Thursday, 19 August 2010 by David H. LeVan
Have you ever had the opportunity to view the Grand Canyon from an airplane on a clear day? At 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide, it is a site to see! The North Rim is generally accessible from Las Vegas and the South Rim from Phoenix or Flagstaff. Attempting to hike from one rim to the other is discouraged by park officials because of the distance, steepness, rocky trails, elevation changes, and potential heat exhaustion. Even though rescues are often required for unsuccessful rim-to-rim travelers, hundreds of physically fit hikers complete the trip every year. For those who are in exceptional shape, there is even a 78 mile ultra-marathon through the canyon.
We, in the property tax industry, have our own Grand Canyon. It plays out like this…..Property tax departments are on the South Rim of the canyon, having driven up from Phoenix, while executives of their organizations are on the North Rim, having driven over from Vegas. For years property tax representatives have complained that upper management doesn’t understand property taxes and has made few attempts to hike to the South Rim. In fact, evidence shows that most executives have a very limited knowledge of property taxes. An often quoted CFO magazine article states that property tax is the “least understood tax” by CFOs.
But what is happening on the South Rim? How many attempts have been made to cross over to the North Rim? In a recent assessment we conducted, the PropTax Assessment, we found that only 50% of property tax departments were providing upper management with ”easy to understand, insightful property tax reports” on a regular basis. Only 50%! Property tax departments often complain of lacking resources to adequately do the job they have been charged with doing. Those with the capabilities of authorizing resources are on the North Rim. If they aren’t learning about the impact that your department is providing to the organization from you, they probably aren’t learning about it.
Perhaps it’s time to get in shape and hike to the North Rim. If you have already taken that hike a few times, you might consider taking it up a notch and signing up for the ultra-marathon.