few tips to help you determine whether or not it’s worth the cost to appeal your business property tax assessment.
In my view, tax practitioners are no different than other industry professionals when it comes to analytics—the more analysis you do surrounding your work, the better you tend to perform. If you’re not measuring it, you’re probably not improving it.
If you’re still using the property tax management software you bought 15+ years ago, you might be thinking, it still works, so why switch?
If that’s the case for you, I’m glad you stopped by. Whatever tool you’re currently using almost certainly improved your team’s productivity 15 years ago, but it would probably fall short by today’s standards. Why? Because it uses outdated technology that keeps your property tax team working the same way it did one or two decades ago. Even though the software is still functional, it lacks the sophisticated tech advancements used in more modern tools—those that can actually give your team a competitive edge. Think about it this way: If you were sizing up a new software today, would the fact that it’s operational be enough to sell you on it? I’m guessing the answer would be no.
When it comes to Maryland business personal property tax, consistency is key. Unlike other states, which have multiple local jurisdictions handling personal property administration matters, the assessment of all personal property in the Old Line State lies within the purview of a single state agency: the Department of Assessments & Taxation (SDAT). The reasoning behind this strategy? To “foster the uniform and consistent administration” of business personal property tax, which includes everything from furniture and office equipment to machinery, tools, and any other property not classified as real property.
If there was an easy way to ensure you never missed a single property tax bill payment again, would you take advantage of it?
The good news is, there is a way! We’re happy to announce that CrowdReason, developer of next-generation property tax management software, and Anybill, a leading provider of tax payment services, now work seamlessly together to guarantee your tax bills are paid accurately and on time, every time.
Washington, DC. (PRWeb) July 18, 2018
Leading property tax software provider CrowdReason has introduced an integration with Anybill for property tax payments. CrowdReason clients can use the Anybill integration to pay their tax bills directly from MetataskerPT and TotalPropertyTax.
You’ve just received an assessment notice for one of your commercial properties—now what? If the amount seems too high, hopefully you or another member of your property tax team will check the accuracy of the valuation by using one or more commercial property valuation method, and then appeal if need be. (Don’t have time to do all that? There are software tools that can help.)
Automation in finance—is such a thing possible? With the way digitization is being integrated across nearly every business dimension, the answer is a resounding yes.
The specific automation area we’re referring to is robotic process automation (RPA). Putting it simply, RPA is a software application that executes programmed tasks. In a financial context, it offers a way to digitize the back office.
By now you’ve heard all about it: Technology is changing the way people work. That’s true across all industries and workplaces, whether it’s the floor of a manufacturing facility or the office space of an insurance company.
Property tax management is no exception. Currently, a digital transformation is underway, giving property tax teams new and better ways to provide value to their organizations, become more efficient, and spend less money. It comes at a time when organizations are under increased scrutiny to compete with emerging, often global, competitors. Those teams willing to embrace advanced tax technology tools will be better positioned to meet the challenges that lie ahead.
Taxes are still one of the certainties in life (it’s nice to know some things haven’t changed since the 18th century), but the same can’t be said for the amount of taxes paid. Thanks to the property tax appeal process, valuation amounts are never set in stone—as long as you take full advantage of your right to challenge an unfair assessment.
Those of us who do property tax advisory work know that thinking in a straight line doesn’t always yield the best, most profitable results. Creative thinking and research, on the other hand, usually uncovers numerous (legal and value) discrepancies leading to identifying over-assessments. Knowing how to best measure these will ensure you provide the best advice to your clients—and doing good work generally means more advisory work for you. Below are a few ideas for the assessment of business personal property values I’ve used in the past to assist clients; at one time or another, they’ve all benefitted a client and increased the value of my property tax advisory services offering.
When was the last time you or anyone on your property tax team went home at 5 P.M. on a workday during tax season?
Sounds impossible, right? Well, that was the case with one of our clients, whose office I stopped into recently at the end of a workday. The place was deserted. When I asked where everyone was, the response was, “They went home. They’re done!”
This year, there’s a new deadline looming for Texas business personal property tax filings: April 1. Are you well-versed on how to report your company’s assets accurately, and forecast a reliable estimate for next year’s tax liability as well? Take a look below at some tips on how property tax professionals in the Lone Star State can best manage their assets for commercial property tax in Texas, and how to prepare for the 2019 budget season.
Business property tax in California has continued to increase in recent years. In fact, in 2016, California had the largest dollar increase in the U.S. in business property tax revenue—$1.8 billion more than the year before. (It remains to be seen what impact this proposed state constitutional amendment would have on the commercial property tax rate in California should it be passed.)
Most organizations would take advantage of all available means to reduce their property tax bills—if only they knew about them (or had time to spend applying them).
If you’ve been reading our blog, you already know that the business personal property tax cycle is filled with complexities, whether you’re a business with one location or several. If you have 500 or more locations, keeping up with paperwork, information tracking, and due dates can be downright labyrinthine—never mind having enough time to put a case together for appeals (unless you’re taking advantage of all the tools at your disposal, which we’ll get into later).
For many companies, property tax due dates are always looming. Between return deadlines, appeal deadlines, and payment deadlines in multiple jurisdictions, another due date may be just around the corner, no matter what time of year it is. So how do tax teams manage and meet these dates? While there’s no single standard that works for everyone, there are tools that can help companies of all sizes do it more efficiently.
Part of your job as a property tax manager is to forecast the expected property tax liability for the upcoming year’s budget. Anyone who’s been in this position before knows that it’s a balancing act: Management wants lower taxes, so they hope you’ll come in low. Accounting wants you to be accurate, not too low or too high. And you personally? You want to give yourself some breathing room in the event that something unexpected happens to throw your forecast off. (There are lots of moving parts that can change your tax liability at any time!)
Businesses can easily get bogged down in property tax data. County addresses, deadlines, valuation methods, depreciation tables, tax ratios… there are too many data types to list. And while there are common pieces of information people look for, the options are limited when it comes to places to look. That’s because a good chunk of this data varies by jurisdiction. So instead of having central repositories for “property tax information,” a single county website may be your only option. And even finding that isn’t quite as easy as it seems (we’ll get to that later).
Property tax is a complex world where exceptions are the rule. These rules can vary by jurisdiction, and no two places refer to the same thing in the same way! There are in-depth publications and countless county websites that define their own unique property tax terminology, however, we decided to condense all that information into some core concepts that, once you know them, will help you navigate more proficiently through these complexities.
For companies of all sizes, handling business personal property taxes can be a beast. Tracking hundreds or thousands of tangible assets is challenging enough; on top of that, there are deadlines (often multiple ones!) to manage, returns to prepare, protest decisions to be made, and bills to pay. And when one cycle is complete, it’s time to turn around and start again.
Do you wish you could change the property tax software you use? If so, I bet I know what usually comes on the heels of that thought: visions of a painful, long system setup and data migration process, hours of retraining on a new system, and finding more workarounds for software that doesn’t quite fit your needs. Basically—a nightmare.
Whether you’re new to property taxes in general or have acquired property in an unfamiliar location, or you have a few too many returns to file for the number of hands available, you’re here because one thing is clear: You need help with your company’s property taxes. The question is, what kind of help do you need—property tax consulting or a software management tool?