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May 16, 2024

Streamlining Property Tax Management: The Case for Implementing a Tech-Based Solution

Over time, the scenario has become all too familiar for those responsible for managing the commercial property tax obligations of the large organizations they represent. The problem? Sticking with old tried and true manual processes and playing a perpetual game of catch-up.

By defaulting to old ways and relying on relics like paper-based records and multiple spreadsheets, proptax management often becomes overwhelming. The problem becomes even more pronounced with the increase in size of those portfolios, as assets become spread over wider geographic areas.  

A principal challenge associated with managing such large portfolios and trying to stay on top assessments and appeals is the sheer number of jurisdictions that must be considered. Think of an opportunistic investor whose optimal target property might specify a price range, an asset type, age, or potential for reconversion to a more optimal use. Often, that investor looks to check just these boxes, and is indifferent about location. In such cases, those who manage these types of portfolios need to be mindful of the impact of jurisdictional variations.

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Depending on the location of a particular real estate asset, the rules governing property tax may be completely different in terms of deadlines, penalties, discounts – as well as a whole host of variables. And this is due to variations occurring across multiple taxing jurisdictions which can be at the state or local level. One of the most startling statistics often cited is there are more than 17,000 taxing jurisdictions in the United States. With this, consider the challenges associated with trying to manage appeals, assessments, and deadlines with a portfolio of say, even 150 assets. That number alone presents potentially daunting challenges.

As we know, technology and automation have become ubiquitous and have been the key to streamlining and automating many processes across all industries. Of course, some industries are still playing catch-up in terms of developing robust and reliable systems to ease the process, and commercial property tax management falls into that category.

The main challenges for any developer of purpose-built software targeting this industry include:

  1. Creating an alternative to manual, paper-based processes
  1. Navigating property tax rules and procedures for properties in multiple jurisdictions
  1. Staying on top of non-aligned deadlines to minimize late fees and meet obligations on time
  1. Determining an efficient method of selecting what assessments are most appropriate for appeals
  1. Ensuring there is a single source of truth for data
  1. Providing a platform for efficient and robust reporting

itamlink was developed to address these and other recurring issues all in one multi-functional and sturdy platform. In terms of competition, itamlink stands alone in its reach, functionality, and efficiency. Once a decision has been made to acquire a software solution to manage proptax, and itamlink is selected, a step-by-step process of onboarding is then put into action. The next section details those steps.

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Getting Started with itamlink

To begin, it should be noted that prior to adopting itamlink, clients typically default to using spreadsheet programs when managing their data, so when the adoption process begins, the itamlink team will take those datasets in excel, and carefully import them to specific fields. As part of the importing process, itamlink ensures the incoming data is standardized in order that it be made consistent, so it is formatted to consistent fields. These datasets are initially ingested within the system and then remapped to predefined fields where they become the foundation upon which more robust reporting can take place.

By assigning the data to fields where it is standardized and mapped, a first level of control is established. Now, the client can identify the precise location of a particular piece of data, an invaluable benefit, greatly enhancing reporting capabilities. By establishing identifiable variables, the process of navigation for data retrieval is significantly simplified. Organizing pockets of data puts what were previously disorganized and fragmented pieces, sometimes in paper forms, within a systematized framework.  

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It should be noted the software can convert paper-based documentation such as paper tax bills, and assessment notices into data which in turn can be assigned to their appropriate fields through our itamlink Capture function, an industry-leading data abstraction tool for property tax teams. Now, that property tax information which previously resided in manilla folders instantly transforms into searchable, editable electronic data.

By loading these data elements into the system, users now can select any parameter or field, and have it efficiently sorted or grouped. Any of the predefined fields can now be reported on, in real time.

Organizing Assessments

Return on investment plays a significant role in evaluating the viability of adopting a software like itamlink. Obviously, savings and payback can take any number of forms – consider for instance, reducing the amount paid our in late fees – but perhaps the biggest financial benefit within all of property tax management is submitting appeals that positively convert into lower assessments (lowering the tax obligation, which on a cumulative basis, amounts to significant savings). This revolves around the question “what is the statistical probability appeal x will result in a lower assessment?”

