It's not uncommon for property tax and accounting teams to receive the majority of tax bills and assessment notices in paper format. After receiving these documents, extracting key data and inputting into a digital system is necessary to carry out day-to-day property tax activities, including:
But extracting data and inputting it into your system can be time-consuming and painstakingly manual.
We recognized a growing need for property tax and accounting teams to streamline the manual entry of property tax bills and assessment notices. In response, we launched itamlink Capture, our industry-leading tool that automates the process of manually inputting data from property tax bills into software and increases data accuracy using built-in review functionality.
Managing property tax bills presents nuances and challenges, especially for clients managing real estate portfolios that span multiple jurisdictions or countries. The biggest problem facing many teams today is that most property tax documents are still received in paper format.
Some of our clients estimate that as much as 95% of their tax documents are received in paper format. In order to easily track payment dates, verify payment amounts, and analyze data, it has to be manually entered into systems.
Before using itamlink Capture, many of our clients outsourced manual data entry to third parties. While outsourcing can reduce the time burden, it introduces the possibility of data delays, which can cause important deadlines to get missed. What’s more, third parties aren’t immune to introducing errors during manual re-keying, either. And granting third parties access to your software systems (or spreadsheets) presents security concerns.
The main benefit of a software solution is removing the human element from the data entry equation, while also providing data validations throughout the process. itamlink Capture allows clients to upload batches of tax bills into one central location, where it extracts key data, including
Then, Capture interprets that data and automatically inputs it into itamlink into its respective property, parcel, year, etc. Throughout this process, the tool provides data validations to ensure the data entered reflects the values on the original document.
Along with the centralized, searchable data, itamlink Capture also associates the original scanned PDF with the property/parcel and year. This is a big time-saver, as jurisdictions often require the “stub” (or original documents) to be submitted along with the payment.
One of the most challenging processes in data capture technology is data mapping. Data mapping is the process of plotting key information on a document, then converting the text into a machine-readable form. While itamlink Capture is the leading industry tool, we’re continuing to improve its accuracy and specificity by enhancing the data-mapping process.
How are we doing this? Today, Capture requires us to map specific fields on a tax document to fields that our team have already identified and support for extraction.
This process is more challenging than it sounds. For one, each jurisdiction has a different layout for tax documents, meaning the placement of key data fields can vary. Second, scanning tax documents in different resolutions can change the location of key data points on the page.
By mapping more variances of where key data is located on a tax document, we increase Capture’s specificity, helping clients save time and catch inconsistencies in data extraction.
Our team plans to leverage existing technology from software innovators like Microsoft and the latest advances in data capture technology. This will help us enhance the speed and accuracy of itamlink Capture, while also giving clients more control.
For instance, we’re improving the tool to allow clients to customize data fields relevant to them. In addition, clients can train itamlink Capture to identify their key data fields, then automatically detect when the placement of a field changes.
This ensures that even if the property tax bill or assessment isn’t a direct match with the expected layout, the software will still detect the right information (e.g., parcel #, date, location, etc.) and reasonably assume that the data is correct based on previous tax bills.
We’re also continually building more business logic and workflows into the transfer of information from Capture into itamlink. By continuing to refine the tool and build a stronger integration between Capture and itamlink, we’re paving the way for automated workflows and improved data validations.
Owners and occupiers of multi-property portfolios across the globe are adopting software solutions to streamline their property tax bills and assessment processes. If your team is stuck with manual processes and excel sheets, it may be time to consider software to automate processes and provide stronger reporting and analysis.
Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest property tax management tips, tools, and resources right to your inbox