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.)
Thanks to technology advancements, working with outside firms that provide property tax services should be a seamless experience. The easy transferral of data, collaborative work platforms, and availability of options to integrate with your existing systems make it fairly simple to work with outsourcers. There are few, if any, obstacles to data-sharing today that would realistically impede a profitable outsourcer relationship.
When it comes time to choose a company to work with, research is key. Investigate any potential provider’s credentials and reputation, areas of specialization, and experience in the business. Also, you will need to communicate with your outsourcing partner regularly, so look for one that indicates they highly value client support.
Below are eight different types of property tax services that may be of value to your organization at one point or another. Some of their services may overlap (like advisory and valuation services, for example); or, if your need is very specific, you can certainly find a firm that will provide exactly the level of service you need.
8 Property Tax Services You Might Need
1. Advisory/Consulting Services
There’s no such thing as a fixed cost in property tax. Corporate real estate and property taxes present many opportunities to reduce expenses (in some cases significantly), but not every tax team has personnel who are knowledgeable in this area. The right outsourcing firm can provide valuable property tax reduction services that will help you realize those savings.
2. Risk Management/Monitoring
As much as property taxes present opportunities to save money, they are also a source of potential risk. Tax bills are variable, and any unexpected increase could have a negative impact on your organization, diverting funds from investments and growth opportunities. Risk management firms monitor your properties to help you stay ahead of potential increases. They can also help you avoid surprises on your tax bills by becoming familiar with your properties’ tax jurisdictions, researching their appraisal processes and local market data.
3. Appeals Preparation & Representation
Sometimes, ensuring a fair property tax valuation requires an appeal. If you’re looking for some expert guidance in navigating that process—or need help with case management in multiple states—you may want to enlist the help of a property tax protest company that specializes in real and/or personal property. They will advocate on your behalf throughout the entire appeals process. With their knowledge and expertise, they can work with you to devise the right strategy for your case and help you succeed.
TotalPropertyTax software can help you stay on top of appeal deadlines and create appeal packages; it also simplifies the rest of the tax management process. Schedule a free demo to see how easy it is to use.
4. Audit Support
It’s not unusual for states to conduct audits of corporate personal property tax returns. When it happens to you, you may choose to get outside assistance to manage the process, communicate with the taxing authority, and perform the audit on your behalf. Audit management firms must gain a thorough understanding of your business and operations as part of the audit process; their report of the audit findings should include valuable information on potential refunds and assessment liabilities.
5. Property Tax Compliance Services
If your organization has numerous properties in various states, it may be challenging to keep up with the multitude of regulations related to property tax. By enlisting the help of a property tax compliance service, you’re taking steps to mitigate penalties, keeping more of your revenue. Compliance groups file your personal property tax returns for you in a timely manner, ensuring proper tax classification and identification of your assets; they also handle paying the bills. There may also be some overlap with tax bill services (#7) and tax filing services (#8).
6. Valuation Services
There are numerous reasons why you may need valuation services for one or more of your properties (appeals/litigation, financing, purchase price allocation, and more); a valuation service provides appraisals for all these needs. When choosing a valuation service, make sure they have in-depth knowledge of valuation issues related to your industry, and that you understand the methodology behind their valuations. Sometimes advisory and consulting firms provide these services, or they may be offered separately.
7. Tax Bill Services
If you need help keeping up with property tax bill payments—including monitoring them to ensure that no payments are delinquent—you may benefit from partnering with a tax bill service. And if something does fall through the cracks, they will follow up and resolve the situation on your behalf. As an alternative to outsourcing, TotalPropertyTax software automates payments so they are submitted to jurisdictions accurately and on time.
8. Tax Filing Services
Some organizations with limited resources outsource the filing portion of the tax cycle. Preparation and filing make up the lion’s share of the property tax cycle and are extremely time-consuming activities. Here’s another case where the right software can reduce your filing burden dramatically, without having to outsource.