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In a pre-itamlink environment, the appeal process plays an important role, but a fundamental question becomes is there a mechanism to logically sequence and prioritize appeal opportunities beginning with the most promising and descending from there? If this is possible, criteria can be established determining how many appeals to make. If a client can boost the percentage of successful appeals from the number submitted, that’s a significant win, and can even be tracked as a KPI. itamlink has been built to eliminate the randomness of cherry-picked appeals, boost the success rate of appeals, and create an important productivity metric that can be used for reporting.

The problem associated with late fees was mentioned above, and this provides another key benefit to the system. Despite having to manage assessments from a multitude of jurisdictions, itamlink seamlessly operationalizes components of the commercial property tax management process. Once data is uploaded, it automatically flags dates, whether they be appeal deadlines, submission dates, or notifications on pending late fee deadlines. Consider an earlier regime where many property tax professionals traditionally navigated this process using spreadsheets, or other strategies relying on manual work. In this sense, the entire proptax program is streamlined to maximize efficiency.

Data Integrity – A Single Source of Truth

Property tax departments in large commercial real estate organizations are periodically called upon by senior management to provide on-the-spot updates on the state of a particular statistic, which is usually presented to executives in the finance department as a way of evaluating the financial health of the organization. Once such a request comes in, one of the principal challenges faced by those who are responsible for meeting such requests is ensuring the information they provide, more specifically the data presented, is accurate. This can be challenging because often, different teams, or even individuals working on the same team can be working from different spreadsheets, which naturally begs the question: what represents the actual source of truth?

The single source of truth conundrum has always been one traditionally plaguing property tax departments, but with itamlink, this problem is instantly solved, as all tax-related data, regardless of how geographically spread the portfolio may be, is aggregated into a single system, which presents accurate metrics in real time. Thus, the idea of “spreadsheetitis” within property tax departments effectively becomes a thing of the past.

Adaptable to Multiple Asset Classes and Portfolio Size

One of the major limitations associated with a continued reliance on spreadsheets is its inability to efficiently scale to expanding portfolios. This becomes particularly problematic not only with an increase in size, but with the changing composition of the assets, which become more diverse. Trying to continually adapt at scale to constant changes can be daunting as at a certain point it can exceed management capabilities.

Given the way the software is built, it seamlessly adapts to portfolios with multiple asset types, and multiple assets. Control is contained within the confines of a powerful dashboard providing control and insight right at the user’s fingertips.

No portfolio is too big for itamlink, in fact it is built to effortlessly scale up to more complex portfolios.


It’s often surprising to consider that despite commercial property tax management playing such a critical role within large organizations where real estate assets are front and center, the landscape for solutions to effectively manage this responsibility is surprisingly barren. Until now, spreadsheet programs like Excel represent the industry standard in managing this responsibility, which seems wholly inadequate. Obviously, there are some players who have devised solutions, but when they are lined up and critically evaluated, their functionality seems limited.

In this sense, itamlink represents a needed departure from the status quo. It is a robust solution creating modules and functionality that can be seamlessly applied to every component of the property tax lifecycle. There simply is no other software that can perform the range of functions that are standard within itamlink.

The rich functionality of itamlink needs to be seen to be believed. It is the underlying quality of the product that has attracted some of the most prominent names in the commercial real estate industry to take notice and become dedicated users. Time and time again, we hear our clients extol product virtues and wonder aloud how they could have ever operated in an environment before adopting itamlink.

Getting Started with itamlink - Book Your Personalized Demo

If you would like to see for yourself what all the hype is about, and how itamlink can fundamentally change your approach to navigating the commercial property tax landscape, reach out to one of our professionals to arrange a demo. It will assuredly be a game-changer. Click here to book your personalized demo today!

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© 2023 Rethink Solutions. All Rights Reserved