This summer, USPS faced unprecedented budget cuts and sweeping changes to leadership that prompted investigations from Congress. Since then, the New York Times has tracked mail delivery and found that it has in fact been getting slower.
Since the majority of counties and cities still use snail mail to deliver assessment notices and property tax bills, delayed or lost mail could seriously impact your property tax process. Let’s take a closer look at how USPS delays might affect your company.
USPS FUNDING struggles AMID COVID cuts
As it stands right now, about 4% of mail is undeliverable. USPS doesn’t have an official percentage for how much mail is lost altogether (how do you calculate how many letters you can’t find in the first place?), but when mail is lost, it often has to do with the automated machinery jamming or damaging the mail piece.
Accuracy and efficiency are deeply-held values for postal workers: “Traditionally, postal workers are trained not to leave letters behind and to make multiple delivery trips to ensure timely distribution of letters and parcels,” writes Jacob Bogage. But a new plan outlined by the Postmaster General calls for overtime to be gutted. This means that any mail left undelivered at day’s end will be saved for delivery on the following day--which presents one more opportunity for an envelope to fall through the cracks.
How mail delays impact property tax
So what could delayed or lost mail mean for your property tax process? For starters, if an assessment notice or tax bill arrives even a few days later than usual, it increases the pressure on your whole team. For municipalities with discounts for early payers or tight appeal windows, delivery delays could spell missed deadlines at every stage of the process.
The same goes for notices that might go missing altogether--not only might you miss appeal opportunities and payment deadlines, but you might not even realize there’s a missing notice at all until you’ve incurred late penalties. With increased mail volume, will you be able to stay on top of your parcel list and easily identify what notices might be missing in action?
How digital delivery can help
The difficulties faced by the postal service emphasize the need for greater reliance on digital methods of delivery when it comes to important documents. While other business functions, like accounts payable, have already turned to digital solutions, it seems like property tax is being left behind.
Most companies use client portals or email communication to send and pay invoices, and a survey by Levvel Research found that utilizing these digital tools allowed for quicker approval of invoices, increased employee productivity, and reduction in paper invoice volume. And, of course, email communication is significantly cheaper than snail mail. For Haldex Credit Service Corporation, which processes over 25,000 invoices per month, the switch from paper to electronic delivery saved the company $150,000 in postage alone.
How can property tax go digital?
Unfortunately, states and counties are unlikely to make the shift to sending notices via email--and if they do, it will be a long time coming. So with property tax bills and assessments still coming through your physical mailbox, PTX has stepped in to create a solution: we get the values from assessors/collectors and make them available to you in a digital format.
Plus, digital delivery makes it possible for us to do more with the data than is afforded by postage, such as:
- Standardize the information so that your values use the same column headers no matter what jurisdiction they’re from
- Identify which parcels have been delivered and which haven’t
- Alert you to potential new parcels that may have been missing from your list
- Link directly to assessor and collector contact information so that you can get the info you need faster
- Filter and sort parcel details to help make sense of your values and deadlines
Now more than ever, it’s imperative that you know when to expect your property tax data. With PTX Tech, you won’t have to worry that USPS funding and delays could impact your property tax process. Click the link below to learn more about how our TaxFeed solution can help.