5 Payment Action Items To Improve the Tax Experience
For government finance officers and those who support them, embracing a more consumer-friendly and flexible billing and payment system for tax payments can be the difference between realizing revenue and chasing it.
This is especially true when considering the shifting demographics of today’s taxpayers, with Millennials, Gen Xers and Gen Zers accounting for a wider portion of the tax base than ever before. Whether they are homeowners with real estate taxes or new drivers with property taxes on their first car, their payment expectations are increasingly technology driven and dependent on speed and convenience.
Offering a tax billing and payment platform that meets the needs and expectations of your citizens is about more than just “going digital.” In this article, we’ll share why it’s essential to analyze your current tax billing and payment processes and offer five key action items you can take to improve the tax experience.
Shifting Taxpayer Demographics Drive New Expectations
Let’s first begin by addressing the shifting demographics among taxpayers. According to the National Association of Realtors, Millennials now make up 43% of home buyers (i.e., property tax payers) – the most of any generation. 70% of Millennials use mobile banking and 80% report that they would prefer to have the option to pay any given bill using their mobile device.
This generation – and the digital natives that follow – are unlikely to be your “the check is in the mail” type of tax paying citizen over the course of their lifetime. Instead, they expect a digital payment experience that is on par with that of today’s top retailers and billers.
For municipalities and other tax collecting entities, this presents unique challenges and opportunities. Budget constraints and legacy limitations can impact the ability to meet new expectations, even as new payment methods and channels such as digital wallets become widely used throughout the payment ecosystem.
5 Ways To Drive On-Time Tax Payments
1. Prioritize holistic modernization — Modernization means more than going digital, which is why we say to prioritize holistic modernization. This means meeting the payment preferences of all customers by offering the most ways to pay through one EBPP partner. From PayPal and Venmo to Walmart and cash bill pay for underbanked and cash preferred citizens, today’s taxpayers have a wide array of payment preferences and sometimes limitations. Tax departments deploying a platform that can offer the most ways to pay, get paid and communicate will realize tax revenue faster than those with limited or piecemeal systems.
2. Utilize self-service tools — Citizens increasingly prefer self-service tools as a way to address their billing and payment needs. Advanced self-service payment technology such as chatbots and automated payment options allow taxpayers to pay their tax bills, get account information and answer simple questions without having to occupy tax office resources. This provides a more convenient experience for taxpayers and frees staff to address more complex citizen needs.
3. Consolidate billing, payment and communication needs with a single vendor — Working with a limited budget means getting more from your providers. To ensure you get the most value from your payment partner, it is essential that you work with a provider whose platform is truly omnichannel, can incorporate new payment channels without a third-party and does not charge extra for additional payment methods or tools.
4. Work with vetted partners to streamline integration — Integration is one of the most critical aspects of any technical project or billing system upgrade. Your roadmap to payment modernization must begin with finding a partner with a demonstrated track record of integration and implementation success.
5. Protect against down time — Perhaps the most important part of a modernized tax payment system is that there is no down time. Especially during peak collection periods, it’s essential that any improvements do not lead to a loss in revenue or decline in the quality of service offered to those looking to pay their tax bills.
The ultimate benefit of an optimized tax payment experience is the ability to best serve the community as a whole. On-time payments allow you to reinvest in your community and create happier constituents, both in their tax payments and their everyday lives.
If you are ready to bring these upgrades to your billing and payment tool kit, then it’s time to enter modernization mode. Schedule a consultation now with one of our tax billing and payment experts and find out how you can revolutionize your tax payments.