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Looking Ahead: The Future of COVID-19’s Impact on Property Taxes in 2020

Every community is attempting to keep up with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it can or will impact our daily corporate lives. Property tax deadlines, due dates, payments and more are no different as changes are happening daily.

We are hearing in the news about individuals losing their jobs or being furloughed, but what about the companies that are experiencing a loss in revenue because of the on-going quarantine? One growing concern is how they will pay their property taxes.

Property taxes are a vital part of the economy. They go towards paying schools, emergency services, government facilities, community services and much more. They are vital to the survival of a community, but for those that have had to reduce or completely shut down their services, paying property taxes can be a hardship.

Unlike income taxes, property tax due dates and payment options vary from state to state and sometimes within the state. Depending on where your business is located, you may pay property taxes directly to the county, school district, city or another jurisdiction. While the individual jurisdiction might collect your property taxes, they are often restricted from making changes to property tax due dates or deferring interest and penalties due to late payment. Most property tax payment dates and options are set by legal statutes and cannot be changed without an executive order.

The good news is that a few states and jurisdictions have extended their due dates or waived penalties and interest in the short term.

If you are a PVS customer, feel free to contact us for more information and updates. If you are not a PVS client but would like more information concerning your specific situation or would like to discuss the opportunity of becoming a client with PVS, please call 888-862-2722. As always, for more information, please go to www.propertyvaluationservices.net.

Payment Under Protest and 25.25d Appeals

What if I missed the appeal deadline? 

In some states, you are not completely out of luck.  Some states offer secondary appeal opportunities if you did not file an appeal on your real estate assessments.  These appeals can be tricky and are more difficult to pursue, but if you missed the chance to file your initial appeal, it is worth trying.

Kansas – Payment Under Protest (PUP)

In Kansas, if you missed the appeal deadline, you can submit a late appeal simultaneous with your first installment of property tax payment.  Kansas allows you to split your tax payment in half, so any reductions in taxes achieved through the Payment Under Protest would either be realized on a reduced second installment tax bill or a refund would be issued after taxes were paid.  This could also be an important step in mitigating your tax liabilities going forward. Any reductions achieved should hold for the following two years or limit a potential increase to only 5%, essentially saving you money over two or three years. (Don’t worry, we only get paid a contingency of the savings during the tax year the reduction was made.)

Texas – 25.25d Appeals

Texas has some of the highest property tax rates in the country and they tend to increase values year after year prompting a constant wave of appeals.  As high as these taxes are, some property owners still do not get around to filing an appeal by the standard deadline.  If that happens and your property is substantially over assessed, we can file a 25.25d appeal by the end of January for the prior year’s value.  This is a complicated process, as we would have to achieve a substantial (33%) reduction, but it is worth pursuing when you consider the typical increases and tax rates we see in Texas. Even if not successful, this gives PVS a head start in preparing your next appeal, just three to four months away.

Customizing PVSpts for Sales and Use Tax

Given the outstanding success we have had developing our proprietary Property Tax system (PVSpts) we have tackled in-house development of a proprietary sales tracking system (PVSsales) and Sales and Use tax system (STS) as well.

PVS has used various CRM (customer relationship management) solutions over the years, but many are generic with limited flexibility and very expensive to customization.  We have taken the good from the others and combined it with what was lacking to develop sales tracking software specifically geared toward Property Tax & Sales & Use Tax prospecting!

Almost 8 years ago PVS ownership decided to expand our offerings to include Sales & Use tax and started a completely separate company called State and Local Tax Solutions, as we say, SALT Solutions.  They, as PVS did in the beginning, started using spreadsheets to track vital information,  from that we began to develop our own proprietary software solution.  Several years of use and learning and we are on the verge of delivering a purpose-built solution to meet the requirements of the Sales & Use tax industry.  Many think it is a luxury to build your own software solutions but when managed properly it can become an invaluable tool!

Handling Local Requirements & E-Filing

Do you need various local tax consultants to handle your properties in different states?  Our proprietary software is designed to track the local requirements for each taxing jurisdiction across the United States.  This allows PVS to be your single provider for all states, while giving us the unique ability to track assessor history in filings, appeals and audits.  We are also developing methods to integrate e-filing into our software (PVSpts) to eliminate possible issues with mail delivery.

Custom Reports and Complex Assets

Can your tax consultant easily run custom reports for you or add additional fields that you may need to track with your tax data?  More than that, can you easily run custom reports in Excel?  An advantage to owning and developing our own tax software is the ability to accommodate special reporting or data tracking needs quickly and easily.  We can create reports in Excel, PDF, XML, and CSV formats for easy integration with your workflow.  Our Client Web Access also allows our Clients to run their own reports by selecting the data fields needed and exporting to Excel.

Does your current provider track the assets associated with your return?  Most firms simply track additions and deletions, but we track at the asset level which helps identify ghost assets or additional areas of opportunity. This also gives us an advantage in obtaining and applying adjustments to ensure you are paying the appropriate tax amount for your complex assets. Our competitors do not spend the time to analyze individual asset values.  However, PVS has developed multiple unique methodologies to revalue individual assets in an attempt to reduce our Clients’ property tax liability.

Special Notifications: The Information You Need

Do you need special notifications when certain events occur?  Our software has client notifications (a fancy way of saying customized automated emails) that we can tailor to a client’s needs. Do not worry, the notifications are not sent out in spam fashion, a consultant reviews each message before it is sent.  The notifications help to warn you if a value increases over a certain threshold, if an appeal is filed, or when bills are approved for payment. If you have a particular notification request, your sales representative can assist you in acquiring information on the process.

