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January 25, 2022

Five Tips to Simplify Property Tax Appeal Management

Industry experts share easy-to-implement tips for managing multiple property tax appeals from filing to close
PROPERTY TAX MANAGEMENT TIPS

After you’ve collected the necessary data, reviewed your property tax assessments, and filed your appeals, it’s important to have reliable processes to ensure appeals move seamlessly from filing to close. Do you have a strategy for ensuring no important property tax appeal dates, documents, or deadlines slip through the cracks?

If you don’t, fear not: we’ve compiled a five-step guide to help you keep track of everything and maximize the likelihood of successful appeal outcomes.  

Your 5-Step Guide to Property Tax Appeal Management

Here are five steps to help you develop an effective appeal management process.  

1. Track important dates and deadlines so nothing slips through the cracks

If you’re managing multiple property tax appeals, you’ll have to keep track of dozens (if not hundreds) of relevant dates and deadlines related to your appeals that can’t be missed. Broadly, there are two categories of dates you’ll need to track:

  • Appeal filing dates, which vary depending on the jurisdiction
  • Events related to your appeal, such as meetings, hearings, and inspections

Missing a filing deadline will put you at risk of forfeiting your appeal. Missing an event related to your appeal can impact the outcome of the appeal.

We recommend tracking property tax appeals using a system that offers a built-in calendar. Better yet, look for a tool that allows you to set up user-specific notifications that you can receive in a method that works for you, such as in the software tool itself or via email (or both). This will help you and your team stay on top of appeals.  

2. Upload and store documents in a single system of record

Since you’re likely receiving the majority of your assessment documents by mail, it’s not realistic to store these all in filing cabinets. Ideally, the software you use for managing appeal dates and deadlines should also act as a central repository for your assessment documents. That way, you can easily pull up documents as needed for each appeal and related deadline/date. In the best-case scenario, this includes both the electronic data as well as a scanned copy of the original document. This allows you to quickly search through electronic information to pull up key data points, but also access the original document (which you may need at different stages of the appeal).  

Of course, uploading all of these documents one by one is time-consuming, especially if you’re keying in the data manually to digitize everything. Tools like itamlink Capture, which can convert paper documents into searchable electronic information, can help speed up this process.

3. Work with specialists and advisors who may have relationships at the local level

We recommend working with advisors who have strong relationships at the local level, as they have unique and specific knowledge that can help through the appeal process. What’s more, they may be able to discuss any concerns you have with the local assessor before taking action. And, they can advise on questions your team has and make sure you’re informed about key valuation and/or property tax parameters in your appealing jurisdiction.

4. Run the numbers for various possible outcomes related to your appeals

Together, the outcomes of your filed appeals will impact your broader business: refunds and offsets secured - or lost – will have an effect on cash flow and profitability, among other items. As such, it’s important to be prepared for any outcome of each property tax appeal. This can include things like:

  • Likelihood of an appeal being won or lost
  • Estimated refund or offset for each appeal
  • Duration of time before jurisdiction releases the funds
  • Ensuring refunds/offsets are received

Preparing for these outcomes can help you develop budgets and forecasts for the upcoming year and ensure you maintain adequate cashflow.  

5. Document all relevant data related to the property tax appeal outcome.

Once the appeal decision has been made, make sure to log and track this information. For example, you’ll want to note the following for each appeal:

  • What was the final decision? What is the revised value/assessment?
  • Does the decision impact multiple years or just one tax year?
  • If you were successful, what is the total refund/offset you secured?
  • When can you expect the refund/offset from the jurisdiction?
  • Has the refund/offset been received?  

All of this data should be catalogued in a centralized location. Property tax management software such as itamlink can help organize current and historical records, so it can be easily searched for and accessed later. This can be particularly helpful when conducting tax planning and strategic activities for future years.

The ability to appeal your assessments is an important component of property tax management and helps you control costs. But managing appeals for a multi-property portfolio requires teams to be organized and proactive. Software is an essential component of an effective appeal strategy. Not only can it help reduce the amount of manual work your team has to perform, but can also speed up processes, streamline data sharing and access, and ensure you don’t miss important dates. Together, this increases the likelihood that your team has time to file appeals, and provides the tools to manage them effectively, from filing to close.

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© 2021 Rethink Solutions. All Rights Reserved
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© 2021 Rethink Solutions. All Rights Reserved