This document discusses the configuration settings found in Edit | Adjust System
Preferences in Pontem’s Tax Administration software. Configurations should be
reviewed before any work is completed in the software as many define how data will be managed, computed against, or imported.
Many of the categories in System Preferences will require no review after the initial
configuration. There are several which should be reviewed before calculating tax bills each tax period to ensure accuracy.
Upon making changes in a category screen, click Apply. Clicking OK will close
‘System Preferences’ saving the change made in the last work space in which a user has worked.
On the Menu Bar under ‘Reports’, there are lists in the report category of System Table Reports which inventory most of the categories (tables) the user will build in ‘System Preferences’.
EDIT | ADJUST SYSTEM PREFERENCES | USER CONFIG
The screen above shows the user name of the person who is logged into the database, his/her security group, and which security rights are assigned to the user.
User Options have software defaults defined for the logged-in user. This ensures when using the software, data will appear as the user requires. These defaults can be overridden in individual work spaces or for reports by changing the filter criteria.
EDIT | ADJUST SYSTEM PREFERENCES | TA CONFIGURATION
This category enables users to enter web addresses to Other useful links found in the ‘Overview.’ Any Internet URL can be added to allow for easy access to sites of particular interest to the treasurer and staff from within Pontem’s Tax Administration software.
The section with the red outline on the screen below affects the class of imported new parcel records. To assign a parent class to all new parcels, place a check mark in the box labeled Use Parent Class.
If there is a specific class to be assigned to new parcel records leave the box unchecked and select the appropriate class code from the drop-down list.
Values Starting Year influences the historical records found in the ‘MPR | Values’ Detail View.
Start displaying Tentative Values (see the yellow outline above) is when users with the right to view tentative values will see them on the ‘Values Page’ in ‘Manage Property Records (MPR).’
Name Management (outlined in blue above) is also related to importing data into Pontem’s Tax Administration software. This option allows users to control whether punctuation will be stripped from imported names and addresses. Many of our clients do not include punctuation in order to satisfy United States Postal System addressing requirements.
When selected, the option Always prompt for Detail on Pay Tax Bill causes the ‘Tax Receipt Distribution’ screen to appear as soon as a tax bill is selected for payment. This is particularly useful when using a barcode scanner to scan parcel numbers into the filter labeled ‘Parcel Nbr:’ during the payment process.
Track Bankruptcies allows users to edit a tax bill and select ‘In Bankruptcy’ to track the bills for the properties in this condition. Once selected, this option will also appear in filters for data and reports.
Define which names appear in the List View and Quick Search in ‘Tax Bills and Collections’ ‘Owner or Taxpayer?’
Payment Receipts — Enter the number of tax receipts to automatically print upon completion of the payment process.
Allow Overpayment on Paid in Full Bills. Users may receive more than one payment for a tax bill and may want the ability to post both payments to the same tax bill, even when it is paid in full. The ‘Overpayment Report’ will display the additional payments as refunds.
Max Over/Under Payments, etc.
These fields describe when a tax bill is considered paid-in-full within these dollar amounts.
For example, if the minimum under payment amount is set to $1.00 and the maximum amount is $2.00, then any payment less than (or equal to) $1.00 of the actual tax due, or any payment greater than (or equal to) $2.00 of the actual tax due will be considered payment in full.
If you do not want to accept under or over payments, enter a zero for both values.
When check boxes for Allow Adjustments to: are selected, users will be able to edit these fields in the ‘Tax Receipt Distribution’ screen up to the ‘Max $ Adjustment’ amount entered.
Notice the Calculations area at the bottom of the screen shot below. Here, users should define which values are to be used to calculate tax bills against. Should the tax bill calculate against ‘Current Taxable’ (the taxable value as of the day you create the bills) or the ‘Certified Taxable Value’ – the official assessment roll value?
Here, users can determine the default ‘Accounting Date’ for voided receipts. The options to choose from are Current Date and Receipt Date.
Note however that during the Void Receipt process, users are able to edit the accounting date for the void when this dialog box appears, no matter what default ‘Accounting Date’ has been established. In other words, users have total control over which accounting date is applied to the voided receipt.
