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.
What are the property tax due dates your team needs to be aware of?
There are three major types of deadlines when it comes to property taxes: return deadlines, appeal deadlines, and payment deadlines.
But if you’re familiar with property tax, you know there’s more to the equation than just marking a few due dates on a calendar, even if you have only one property in one jurisdiction. Here are the nuances associated with each of the above that you need to be aware of:
Return deadlines are the time by which you must declare your personal property information. Things to be aware of include:
- Some states and/or jurisdictions allow businesses to extend the deadline for filing their return, usually granted only by approval of an assessor. So you’ll need to know the deadline for requesting an extension, and, if granted, the new extended return deadline.
- If you’re filing by mail, does the return due date apply to the postmark date, or the date received?
- If the deadline falls on a weekend, does the due date “roll over” to the following Monday, or does it need to be in by Friday?
If you miss a return deadline, you could be fined a penalty of either a flat rate or a percentage of the assessed value of your property, and you may lose your protest rights.
Never miss another deadline—and dramatically reduce the time it takes to gather due dates and other key information—with the help of property tax software.
Appeal deadlines are the time by which you can appeal an assessment. You need to know that:
- Some states or jurisdictions do not have annual appeal deadlines but require protests to be made [x] number of days after the assessment is sent to the owner (most commonly 30 days). In that case, you need to stay on top of this ever-changing deadline.
- If you do open an appeal, some jurisdictions require you to present your case over the course of one or more hearings. Hearing dates also need to be tracked.
If you miss an appeal deadline, you could be stuck with an unfair, high taxable value that will lead to higher tax bills in the future.
Payment deadlines are the time by which you must make a tax payment. You need to know that:
- Tax bills may have multiple payment options, giving you the ability to pay in full or installments, or even offering discounts for early payment. Choose your best option for payment based on your cash flow or capitalization requirements. Depending on what you decide, this could mean multiple payment deadlines.
- Some states and/or jurisdictions may send multiple bills throughout the course of a year for a single account. For example, Michigan sends a payment bill in summer and in winter; Massachusetts sends quarterly bills.
If you miss a payment deadline, you could be fined a penalty of either a flat rate or a percentage of the original tax due.
Ways To Manage Property Tax Due Dates
Some of the common tools teams use to effectively manage property tax due dates are:
- A spreadsheet. Excel is the most commonly used spreadsheet; many small companies use it to track counties and due dates. To get started creating your own property tax due date calendar in Excel, simply add a year to last year’s deadlines. But keep in mind that as returns, bills, and assessments roll in, dates may change by a matter of days and will need to be changed manually on the spreadsheet. You’ll also have to look up and include dates for early payment discounts and installments. So you’ll need to continually verify your “best guess” Excel calendar with actual due dates as you become aware of them.
- An online calendar like Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, etc. Online calendars are easily shareable and can be accessed from anywhere. But keep in mind you still have to find a way to track how much you filed the returns for, and the value of your assessments, so a solution like this really only addresses half the equation.
- Online project management software like Teamwork, Favro, Trello, etc. For small companies, there are a lot of online project management solutions available that could be used to track due dates. However, the burden remains on you and your team to track down dates, plug them in, and continuously verify them to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
- Integrated property tax software. If you’re part of a large company that has property in various parts of the country, efficiency is key. Property tax software updates due dates automatically, so all you have to do is search the return deadlines, for example, for the next 30 days in all the jurisdictions that apply. Once you’ve submitted the required documentation or payment for a deadline, it disappears from your “queue.”
Another benefit of using software is that it’s more than just a calendar; it also helps you process your tax documentation. So if a return deadline for your Texas property is upcoming, you can look up the date in the software and then use it to pull together and complete the required documentation. The whole process of property tax filing becomes less cumbersome and can be completed more quickly.
Want to know more about how software can help manage property tax due dates?
Ask us. We’ll be happy to show you around our own software, Total Property Tax. It not only helps you manage property tax due dates all over the U.S., but also removes many of the manual burdens associated with the tax cycle, like data entry and information verification. And it produces valuable reports to help with high-level tasks like forecasting and appeals. No installation necessary; just a login and you’re ready to start simplifying your property tax cycle today!