How PetSmart Streamlined Property Tax Data Management with itamlink

"We like to joke that we are “data rich, but aggregate poor.” itamlink has allowed us to take the data we have sitting around, aggregate it and use it to help make decisions that can reduce property tax expense."

Byron Ayle

Senior Director, Real Estate Administration | PetSmart

Background and Objectives

Byron Ayle is the Senior Director of Real Estate Administration at PetSmart.

His team is responsible for identifying and managing appeal opportunities and refunds alongside their third-party appeal team, assisting their new store development team identify possible store locations, and completing payments paid to the Landlord or taxing jurisdiction.

About PetSmart

PetSmart is the largest specialty retailer of pet products and services. Operating in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, PetSmart manages a portfolio of approximately 1,650 properties.

Company Type

Retail
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Number of Employees

56,000

Number of Properties

1,650

Country

United States, Canada and Puerto Rico

Industry

Retail
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Number of Tenants

56,000

Number of Properties

1,650

Country

United States, Canada and Puerto Rico

Challenges

Lack Visibility into Data to Identify Appeal Opportunities

Byron’s team lacked visibility to see what parts of their calculations were climbing and which were dropping. Having access to this information would allow them to quickly know where and when to appeal. They would be able to assist their third-party appeal company (or push the Landlord) with opportunities to appeal. Additionally, this helps ensure that they are chasing savings.

They were looking for a software to help manage appeals and refunds with their third-party appeal team.

Multiple Years of Data Were Not Aggregated

Byron’s team liked to joke that they were “data rich, but aggregate poor.” They wanted to capture multiple years of detailed property tax data for their 1,600+ properties.

Aggregated data would help improve assumptions for new store performance modeling. This would assist their new store development team to analyze potential locations for new stores. Further, it would help make expense forecasting easier and more accurate.

Payment Processes Weren't Optimized

When it came to payment processes, Byron’s team wanted data that encompassed not only how much they paid the Landlord or the taxing jurisdiction, but the nuts and bolts behind the calculation.

Further, they wanted year-over-year comparability to quickly identify and prevent billing errors by landlords. This would lead to immediate savings or cost avoidance.

How itamlink helped

Here’s what Byron had to say about the impact of adopting itamlink:

itamlink solved these issues for us, plus we picked up some additional benefits around calendarizing due dates where we pay the taxing jurisdiction directly, notifications to prevent late fees and interest, and we can generate monthly accruals for the accounting team.”

Streamlined Appeal Management

The nature of appeals involves a lot of back-and-forth communication, where appeal teams are working on appeals from several years ago, while property tax teams are busy reviewing and paying current activity. Using itamlink, Byron’s team has been able to leverage their appeal management by:

  • Managing when appeals are active, deferred or complete,
  • Tracking whether refunds have been received and if the value aligns with what’s expected,  
  • Ensuring they are paying their appeal team their contingency.

 

Elimination of Manual Processes

Byron’s team has leveraged itamlink’s data abstraction tool Capture, ultimately eliminating specialized employees from having to manually rekey data. Using Capture, the tool is able to extract data and input it directly into the system, reducing human errors and redundant tasks. They’ve been able to redirect that time towards analyzing their data to determine ways to reduce expenses.

Leveraged Pro-rata Share Functionalities

Byron’s team has taken advantage of the pro-rata share functionality. They simply load their landlord reimbursement properties and allow itamlink to automatically complete the calculations on the shopping center tax bills to carve out PetSmart’s exposure. What’s more, not only have they been able to look at their data by state, jurisdiction, etc., they’ve also analyzed their data at a company level rather than just the pay-direct locations.  

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“When reviewing the other products in this space, we immediately noticed the clarity and simplicity of itamlink.”

Byron Ayle

Senior Director, Real Estate Administration | PetSmart

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© 2021 Rethink Solutions. All Rights Reserved