Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Software Product Makes Managing Property Taxes Less Taxing

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Software Product Makes Managing Property Taxes Less Taxing

Article excerpt

As one of the largest real estate service firms in the country, Cushman & Wakefield is no stranger to the issue of commercial property taxation, especially when managing property for corporate clients. So, when the New York-based C&W found a software product to make the job easier, it bought into the company that made the software.

In January, the Strategic Ventures Group of Cushman & Wakefield invested $2 million in ePropertyTax LLC, taking a 25 percent interest in the company. The Scottsdale, AZ-based tax software developer created the property tax management application, Property Tax Office(R) and its new fully Web-enabled Version 5.0.

Using ePropertyTax, customers can process their budgets, appeals, accounts payable, personal property renditions and store documents and images. "Not only do we believe it is the best software in the market, but it has a database of over 9,000 tax jurisdictions, basically 90 percent of all the tax jurisdictions in the countty," notes Tom Falus, president of C & W's Strategic Ventures Group. "For example, a company like Lucent Technologies, which owns or leases buildings in hundreds of locations, has to pay taxes or explain why it does not have to pay taxes."

The ePropertyTax system is "prepopulated" with such information as the appeals process, installment payment plan, tax calculations, reevaluation cycle, valuation year and important dates for almost every jurisdiction where owners of multiple properties can put up a building.

While ePropertyTax can list only 15 customers, they happen to be among the largest owners of real estate in the country, including Equity Office Properties Trust, Equity Residential Properties Trust, Simon Property Group, Apartment Investment & Management Co. and General Growth Properties Inc.

"We were searching different vendors to find someone with a property tax database because as the largest shopping center REIT in the world, we had buildings in 36 states and probably close to 2,500 taxing jurisdictions," says Frank Lima, the director of property taxes for the Simon Property Group and principal in Simon Property Tax Services. "We were in desperate need of a database outside of our Excel spreadsheets which we had been using. …

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