What’s New

Article From Director – Tyler Tackett

Hello, my name is Tyler Tackett. I’m currently the In-House Software Developer and IT Consultant. I lead the IT department in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas and assist our help desk in Kansas City. I began working for Property Valuation Services in August of 2006 bringing me towards my fifteenth anniversary. When I started at PVS, there were about 30 employees and now, we are a team of 76. In 2006, my department was just me and one external developer and is now composed of three in-house developers, the help desk and two external developers. In my tenure, we have greatly expanded our information technology footprint. Our database size has increased by a factor of 164, not including supporting documents. In this data, we have added many clients along with their parcels and assets.

In my earlier days, I was the IT Manager at our office in Overland Park. We planned to facilitate remote employees for working from home during tax season and a few employees in remote smaller offices beginning back in 2006. The next year, we focused on improving our document management within our software solution which allows our employees to easily link and retrieve relevant documents related to various levels of the taxing process. These improvements also enabled our web access to be expanded so our clients could easily retrieve their tax returns and bills. In 2008, we began moving to a virtualized hosting environment that more easily enables us to scale and have redundancy for failover if needed. These features have been constantly improving and expanding in the following years. These early initiatives to keep our infrastructure in line with current technology trends have enabled us to easily adapt to the current work from home environment.

PVS has always invested in technology solutions to ensure an efficient and accurate tax management process for our clients. Our software, PVSpts, started development in 2000 and has been in constant development since. Every year, we add and improve features allowing us to better serve our clients. In the beginning years, many things were done on spreadsheets and paper. As we have progressed, spreadsheets are now mostly an input or output of our system. Our software now includes asset, contact, document, email, invoicing, marketing and tax management components. In the last year, we’ve completed a major software upgrade to take advantage of new database technology and search tools. We value input from our employees on ways to improve our internal procedures and client requests for processes that better align with their procedures. As we have onboarded new clients, we’ve had many requests over the years for new features that we have successfully implemented. We can typically implement client requests promptly while providing a solution that meets or exceeds our client’s needs by using our collective tax and development experience. 

As we progress in 2021, we look forward to another year of improvements and new features. Rest assured that PVS is equipped to handle your tax needs during the pandemic.

 

Article From Director – Gerhart VanNote

Happy New Year and wishes for a harmonious 2021! 

My name is Gerhart Van Note and I am the Senior Director of Real Estate for Property Valuation Services and oversee the entire real estate tax department.  I started with the company in January of 2006 and 2021 will take me into my 16th year.   We have grown from a department of three to fifteen highly qualified, motivated real estate tax professionals! The department consists of MAI’s licensed appraisers, licensed real estate agents and CMI’s – just to name a few! These professionals are qualified to handle any property type in any jurisdiction.

In fact, our client base has grown from just over 40 to over 800+ in the last 15 years.  Our real estate parcel count has grown from 4,600 to currently 16,600. We have seen tremendous growth and we owe it all to you, our clients!  

In the next few weeks, we will be sending out property information requests to you via email so we may begin our value analysis for 2021.  With most lien dates around the country set in early 2021, we anticipate filing a large number of appeals in the next few months due to the pandemic of 2020.  COVID-19 has wreaked havoc not only on the people of the world but has affected nearly all commercial and residential real estate properties.  We are currently reviewing and gathering market data to help support our appeals that will occur later in the year.  I have worked with most of our clients over the years and if you should have any questions or would like to discuss your property(s) in more detail, please feel free to reach out to me personally or anyone in the real estate department.

It has always been the mission of PVS to work in the best interest of our clients.  We truly value this mission and appreciate the atmosphere it creates. We view our team as an extension of your company and will always do what is in your best interest. To our current clients, thank you for allowing us to look after your property tax needs and we welcome the opportunity to serve any future clients in the same capacity.  

I wish you and your family a safe and healthy new year and may your company be strong and prosperous in 2021!  Thank you again for your business and looking forward to serving your company’s needs for many years to come.  

