If you’re an owner, occupier, or manager of a real estate portfolio, you know how important it is to appeal your property tax assessments. However, if you’re relying on spreadsheets and manual processes to analyze your assessment data, you likely won’t have time to review it all. By making this process more efficient, you may identify more opportunities, which could translate to a 10 to 15% increase in your tax savings.
A report from the International Property Tax Institute (IPTI) showed that less than half of North American firms regularly reviewed their assessments to identify appeal opportunities, while 39% said they lacked normalized property tax data, inhibiting them from making strategic appeal decisions.
Fortunately, a well-organized data set and specialized software can speed up the time it takes you to review your assessments, meaning you’re well-equipped to determine what to appeal.
To help speed up your appeal determination process, we’ve put together two critical steps for identifying tax saving opportunities in your assessments using software.
It may seem obvious, but having all of the data you need in the right format is essential for making strategic appeal decisions. But how do you know what you need, and in what format you need it?
While it varies by portfolio and appeal strategy, there are some key points you'll want to make sure you’re tracking:
Along with these broader categories, there’s also county- and jurisdiction-specific data to consider. For example, your properties in New York may be subject to transitional values, while portfolios in some States or Canadian provinces need to account for phase-ins. For each of these, make sure to review your phase-in or transitional amount for the coming year, and what effects an appeal will have on the value going forward.
Once you’ve ensured you have all of the data you need at a general level, it’s important to make sure you drill down to the specifics of the values themselves to make your analysis accurate and more efficient. Some key components include:
Of course, the data you need varies by portfolio and your appeal strategy, so make sure you review your assessments carefully to make sure you’ve captured everything you need. However, one thing is clear: having an organized dataset will not only make it easier to review, but also ensure you don’t miss out on any opportunities.
Now that you have all of your data in one place and in a consistent format, you’re ready to start looking for appeal opportunities.
Traditionally, assessment reviews were done in a manual fashion on a property-by-property basis. Today, you can use technology to automate much of this process, allowing you to quickly identify trends and patterns over time.
Of course, there are many indicators that lend to your decision to file an appeal; in general, however, collecting your data in one place, cleaning the data so it’s easy to analyze, and generating analytics and reports to highlight outliers and anomalies, enable you to quickly zero in on your real opportunities.
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