Do you have a question about an invoice?  We can easily answer your questions as our invoices tie back to the events that triggered them.  Our billing department can view much of the information you may need and can quickly get in contact with the consultant working the property if more information is required.  Many competitors would need to check between various software solutions or worse spreadsheets to check into the detail behind an invoice.

Would you like to see your tax data and documents for both real estate and personal property?  We have a web portal that allows you to view our data for your account in a secure, easy to understand, web format.  Documents needed, such as tax bills, returns, and management reports are easily downloadable too.  Our workflow for all documentation is to have it scanned into our software and then associated with the corresponding tax data for each parcel.  This allows for your immediate retrieval of all information available via the web portal.

IT Advances and Updates

As one of the most technologically advanced boutique property tax firms, PVS is in constant development of software to improve, advance, and run our business.  Our development mantra is “by tax professionals, for tax professionals” and this keeps us focused on our audience and goals.  Our initial development project started in 1999, and was an effort to track 100 columns and 1000 rows of property tax information from a spreadsheet in a database.  That effort was put into production and has constantly been updated, improved and expanded over the last 20 years. These updates include numerous feature and functionality updates, vendor updates, integrations with MS Office, Acrobat, and other third-party solutions for property tax bill payments.  We refer to this solution as PVSpts, short for Property Valuation Services property tax system.

That very system currently runs every facet of our property tax business to increase efficiency, ensure compliance with all the various taxing requirements, and allows us to accommodate special requests from clients. Our software solution allows our staff to manage documents, time and expense tracking, tax data, client notifications, reporting needs, and billing.  Having a solution that handles all aspects of our business streamlines the workflow so that data does not have to be transferred between individual lines of business solutions.

We have undertaken an entire software rewrite project to integrate new technology offerings to further improve tools available to our consultants, streamline processes, and ensure our product is supportable.  Stay tuned for more details in our 6-part series.

Why Online Access Matters

Imagine your boss came to you with any of the following questions, and you do not know the answer…

“Do you have last year’s Business Personal Property Tax Return for the Atlanta plant?”

“How much did we pay in property tax last year on our Kansas City Hospital?”

“What was the value of the Dallas facility?”

“Do we know what our property taxes are going to be in Georgia next year?”

“Has that appeal been settled in Harris County?”

Our Clients have countless financial, accounting, or other administrative responsibilities.  Unfortunately, managing their property tax portfolio is a daunting task and these types of questions tend to pop up at the busiest times.  Knowing all of this information, tracking assessment notices, tracking tax bills, reconciling accruals, filing Business Personal Property Tax Returns, appealing real estate values, projecting/budgeting for future tax liabilities, and reporting can consume an enormous and honestly unnecessary amount of time.

Having a firm with an online property tax portfolio management system can nearly eliminate the time dedicated to all of these processes.  With a secure login and password, you can view all of your pertinent documentation such as your returns, assessment notices, tax bills, and budget/management reports that PVS produces bi-annually for you.  From here you can check the status of your appeals, find current values as well as prior tax amounts, and run customized reports by simply exporting select fields to Excel.

Not only will PVS manage your property tax portfolio, but we supply you with the access to stay as involved as much as you like or as little as you need.

The questions above are common questions, but with our Online Client Access, the answer is literally just a few clicks away 24 hours a day.

Timing Is Everything

As fall approaches, unfortunately it is time to start thinking about 2019 and your Property Taxes.  When looking for a Property Tax Consultant, why not consider going with a boutique firm that has specialized in Property Tax consulting services for the last 20 years?  Does it matter?

The simple truth: when thinking of Business Personal Property Taxes, accountants are not taught Property Taxes in college.  Instead, their schooling is in General Accounting or Federal taxes…not Property Taxes.  When thinking of Real Estate Property taxes, you want someone who has the experience in valuation for Property Tax, not some other valuation purpose.  With a specialty firm you are guaranteed to find the expertise you deserve!  Don’t delay, contact Property Valuation Services today…you won’t be disappointed in your selection!!

Tax Bills: Your Best Steps

A common and unfortunate property tax misstep for companies can involve tax bills.  Keeping track of what you owe in property taxes seems easy, right?  Maybe not…

Tax bills look completely different from one jurisdiction to another. Keeping track of what you owe, who it should be paid to, when the deadlines are, whether or not there is a discounted amount if you pay it early, are there installment options, and comparing the bills against the original Assessment Notices to ensure the amounts are all correct can create problems.  This is all assuming a company has a solid process so that the person responsible receives the tax bill in the first place.

These missteps lead to late payments that will then include penalties.  No one enjoys paying their property tax bill, but paying penalties for an oversight can be frustrating. So how do we avoid issues?

PVS offers a large array of services, one important service being our Tax Bill Approvals.  Instead of hoping you receive your tax bill and can translate it, let us track your notices and tax bills for you.  We will not only upload these documents into your secure online Client Web Access account, but we will review your tax bills for accuracy and send a standardized Tax Bill Approval via email.  This email will list who you send the payment to, when the deadline is, what discounted dates or installments are available, and how much to pay.  We will also attach the original tax bill to your email for your records.

Tax Bill Approvals are just one of many services we provide that set us apart from other tax firms.  Let us know how we can best help you.