 

Article From Director – Vanessa White

Greetings, my name is Vanessa White. I have been with Property Valuation Services (PVS) for fifteen years, and I’m preparing for my sixteenth tax season.   When I started at PVS, we had less than twenty employees, and we worked about 8,000 parcels.  As of today, we have 71 employees, and we are working approximately 36,000 parcels. Initially, PVS hired me to fill the Office Manager position, but as the business grew and the number of employees increased, I saw the need for a dedicated HR professional.  In 2012 I received my first HR designation, Professional in Human Resources (PHR), and in 2015 I received my second HR designation, Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).    Growing with PVS has provided me with a solid understanding of all aspects of the business that allows me to utilize my HR knowledge to benefit PVS, which ultimately benefits our clients.     

As an HR Director, I’m responsible for providing guidance to Management on employment best practices, resolving employee issues, and HR law compliance.   This year I’ve added another skill to my wheelhouse, understanding the ever-changing world of COVID-19 and what I can do to keep employees safe to ensure we meet the business needs.   2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but as I reflect on everything that went well this year and look ahead to preparing for the 2021 tax season, I’m proud of how our Management and employees have successfully navigated this difficult period.    

In January, I saw the potential for a lockdown, so I took my concerns to our Senior Management.   We started assessing our ability to transition our offices to work remotely from a technology standpoint, purchase needed supplies, and create remote work policies.  Most of our offices, especially all essential staff, already had access to work remotely.  Still, our IT support used the advanced notice to prepare support employees to work remotely too.  Weeks before the country started lockdown orders, we tested our systems by asking all employees to work remotely for a day.  Because we were able to test our systems in advance, we were confident that our business would continue as usual when the state mandated lockdowns occurred.  

We only allowed three essential employees into the office to manage incoming and outgoing mail during the state mandated lockdowns, which coincided with the businesses part of our tax season.  Although we qualified as an essential business, we used an abundance of caution to limit employee’s exposure while all the health experts tried to figure out how to manage the virus’ spread.   After the bulk of the personal property tax return deadlines were complete and we had a better understanding of how to protect employees, we gave all employees the option of returning to the offices if they followed strict COVID protection policies.  Currently, we have seventeen employees who have elected to return to the corporate office.  While we strive to do what is best to keep employees safe from the virus, we felt it was important for our employees’ mental health to give employees the choice to return to the office.     

As we have learned more about the pandemic, we have safeguards to protect employees and ensure we can meet our business needs for the upcoming 2021 tax season.  We have compartmentalized our corporate office to limit the number of employees in contact with other employees, so only nine people can be exposed in a section.  Everyone in all our offices are required to wear masks. Any item that is touched by multiple people (i.e. physical returns) are handled with gloves. We have disinfectant cleaner and hand sanitizer stations all around the offices.  We have social distance and other reminder signs posted around the building.  We frequently email employees to remind them of our COVID employee protection policies and update them on the latest CDC information.  We have back-up teams comprised of remote workers cross-trained to handle essential tasks, including a team that can replace the three essential employees physically in the office if necessary.  We have put every reasonable safety measure in place to keep our employees safe and ensure our clients receive uninterrupted service.    

The measures we have taken to protect employees have resulted in no transmission inside any of our offices.  We have five employees that have contracted COVID, but luckily only two employees have physically been in an office.  After each positive test result, we had the offices professionally sanitized.  We sent all exposed employees home to work, and the employee with the positive test and all exposed employees must receive a negative test result before they can return.   

While we all eagerly await an end to this pandemic, I’m confident that PVS will continue with business as usual.  Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any PVS member.  Thank you for your continued support.  

 

Article From Director – Pam Carley

Hello, my name is Pamela Carley.  I am pleased to report that I just wrapped up my 21st  tax season with Property Valuation Services (PVS).  I began working with PVS shortly after the doors opened.  I have held multiple positions within the organization and have gained valuable experience from each job.  As such, I am now teaching and spreading my knowledge to my current team.  Our team of employees works hard throughout the year to benefit our clients and achieve the best possible result! 

