Considering the possible taxes, fees, user charges and exemptions for each category, a given address may or may not have an obligation. How can a Geoaudit ™ differentiate the liabilities for each location?
Answer: The objective of a Geoaudit ™ is to develop a current accurate reference file, which serves as the benchmark to which all revenue source files are compared. Once the exceptions are flagged, the results serves as the basis for further review or action. For example, if the objective is to flag every instance where a residential or business address exists, but there’s no record of an earnings tax return filed for that address, would require a follow-up using traditional audit techniques. The Geoaudit ™ would have found the needles in the haystack and directed auditors to only those locations without a return on file.
Some taxes and fees are tied to the parcel location while others are tied to a FEIN or SSN. How can a Geoaudit ™ reconcile the unique identifiers in the address file?
Answer: It’s all about geography and linking a revenue source to an identifiable location with an accurate address. Even though the business might file a tax return under its FEIN number, it none the less needs to be tied to a physical location. A business owner might have six locations in the metro area, each one in a different jurisdiction. It’s essential that a return be filed for each in order for each jurisdiction to lay claim to the taxes and fees due. Sometimes it takes more than one revenue source file to identify the correct physical location. People and businesses are often confused by the differences between mailing addresses and situs (location) addresses.
All addresses in our jurisdiction are geocoded by our IT GIS staff. What value-add are you bringing to our current processes?
Answer: Even if the GIS had a current accurate address with a GPS point for every location where someone could live or work there could still be confusion as to the jurisdiction the address is in. However, it’s more likely there are locations where people work or live that do not have a valid address point either because the address is mis-spelled or mis-numbered, or a record for the location is downright missing creating a hole in the data. It’s essential that addresses be standardized and account for occupancies, suites, apartments, and room numbers. These occupancies are really where people live and work.
What metrics can our jurisdiction use to track the successful implementation of a Geoaudit ™??
Answer: By tracking file mismatches, missing record counts and ultimately additional dollars collected via the reports a Geoaudit ™ provides should be solid metrics for measuring success.
Can our Geoaudit ™ returns cover multiple years of missing revenues?
Answer: Depending on the local situation an audit may be able to go back several years and collect back revenues owned. Note that depending on the revenue source and amount the back fees may be “negotiable” to assist with further cooperation.
Any generalizations about why we might be a good candidate for a Geoaudit ™?
Answer: Some conditions to look for that might indicate a substantial Geoaudit ™ return are—many annexations in the past, poor government records, lack of address data standards and poor external (non-governmental) records used for revenue capture and determination.
How long will a Geoaudit ™ take to accomplish?
Answer: It all depends on the quality of the data files. The first Cable TV franchise audit took about one-week to return an additional $89,000. Some of the customers were located in the wrong County. Data source was the private cable TV provider.