Benjamin Franklin called taxes one of life’s two certainties. But taxes are so inevitable that it can be easy to forget about them. That’s especially true when it comes to property tax payments, which too often strain a lender’s time and staff resources.
Of course, there are many companies offering to help lenders monitor property taxes or help pay them on behalf of their borrowers. The only problem is these providers are not all created equal.
So, what makes a good tax partner? Let’s go over some of the key attributes you should look for.
To get the best property tax services, it’s important to ask how long a company has been providing them and whether they actually specialize in them or not. A lack of experience in tracking property taxes typically shows up in third party tax liens and a potential loss in collateral.
Trustworthy providers will have tax experts among their leadership team with many years of experience as well as expertise in automating tax reporting, maintaining tracking compliance reports, managing third party relationships and more.
No two lenders or portfolios are the same. The right provider will have a wide range of flexible and reliable tax solutions, including tax payment services and delinquent tax searches that fit your needs–not someone else’s. They should be able to personalize their services as well.
It’s important to ask, for example, whether your partner can handle the specific functions you need on all your loans, both escrowed and non-escrowed, and can ensure you’re able to meet RESPA and CFPB tax audit requirements.
Technology and Data Access
It’s of utmost importance that property tax data on your portfolio is reliable, timely and accurate. That means you should have instant, online access to tax data as well as up-to-date escrow account information on every loan, including property tax due dates, delinquency dates and agency contacts to ensure timely payments.
This is not easy when you may be working with hundreds or even thousands of tax agencies nationwide. Good providers, however, have access to automated tax data from those agencies and can assist in processing tax payments with precision.
Often, you’ll find that tax service providers that invest in the latest technologies are better able to improve the efficiency of your staff as well. In addition to greater transparency, such providers can improve workflows and reduce risk. In particular, look for providers capable of integrating property tax data with your servicing platform, so you have one interface for all tax related work.
We all know time is money. If you have questions or issues involving property taxes, how quickly can you get help? A good tax partner will offer comprehensive customer service and phone support, as well as training on any technologies they offer. They’ll have experts on staff who are able to research and address any tax-related inquiry, too.
The bottom line is that good tax service providers do more than keep your portfolio in compliance so you avoid having to pay penalties and fees. They empower your team to focus on what really matters: servicing customers and growing your business.
If you’re starting to think you spend too much time on property tax issues, we can help. IL Group manages all your property tax needs, from tax tracking to taking payments, performing delinquent tax and more. Our turnkey solutions simplify the tax burden while saving you time and money. And that’s always a good thing.
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