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March 8, 2022

Taking Property Tax Digital: Going Further

What are the key features of a digitally enabled property tax platform? Insights from Rethink’s President

Technological innovation is advancing in the commercial real estate (CRE) space, providing more opportunities for digitally enabled property tax management. And as real estate valuations continue to climb, so do property taxes, making the need for digitally enabled property tax management more important than ever.  

A recent report from Altus, Taking Property Tax Digital, explores the current state of property tax management among CRE companies and how embracing digital solutions can enable proactive, effective management. In this post, I’d like to share my key takeaways on the importance of technology, how it can be leveraged by CRE leaders to optimize the property tax function, and where it’s headed next.  

“While proactive management of taxes can add significant value to operations and investments, 75% of CRE executives describe their property tax management as reactive.”  Tax as a strategic driver, Altus Group

Key Features of a Digitally Enabled Property Tax Platform

While taxing jurisdictions may be slower to become digital-first, CRE companies are moving more quickly – and need to. Property tax management is most effective when organizations maintain a digital platform that standardizes and streamlines property tax management processes across different countries, geographic markets, and jurisdictions.

In their report, Altus identified 7 critical functions of a digitally enabled tax platform for managing property tax activities, including:

  • Determining the accuracy and fairness of property tax assessments, including benchmarking capabilities, with immediate access to facts and rich data sources of similar properties.  
  • Simplifying appeal management, tracking informal and formal appeals
  • Strategizing tax payments for properties in multiple jurisdictions, with the ability to schedule payments to optimize for early-payment discounts
  • Planning for and monitoring key dates in a fragmented landscape, such as tax filings, payments, challenges, and appeals with a centralized, customizable calendar
  • Ability to manage access to data and onboarding/offboarding, especially when working with a high number of local consultants
  • Integrating with AP software to streamline payments, a major area of work for property tax teams in a fragmented landscape, and
  • Leveraging data management tools for smaller jurisdictions that may require fax/paper payments

From the perspective of a tax practitioner, this list is a great start. These features enable collaboration, reduce duplication, and help organizations transition from a reactive to proactive property tax management strategy.

"Commercial real estate owners and occupants need tax information on their portfolios and the marketplace to make fast, informed decisions. Technology combined with reliable data can help provide this." Taking Property Tax Digital, Altus Group

Taking Property Tax Digital: Going Further

But as property tax data becomes more important across organizations, software needs become more complex. Integrations can’t be limited to, or focused on, payments alone; systems must be integrated wholly between property tax and real estate operations, including accounting. Companies must adopt more sophisticated tools to aid in data collection, workflow management, and business analytics.  

visual of the 6 additional software components and tools property tax teams need

Specifically, companies need:

  1. Sophisticated methods of digital data collection, such as data capture, that can digitize paper tax documents and intelligently associate them with the correct properties or parcels.
  1. Document tracking/management, collaboration and workflow management tools, to eliminate duplication and streamline day-to-day activities across multiple internal departments and external stakeholders
  1. High-powered analytics and business intelligence to inform strategic business decisions across the entire real estate organization and to facilitate the flow of data across relevant internal departments
  1. Accounting and real estate operations tools to perform forecasting, budgeting, and accruals to overcome the challenges between property tax and accounting.
  1. Seamless communication across all real estate software systems, through qualified integrations, APIs, or a combination of both.  

“52% of executives say they lack the tools to analyze property tax information.” Tax as the new strategic driver, Altus Group  

The Need for Purpose-Built Property Tax Software

Twenty years ago, we started Rethink Solutions because we saw then the importance of using technology to effectively manage property taxes. And we knew software would only become more important as property taxes increased and management became more complex.  

Today, we’ve built a leading property tax software trusted by some of the world’s best-known companies. Our clients span industries such as commercial, retail, energy, oil and gas,  industrial, multi-family, and mixed use. We’re developing first-in-class technology to streamline data management, capture, and workflow, appeal determination, payment automation, tax liability  projections, and more. itamlink is the only software in the industry that enables end-to-end property tax management.  

It’s our goal to continually develop and improve our system to make property tax management technology enabled. We aim to free up property tax teams’ time and energy from tedious or manual tasks, enabling them to identify more opportunities, contain costs, and make strategic decisions.

itamlink desktop purpose built property tax software

It’s no longer enough to manage property taxes in Excel and paper filing cabinets. To remain competitive, teams need to make the transition to cloud-based, comprehensive enterprise tools and systems. What’s more, property tax tools and systems need to be baked right into the real estate tech stack, given its importance as a significant, manageable expense. Through conversations with users, actively soliciting feedback, and monitoring technology trends and advances, we are continuing to iterate on an innovative, end-to-end system informed by property tax teams.

Speaker Bio

This post was written by Mordechai Katzman, President of Rethink Solutions. Mordechai has more than 20 years' experience advising firms on property tax management strategy, technology, and processes. He has spoken locally and internationally at events for the International Property Tax Institute (IPTI), Insititute for Professionals in Taxation (IPT), and the Council on State Taxation (COST), to name a few.  

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© 2023 Rethink Solutions. All Rights Reserved