This screen is used to define how Pontem should manage images you assign to parcel records. For detailed instructions how to configure this feature, consult a separate Help Document — “Pontem PTS Imaging User’s Guide” — which is available in the Pontem Online Training and Sup-port Center (OTSC) located on the Pontem website (www,pontem.com).
Pontem ‘s Tax Administration software provides the user with the ability to create denial tax bills and perform collections for those bills according to PA 105 rules. This category contains information which will print on forms and be used for calculation of the denial tax bills.
Edit | Adjust System Preferences | System Config
The information included in the Jurisdiction field will print in the header of all reports.
The Parcel # Format is the pattern of the jurisdiction parcel number. Users can define the structure of their parcel number using “A” to describe the alpha numeric characters in the parcel ID. Hyphens can be placed where it makes sense to the user.
The above pattern will produce a parcel number or parcel id in this format - 001-001-001-00.
For example, the format illustrated below will generate a parcel number of:
051.00-00-002.05 or P20.11-00-000.01.
Authority Codes are used on ‘Summary Reports’ to bundle levy totals belonging to a group. For example, all levies the county exacts are assigned with the ‘Authority Code’ of “County”. The ‘Sort Order’ in the category describes the order in which the authority codes will print.
When summary reports are printed, the ‘Authority’ totals are presented in the center portion of the report under Summary Totals.
District Codes are essential to the tax calculation process and for segregating or grouping parcel records. They are used to define a property deserving special consideration, or to include or exclude parcels in the tax calculation process.
The District Statistics Report is used to determine district value totals. The Parcel Districts Report lists parcels with their assigned district codes. Both are useful to review prior to tax calculation to ensure district codes are properly assigned.
In ‘Manage Property Records’ (MPR) on the ‘Tools’ tab there is a tool called Manage Codes and Districts. Here, users can assign a district code and multiplier value to a definable group of parcel records.
Multipliers are assigned to a district code to assist in calculating flat rate levies based on the number in the field. If, for example, a parcel has a district code indicating it should have garbage fee charged on its tax bills, the multiplier will indicate how many times the flat rate should be charged.
A property with two apartments would have a multiplier of “2”. The software will then multiply the flat rate times the multiplier automatically.
The Manage Codes and Districts tool can be used to remove and district code/s from parcel records.
District Lease Codes
These designators are used for filtering data and reports and are an extension of the use of the district codes table for parcel districts. They are used to identify parcel records with Buildings on Leased Land (BLL) and Leased Hold Improvements. These codes must be applied to parcels by manually editing each parcel record.
Once a user has set up a list of intermediate schools within the software, review the Schools category. Each school district must have an intermediate school district associated with it. If your data has undergone a data conversion, the names of intermediate school districts may be a repeat of the district code. Edit the name field to enter the actual name of the district.
In order to configure Property Classes properly, users must think through the configuration for each property class record. Selections made in this category will be reflected in the calculation of the tax roll, many report results, filtering for data, and importing assessment data.
At the Class Code list on the left-hand side of the screen, use the arrow keys to scroll through the list of class codes, or use the scroll buttons in the upper-right corner of the screen. These buttons will change the record selected in the list on the left of the screen. As you scroll through the list, the area on the right of the screen will display the detail defined for the selected class. Use the filter options to narrow down the list of property classes based on their roll type.
In Edit mode, the details which can be changed are enabled for editing, with the ‘Cancel’ and ‘Save’ buttons in the bottom-right of the screen enabled as well. You will not be able to navigate away from the screen until you either select the Cancel or Save button.
The State Equiv. (Equivalent) is the definition of the “State Class Code” which relates to the highlighted property class. If you want imported property classes to use the state equivalent code, put a check the box entitled “Force State Cd” (Code).
Force County Cd will force imported data to use the class code as defined by the county. The drop-down menu contains a list of property class codes. One must be selected.
Roll Types and Property Types are used heavily by the software’s report and data filters. If, for example, a user attempts to run a report for personal property and this property type is not assigned to the class code, the parcels coded with this property class will not be included on the report.
