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State Board Contemplates System Update

The California State Board of Equalization has released a request for information on a new Board Roll System.

A row of identical houses.
The state body with constitutional oversight of insurance, property and alcoholic beverage taxes wants to hear from IT companies as it contemplates a potential modernization.

In a request for information released Jan. 23, the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) seeks “data on the current market research for design, development, and implementation of a new Board Roll System.” Per the state constitution, the BOE is charged with assessing property owned or used by public utilities and “other specified companies operating in California,” so that counties can use those valuations to levy property taxes. BOE also annually assesses “pipelines, flumes, canals, ditches, and aqueducts” that lie across two or more counties; it assesses property (excluding franchises) that’s “owned or used by regulated railway, telegraph, or telephone companies, car companies operating on railways in the state,” and companies that transmit or sell gas or electricity. The BOE “uses the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) as a technology and infrastructure service provider.” Among the takeaways:

  • The RFI’s overall goal is collecting information from entities with skills and experience in “designing workload and case management systems and technology needs,” according to the RFI. The information will be used by BOE to “develop and finalize requirements to be placed in either a leveraged procurement agreement or a request for offer, using either a California Multiple Award Schedule (CMAS) master services agreement (MSA) procurement vehicle, an invitation for bid, or a request for proposal.
  • BOE wants to modernize the systems supporting its State-Assessed Properties Division, which prepares yearly property value recommendations for state-assessed properties, for each taxpayer. The board uses these annual indicators and recommendations, created from information provided by taxpayers, to determine the fair market value of taxpayers’ “unitary property,” generating about $2 billion in annual property taxes for schools and local governments. The existing system is “antiquated and uses manual processes subject to human error to complete the valuation and allocation.” The modernizing is aimed at streamlining the Board Roll process “so that timelines are met and improve audit capacity to ensure accuracy of the Board Roll valuation and allocation.” BOE also wants to redesign the Board Roll System to “add increased value to the overall operations and capabilities to better serve our audiences.” Audiences include taxpayers, “tax professionals, business owners, BOE team members” as well as the public, other state entities and the media. The BOE modernization project proposed will center on “creating process improvements resulting in efficiencies, new service options, and increased revenue.”
  • The project would automate Board Roll processes for real-time validation, data capture, and audit detection for property statements and business documents, per the RFI. Its components include business improvements such as maintaining rules without the need for coding, improved audit enforcement tools, electronic correspondence imaging and routing and legacy decommissioning; improved case selection, migration to a single enterprise case and workload management system, process automation and new user dashboards; enhanced analytics via a centralized data warehouse, better search capabilities and enterprise data modeling; and self-service options for taxpayers including secure access to and submission of property statements and related documents, registration, appeals, secure chat and document viewing.
  • Respondents should detail their company’s experience around “the design and development of workload and case management implementations”; customers that are comparable to BOE; experience around stakeholder engagement, polling and analysis; and whether the company has a CMAS, MSA or a software license program (SLP) offering “services and labor classifications relevant to CDTFA’s anticipated scope of work ... .” Companies responding should also detail the tools and methodology they’ll use for training, mentoring and knowledge transfer; to achieve a responsive, customer-centric design; whether the solution would be software as a service, commercial off-the-shelf or other; and how it will integrate and interface with existing systems and data sources.
  • Responses to questions are expected Thursday and responses to the RFI are due Feb. 13.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.