September 16, 2015

Tarrant Appraisal District, Texas, Implements Thomson Reuters Aumentum Valuation Technology – Early Results Show Valuation Appeals Improvement

New valuation system to deliver improved constituent service for rapidly growing Texas community by allowing more properties to be assessed but with the same staff levels

CAROLLTON, TX — The Tarrant Appraisal District (TAD), responsible for appraising properties for all jurisdictions within Tarrant County, Texas, is the first government entity in the United States to implement Thomson Reuters Aumentum Valuation software.

TAD manages appraisals for 1.6 million properties, including residential, commercial, business real property, and mineral accounts.

The aggregated value for all appraised properties in the district equals $172 billion. As the State of Texas does not tax income, property tax is a leading source of revenue for local governments. The Tarrant county government and its municipal jurisdictions and school districts rely on TAD to determine property values so tax rates may be applied. An estimated $3.9 billion in tax is collected annually by these jurisdictions based on the values set by TAD.

TAD upgraded to a new property valuation and appraisal system from a 1980s era mainframe COBOL system. According to Jeff Law, Chief Appraiser for TAD, consultants hired to evaluate the old system determined it was no longer sustainable, from both maintenance and staffing perspectives. “We were looking for something that was newer, more modern, and would be sustainable going forward into time,” said Law.

With an estimated 50 percent of local government revenue generated from property taxes, a failure in the appraisal system would prove disastrous for local governments funding schools, police, water and other public services.

Following an open procurement process, TAD selected Thomson Reuters Aumentum Valuation system.

Thomson Reuters has been producing land and property valuation and taxation systems for more than 40 years and serves more than 1,000 jurisdictions worldwide. The new Aumentum Valuation system represents the latest technology innovation in a long line of products the company has introduced to the market.

“The Tarrant Appraisal District is our flagship for the roll-out of this latest Thomson Reuters technology,” said Joe Jackson, managing director of the Government unit within the company’s Tax & Accounting business.  “They are an early adopter, but they are not alone. They are no longer on a technological island relying on a 30-year old, custom-coded system that is not scalable, sustainable, or secure.” Thomson Reuters is currently working with six additional counties to implement the new Aumentum Valuation system.  

Law says TAD officials have high expectations for the new system. Despite a quickly growing population, TAD does not plan to expand its 200-person workforce, have many of whom are approaching retirement. By delivering efficiency gains, the new Thomson Reuters Aumentum Valuation system is expected to pick up the increased workload.

TAD is already seeing improvements in the residential appraisal process from the new Aumentum Valuation system. The district annually manages about 70,000 appraisal protests. Advancements include data modelling tools that present constituents with comparable properties so they can better understand why and how their property values were established. TAD also uses the system to better identify properties that may have been over-valued. This has the potential to lower the assessed values for constituents, effectively reducing their tax responsibility.

“Aumentum Valuation is a tremendous technological breakthrough,” Jackson said. “Its innovative features and functions combine the best elements of all products on the market today as well as new applications such as mobile workforce management tools, and advanced mapping capabilities coupled with comparable property analysis that supports improved constituent service through more accurate information collection and management.”

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