My department currently manages the review and filing of all business personal property tax returns at PVS.  This is a large task as we filed over 14,000 returns in 34 states dealing with over 1,600 individual taxing jurisdictions this 2020 tax year.  Our department consists of myself, three managers, two team leads, and fourteen consultants.  To process such a large volume of tax returns, PVS has developed a valuable proprietary tracking system titled (PVSpts).  This system is a critical tool for our internal function and provides valuable data access to our clients through web access. This system is continually updated to maximize process efficiency. 

This year my team had many challenges to overcome, as did many other companies, due to COVID-19.  Our department has been extremely successful in meeting these challenges by providing remote access to each employee. Moreover, as we had already allowed our employees to utilize remote access before the pandemic, this change was quite painless.  Additionally, we were able to make the necessary modifications in PVSpts to account for the needed changes, and all returns have been filed and reviewed without incident.  Each team member really stepped up and all return deadlines were met without compromising employee safety!  

Our personal property tax filing season is quickly coming to a close for the 2020 year.  Consequently, we have transitioned to tracking all proposed assessed values to ensure the proposed assessments reflect the values we requested on our recently filed tax returns.  As this process can become quite intricate and is extremely time sensitive, PVS has created a dedicated team titled the Property Tax Support Group (PTSG) which is dedicated solely to securing data on these valuations.  With PTSG’s support in gathering this data, my team has been able to operate more efficiently by focusing on valuation work. 

In a perfect world, all issued valuations would reflect our requested valuations. However, in practice, many issued valuations must be negotiated by our office to move towards our requested assessment.   This negotiation process takes several months as I assist my team in reviewing each proposed assessment and potential appeal.  Our office contacts each jurisdiction to obtain detailed working papers which reflect the assessor’s method of valuation. We analyze each account in detail to the individual asset to identify deviations.  Each assessor is contacted to discuss these differences, and in the vast majority of cases, a negotiated settlement is achieved. 

Some situations require that appeal(s) be filed to achieve our desired assessment.  Our office works extensively with each assessor to resolve things without an appeal; however, should an appeal be warranted, PVS is fully equipped to manage the process.  Filing an appeal is a complicated process, as each state, county, and taxing jurisdiction has differing processes for appeal.  As such, the appeal phase of the tax cycle takes the remainder of the year.    

Over these 21 years, I have worked with the vast majority of our clients.  It has always been the mission of PVS to work in the best interest of our clients.  I truly value this mission and appreciate the atmosphere it creates.  I have enjoyed this experience and am looking forward to many more years with PVS.  

 Should you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any member of PVS as we are always here to answer your questions.  Thank you for your continued support. 

 

Article From Director – Chip Saam

Hello, I’m Chip Saam. I’ve been with Property Valuation Services for over 20 years. I’ve been involved in property tax for almost 35 years.  In my position as Technical Director/Personal Property Appraiser, I oversee the hospital team within our personal property tax department. In 1998, I received the CMI property tax designation from the Institute for Professionals in Taxation, and in 2008, I earned the ASA designation in Machinery & Technical Specialties from the American Society of Appraisers. It’s been a rewarding experience growing with PVS from a company of 12 employees when I joined the firm to over 75 employees today. Our mission has never strayed from working in our client’s best interest to ensure that they are paying their fair share of property taxes – nothing more, nothing less. Within the personal property tax department, our goal is to work with our clients to file the most accurate return possible based on the best information available.

A typical filing season for the hospital team includes preparing and filing close to 4,000 business personal property tax returns. Our team of one director, two managers and four consultants are well versed in the different requirements of each jurisdiction across the country that taxes business personal property. As we prepare returns, we review asset listings, general ledgers, location listings and leases to identify any opportunities to save our clients tax dollars. All returns are prepared using a software program we have developed with an outside programmer over the last 20 years. Each year we make modifications to the program to account for changes in property tax laws and statutes.

