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?
We can’t give you a definitive answer; it’s different for everyone. But we can help you weigh your options. Read about both choices below and evaluate how your company’s needs match up. Once you’ve made that determination, you’ll have better insight into which solution—property tax consulting, software, or both!—is the right one to address your challenges.
Property Tax Consulting Vs. Software: Weighing The Options
Property Tax Consulting
If your company needs expertise related to property valuation and/or presenting a successful tax assessment appeal, a property tax consulting firm can help. Sometimes you need an expert to determine whether your property—whether it’s a warehouse, an airplane, an office building, an oil pipeline, or anything else—has been fairly assessed and, if it hasn’t been, someone to help you navigate the process of challenging the unfair assessment.
Some organizations hire consultants to handle other aspects of the property tax cycle as well, like filing their property tax return and even processing and delivering payments on their behalf. But the true value of a property tax consultant lies in his or her level of expertise. A highly knowledgeable property tax consultant may help lower your property taxes, either through a successful appeal or by finding ways to present your property so it receives a lower tax assessment.
Hiring a consultant is also a good way to optimize your team’s performance. Property tax activities span a wide range of tasks, from basic data entry to formulating tax strategies. You can identify areas that need support among your existing staff and hire a consultant to fill in the gaps. Customizing the expertise you need, whether it’s administrative, tax consulting, or both, helps you use your team in the best way possible without having to hire additional full-time employees. Additionally, having a fresh set of experienced eyes on your assessments can provide opportunities for tremendous tax savings.
The offset of property tax consulting is that you may become dependent on an external knowledge source. Handing information piecemeal to a consultant won’t build up your store of internal knowledge. And, depending on whether you stay with the first consultant you hire or switch to a new consultant a year or several years later, your organization’s tax strategy may not be consistent unless you have the proper controls in place.
Property Tax Software
If you’re looking for help managing all aspects of your organization’s property tax cycle, software is a good solution. The property tax cycle involves an overwhelming amount of paper, tight deadlines, and details that can bog down even a well-oiled, in-house property tax team. Good software can make tasks easier and faster to complete so you can work more efficiently. It also maintains complete accuracy of the details involved and keeps you on top of deadlines.
Software solutions with advanced reporting and dashboarding can assist with valuable data insight but do not offer the high-level strategy expertise offered by some property tax consulting firms. But when it comes to managing key aspects to the rest of the tax cycle, it does have advantages.
By managing your property tax cycle in-house, you’re keeping valuable knowledge inside the organization. Companies need internal experts. When it comes to property tax, building up your employees’ knowledge of your organization’s properties and tax requirements helps them see the bigger picture of how taxes impact the business, which leads to better decision-making.
Using software also gives you greater insight into the tax cycle. The right application connects various tax documents together automatically, from the return being filed to the assessment notice to the tax bills that ultimately come in the door. That makes it easy to see how the pieces come together—without having to rummage through filing cabinets for related documents—and helps you and your team better manage the process.
Software is cost-effective. Whether you’re outsourcing or doing your property taxes internally, software helps you reduce the number of staff devoted to handling administrative tasks associated with the property tax cycle.
Finally, software organizes and streamlines the property tax process. Advanced solutions automatically extract all strategic data from documents and automatically upload this data to the property tax software. These solutions also reduce the amount of custom form creation as well as provide insight into deadlines, budgeting, asset management, and advanced valuation analytics.
Can you use both solutions?
Absolutely! As we see it, there are three key areas of the property tax cycle: filing the return, managing the appeal, and paying the taxes. You could outsource any or all of these tasks, depending on your budget, your staff, and your needs related to the considerations listed above. Some companies decide to manage compliance and filing in-house, but take advantage of a consultant’s expertise for the appeal. Sometimes a combination of property tax consulting and software is the ideal solution for your challenges.
Interested in finding out how property tax software can help your organization?
Get in touch! We’d be happy to answer your questions about property tax software in general as well as about our products, TotalPropertyTax (TPT) and MetaTaskerPT (MT). Built by experienced property tax consultants, our applications are designed to help you avoid the pitfalls that normally occur throughout the tax cycle, including the risks associated with incurring penalties.
They also incorporate the latest technology—including data analytics, robotic process automation (RPA) and machine learning—so you can reduce the time you spend filing returns, understand which properties require appeals, and make timely property tax payments that save your company money and increase your worth within the organization. You also have more valuable data on your property’s tax activity, giving you what you need to make smarter decisions. Contact us today!