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3 min read

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June 4, 2021

Bill 1271: Ensure property tax appraisal continuity during remote work

With COVID-19 disrupting the regular way of doing business, it is imperative that one remains safe and yet have the necessary tools to do the work remotely. This bill makes provision for use of such tools and methods.

What is House Bill 1271?

The state of Washington recently passed a new bill (1271) to make provisions to ensure the continuity of operations in the offices of county elected officials during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Amongst other things, it recommends the use of IAAO’s property assessment guidelines for appraising all commercial and residential properties. These guidelines include the use of aerial imagery and change detection tools to do a remote/desktop appraisal.

Why is it important now?

With COVID-19 disrupting the regular way of doing business, it is imperative that one remains safe and yet have the necessary tools to do the work remotely. This bill makes provision for use of such tools and methods. Going forward, a hybrid work environment seems the most probable with people preferring to work partly from home and partly from the office.

What different measures can counties adopt to conduct remote appraisals/valuations?

Typically, counties use the following options for conducting desktop appraisals:

  1. Rely on neighborhood sales data and permit information, which is either incomplete or difficult to obtain and is not likely to be accurate.
  2. Painstakingly zoom through the aerial imagery of the county and look for changes in land parcels manually. This exercise can last a good 4 to 5 months or more.
  3. Outsource aerial imagery analysis to a third party who does the same job as above while charging a hefty amount.
  4. Implement change detection solutions that use semi-automated tools to identify changes in land parcels, but they turn out to be expensive and deliver irrelevant changes.

What should counties be looking for in an ideal change detection solution?

Counties should be looking for the following while evaluating various change detection solutions:

  1. Accuracy: The foremost thing the appraiser’s office should be looking for is the accuracy of such solutions. Lesser accuracy leads to a lot of false positives and leads to greater staff and time investment.
  2. Delivery time: An ideal solution should be able to deliver results in less than a month’s time so as to enable appraisers to levy taxes in the same appraisal cycle rather than pushing it to the next leading to retrospective taxing.
  3. Ease of Integration: Seamless integration with existing CAMA/desktop assessment workflows increases efficiency and reduces the need for additional training.
  4. Cost: The solution needs to fit within the jurisdiction’s budgets and not put a hole in the pocket.
  5. AI-Based Solution: Relying on AI-based system rather than a manual approach allows for greater customization to meet the jurisdiction’s needs, delivers higher accuracies and greater efficiencies.

HyperVerge's TrueChange Solution

HyperVerge’s TrueChange is an AI-based change detection tool that automatically identifies all the significant changes in the land parcels and provides the counties with the following benefits:

Impact of TrueChange

So far TrueChange was able to identify $150M in taxable value and save more than 3000 man-hours, across counties from California, Florida, Texas, and Washington including the likes of Riverside County and King County.

On the softer aspects, jurisdictions have started to see:

  • Fair & Equitable Assessment: Increased data integrity leads to better valuation models. Detecting significant unpermitted changes ensures nobody has to pay more than their fair share of taxes.
  • Greater Efficiency: An AI-based approach has helped jurisdictions do more with the same number of staff faster.
  • Positive Revenue: The jurisdictions get access to a greater source of revenue which allows increased budgets for schools, healthcare, the police, and other important services.

Want to take TrueChange for a test drive? We are offering a free 2000-parcel pilot program. The results will be delivered in just 2 weeks. Please contact us here for more information.

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