After returns are prepared and submitted, we begin the process of tracking values and reviewing accounts that may require appeals. Our software system tracks appeal deadlines to help manage the process. We make every attempt to resolve any value differences with assessor’s office informally. If we are unable to resolve our differences, the formal appeal process is started. We include our clients in this decision-making process as it may impact their image and standing in their local community. If we are unable to resolve value differences at this level, a cost benefit analysis is performed with the client to determine if litigation is warranted.

After the value collection and appeal periods of the property tax cycle are completed, we move into the tax bill collection and approval phase. Ideally, clients will allow the mailing address for tax bills to be changed so that they come directly to the PVS Corporate Office. This allows for quicker review and transmittal of a tax bill approval.  Except for extreme cases, we forward tax bill approvals to clients at least 14 days prior to the due date to allow for timely payments of taxes.

Reports provided throughout the year include a mid-year report to help clients with the review of their property tax accruals, a property tax budget report for the subsequent year for clients that request assistance with their budgeting process and a year-end report in late-December or early-January.

Throughout the year, we help clients with property tax estimates for new or acquired locations or major equipment purchases. Additionally, asset cleanup projects may be performed in the fall to identify assets that may no longer be physically located at a facility but have not been taken as disposals on the books and records. This can result in tax savings that accumulate through all following years.

One of the big issues to consider for the 2021 filing season will be the impact of COVID-19 and how the pandemic has affected the fair market value of equipment. Fair market value is generally defined as an opinion expressed in terms of money, at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts, as of a specific date. For real estate, which is often valued and assessed based on income, the answer is much clearer. The loss of tenants, reductions in rental income and the reduced need for leased commercial real estate have all had an impact on real estate values. For equipment, the impact is not as clear as it typically is valued by placing the cost of the equipment on an assessor’s depreciation schedule, which is often mandated by the state. Also, since by definition, tangible personal property is movable, equipment, in theory, could be transferred to another location that is not being impacted by the pandemic. In some cases, such as durable medical equipment, there may be an argument that the equipment is suffering from more wear and tear due to increased usage and, therefore, the fair market value has decreased faster than under normal market conditions. On the other hand, an industry such as dine-in food service, may see a decline in their equipment fair market value due to the increase in equipment for sale in the secondary market due to so many restaurants closing.

In any case, a request for additional depreciation on equipment due to the pandemic will need to be supported by data and research. A lot remains to be seen on this front. Rest assured that PVS will be keeping an eye on any changes in the assessment of equipment across the country.  

Should you have any questions or needs related to personal property tax, please feel free to reach out at any time. Thank you for your continued support.

 

Tax Bills: How to Avoid Missteps

A common and unfortunate property tax misstep for companies involves tax bills. Your property tax bill is largely based on where your property is and what it’s worth. But keeping track of what you owe might not be as easy as it seems.
Tax bills look completely different from one jurisdiction to another. Here is a list of what you need to keep track of:

  • What you owe.
  • Who it should be paid to.
  • When the deadlines are.
  • Whether or not there is a discount if you pay early.
  • If there are installment options.
  • Comparing these bills against the original assessment notices to ensure the amounts are all correct can create problems. 

A misstep can lead to late payments that will then include penalties. No one enjoys paying their property tax bill, but paying penalties for an oversight makes the process even more frustrating. So, how can you avoid issues?

Our Services

We offer a large array of services, and one especially important one is 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. As part of our compliance services, we review your tax bills for accuracy along with submitting standardized approvals to pay tax bills. 

 

Not only will we 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.

Property Valuation Services Is Here to Help

Tax bill approvals are just one of the many services that we provide. As a recognized leader in providing property tax solutions, we aspire to be the first choice of provider for a broad range of property tax and appraisal needs. We are committed to being a customer-focused organization whose detail-oriented work environment is embodied with quality, integrity and ethics, respect, exceptional communication skills, teamwork and accountability.

Your property values are our top priority. 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 our website

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.