Memo for fiscal year 2018, updated 2017-03-14

[Archived] Question #12: Does the Business Tax System Capital Program address this recommendation? What additional expenditure would be required?


The 2014 Business Tax Reform Task Force Final Report recommended the creation of a “Business Tax Web Portal” to ease the submission of business tax returns and payments. Does the Business Tax System Capital Program address this recommendation? What additional expenditure would be required?


A business tax web portal is an optional add-on to the business tax system software, however it is not included in the software’s base cost and not included in the amount budgeted in the CIP. Staff is looking into its cost/benefit and could request its addition in a future CIP.

The Proposed CIP’s IT Plan includes a total of $415,000 in funding over FY 2019 and FY 2020 for life-cycle system upgrades and/or replacement of the City’s business tax software (project title: Business Tax System/Reciprocity Contractor System, Proposed CIP page 15.6). The City currently uses proprietary software to manage business tax accounts and the vendor recently released a new version upgrade. The upgrade provides an optional Business Taxpayer Portal that reportedly provides the type of functionality envisioned by the task force, but the portal would be in addition to the City’s current software license. Funding for the portal is not currently programmed in the Proposed FY 2018 – FY 2027 CIP.

Staff will need to extensively investigate and test the portal functionality, and determine implementation feasibility and costs. Staff has already been in contact with the vendor to begin the review process.

The Proposed CIP’s IT Plan also includes $200,000 in FY 2020 for Phone, Web, Portable Device Payment Portals project (Proposed CIP page 15.10). As noted in the project description, “this project will be closely integrated with the City’s business tax system and REARS system…”  This may provide added flexibility in the consideration of the vendor’s software upgrade. 

The timing of the funding for this project in the CIP was coordinated between ITS and Finance to recognize limited staff resources. The customer portal, the replacement of the Real Estate Accounts Receivable System (REARS), and the upgrade of the Finance Cash Register System, as well as several other less visible system upgrades and enhancements to the Enterprise Resource Planning System (Munis) impact the same staff resources, who also have additional non-system upgrade responsibilities. At current levels, staff does not exist in either department to accelerate the project beyond the currently proposed timetable.

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