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Tax technology solves problems throughout the property tax life cycle

Written on Dec 20, 2023
Tax technology and the property tax life cycle

               (Mikhail Nilov / pexels)

Property tax dilemmas plague all sizes of tax institutions and all different industries. Those with high volumes of data find it incredibly challenging to reduce risks and the time it takes to file business personal property forms.

Many organizations rely on manual processes for these tasks. Unfortunately, errors increase as accountants comb through large amounts of data, take information from one source and enter it into another.

Let’s dive into some of the drawbacks of the current processes most organizations have in place. We’ll touch on the barriers to change and the tech solutions that can considerably impact the property tax life cycle.

Drawbacks and barriers to change

Yearly, tax accountants must sift through large amounts of data to find and reconcile the information they need to substantiate and submit their property tax filings. The larger the volume of data, the more time-consuming and complex the task.

Spreadsheets are easy to set up, fast to use and flexible. However, they lack documented procedures and don’t reveal enough information. The results are large and messy spreadsheets, erroneous or multiple file versions, unsubstantiated calculations and unchecked resources floating around.

Newly implemented or upgraded ERP and fixed asset systems further complicate matters. Multiple fixed asset systems (like those resulting from M&As) prolong and convolute the process.

Businesses mostly rely on top-side or offline manual entries to manipulate numbers when adhering to GAAP standards. However, this process gives way to too many errors.

Fortunately, tax technology is more advanced and helps iron out the kinks in the manual way of doing things. Broad-based fixes assist accountants throughout the property life cycle and offer multiple extra benefits. Narrow-based corrections exist addressing specific issues.

Time and a lack of technical knowledge (knowing the solutions exist) are the biggest barriers to change. However, the consequences of not changing can be too big to ignore.

The following information about “what’s out there” can help organizations realize the possibilities. A tax tech roadmap can help companies take small steps to upgrade their systems and overcome time constraints and mental blocks regarding technical changes.

The value of automation in property tax

Benefits of property tax software and service as a software (SaaS) include:

  • Condensed payment approval workflows
  • Less duplicated tasks
  • Better forecasting capabilities using updated changes to assumptions
  • Fewer touchpoints to update and recalculate rates
  • Reduced liabilities utilizing event date and deadline notifications
  • Diminished time and errors using a structure that updates changes across the board when you make a change to the primary system

Next, let’s break down the possibilities in each stage of the property tax life cycle.

Asset Management

Each new year, an organization’s tax department must compile data from multiple sources across many departments. Even after amassing all the info, asset data lacks tax transparency, and information can be inconsistent.

Next, property tax analysts must remove and modify erroneous, unnecessary or duplicated data. It all adds up to less time to review, analyze and improve.

Business intel and asset-analyzing software assist tax and accounting departments in identifying issues throughout the year. Asset management software, periodic ERP upgrades, data repairs and improved asset detail proactively decrease time and errors in this part of the cycle.


Compliance involves assets and forms. Spreadsheets are the usual vessel of choice for this info. However, spreadsheets are prone to human error and inefficiency problems. Data manipulation can make reconciliations especially difficult.

Property tax software primarily focuses on compliance issues. These systems work even better when paired with intuitive ERP and fixed asset management systems.

Automatically gather and categorize incoming data with auto-auditing capabilities, alerting users of reconciliation mismatches. All-encompassing software helps accountants with workflows, error management, reporting and email alerts.

Automation and macro capabilities cut down on repetition. Pair with online document storage and document management technology that allow for electronic signatures to ensure a workflow fit for today’s remote workforce.

Review and appeals

Tax departments review assessment notices for opportunities to reduce expenses. The work requires extensive knowledge. Simply reviewing the evaluations and communicating with local or state assessors before the deadline can be extremely valuable.

Missing a deadline results in a formal hearing, which is risky for the re-evaluation outcome and the negative public image that can result. Additionally, the more in-depth analysis requires more detailed record-keeping and additional deadlines for filing paperwork.

Software that uses calendar capabilities is optimal for managing priorities and meeting deadlines to avoid lengthy assessments and appeals. SaaS subscription services offering comparable data may be a valuable investment. Outsource or co-source valuation and appeal duties to reinforce your team’s knowledge and experience in this part of the cycle.

Bills and payments

Total property tax compliance solutions typically include bill management functions. The technology reads and translates bill data and compiles and sends information to the finance department for payments, budgets and forecasts.

Forecasting and accruals

The challenge in this stage is transparency. Technology simplifies and integrates data collections for better calculating, journaling, budgeting and forecasting, improving transparency and making real-time analyses possible.

Roadmaps assist with upgrades

Utilizing technology in taxes conserves time and money. However, many executives cite time as the reason they don’t switch from manual to tech sooner. They say making the necessary changes and adapting to them is too time-consuming.

A tax tech roadmap can transform how businesses think and act to update their systems to reflect all that software and software as a service (SaaS) has going on. The key is making short-, mid- and long-range tech goals to upgrade systems.

Short-term goals should include what the company wants to achieve within a year. Mid-term goals span five years. Long-term plans are typically unachievable due to business volatility but should hold as the ideal the company is working towards.

Critical education

Organizations must continuously review roles, processes, and systems to stay updated with technology, promote essential shareholder buy-in and anticipate future needs. For these reasons, continuing education courses for accountants is vital.

Because technology is rapidly evolving, accounting processes evolve and improve how we do business. Accounting membership organizations assist their members with the tech information needed to stay knowledgeable in their fields.

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