Memo for fiscal year 2019, updated 2018-03-29

[Archived] Question #34: Provide a refresh of FY 2018 Budget Question 12 regarding the creation of a Business Tax Web Portal to ease the submission of business tax returns and payments.


Can you provide a refresh of FY 2018 Budget Question 12 (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?)? 


Technology Services (ITS) and the Department of Finance have been actively working on this project with the City’s proprietary business tax system vendor.  Proposals from the vendor are currently under development with the goal of using existing budgetary resources to implement a version upgrade to the existing tax system and the purchase of a new business tax portal offered by the vendor.  Alternative options are also being explored with a separate vendor used by the City for e-commerce solutions.

Staff’s goal is to bring online a business tax “smart” portal during calendar year 2018, to offer businesses the opportunity to file their taxes online (i.e., reporting of gross receipts and tangible property) as well as pay online.  Staff envisions phasing-in this functionality during the coming months to include the Transient Lodging tax, Meals tax, Admissions tax, BPOL tax, and the Business Personal Property tax.  Specific cost details are not yet available, pending a report from the business tax vendor, but it is anticipated that this project can be accomplished by the end of calendar year 2018, with existing resources.  Project coordination, planning and testing will be a challenge for staff given competing IT projects, such as billing implementation of the new Storm Water fee, but the business tax portal remains a high priority for both departments.  Upgrading to the newer version will also enable the City to retire older servers used for business taxes, and thus improve data security.

The FY 2018 Budget question response can be found here.

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