Roll Type is used for filtering, but it also defines which roll a tax bill belongs to for calculation.
No Tax Bills indicates that during the tax calculation process, no bills will be created for the parcels assigned to a property class where this box has been checked.
No Web Export will prevent parcels with the class code from being exported to the web if you have purchased and utilize the optional Web Export feature that’s available from Pontem Software.
Lease Hold Improv. and Buildg on Leasd Land identify parcels accordingly for consideration in the Pontem’s Delinquent Tax and Equalization processes.
RenZones is a category used to group parcels together in a Renaissance Zone for reporting and tax calculation.
The RenZone codes are assigned on the ‘Values’ page of ‘MPR’ on the tab labeled Levy Exemptions.
It is important that the Treasurer’s name and address be entered in the software to facilitate printing of his/her name on tax bills and for ‘Tax Roll Setup’ records. These records should be reviewed for accuracy each tax period prior to tax calculation. Use the Update TUCs to refresh the ‘Tax Unit General Info’ for the tax unit.
If your unit validates all property addresses against the unit-wide street index in Pontem’s Tax Administration software, select the check box ‘No Property Address Verification’.
For a Michigan county, if the local unit calculates its own tax bills, indicate that by checking Calculates Bills. When a county imports the settlement files from a unit which calculates its own tax bills, having this default selected will allow the original values on the tax bill detail to be up-dated with the values in the settlement file.
Setting Admin Fee defaults will carry into the tax unit control record when the new tax period records are created.
Summer Settlement indicates if the county imports the summer tax roll, to take possession of it after September 15. The summer roll will be managed in the county’s database until March 1, when any unpaid bills will be rolled into Pontem’s Delinquent Tax software to follow the PA 123 rules. If the summer roll is not imported into Pontem’s Tax Administration system until March 1 this check box will be left blank.
When a local unit calculates its own tax roll, Calculate Bills must be selected in the software. When selected, the ‘Original’ tax bill amounts are populated in the county database during ‘Import Settlement Files’. If ‘Calculate Bills’ is not selected and the county did not calculate the roll, there will be no original values in the county database for the tax period.
The category for Villages requires the same review and considerations as the ‘Tax Units’ category.
“TIFA” is an acronym for “Tax Increment Financing Authority” and is a financing tool allowed under PA 450 of 1980. “DDA” is an acronym for Downtown Development Authority - another financing tool. LDFA’s and Brownfields are two more financing tools available for taxing authorities to use. These districts are often referred to as "captures" on the tax roll.
This category is where the definition for these types of districts are configured for grouping parcels and calculating the tax bills according to the rules for managing TIFAs.
Because the State of Michigan has not standardized sub-classes, each unit within the county could use a different sub-class to denote different class types, and those types will overlap. The above example illustrates Unit 003 uses Class 102 for DNR. Setting up this screen will allow users to import data and override the unit’s class code of 102 by inserting the defined county class of 106 for DNR.
This category is used to associate school districts with each local unit. It is necessary to update this category prior to the tax calculation process.
The remaining categories under ‘System Config’ have no bearing on tax calculations and imports.
While Pontem certainly recommends every category in ‘System Preferences’ be reviewed occasionally, if a user’s Pontem Tax Administration software database has been populated through a data conversion, there will likely be records posted to every category.
Therefore, users must “clean up” their database by reviewing and editing these categories. Doing so will promote familiarization with this very important part of the software. It will also teach users how to build and maintain data tables which will aid them in getting the most out of the software.
There are several categories in ‘System Preferences’ which will assist users in categorizing data which will help them take advantage of the software’s management capabilities.
The following is a list of categories which Pontem has assigned default codes to but can be expanded upon by the user to the improve data management for special situations that may be unique to their jurisdiction:
- Note Categories
- Name Categories
- Payment Types
- Reasons for Change
- Recording Types
Import-Export and Reports
Import-Export is used to set up default import/export formats and the default paths to where data files for an import or export will be found by the software.
The Report Assignment category is for assigning reports to tabs and buttons for use throughout the system.
Parcel Notes, which can be found under ‘Reports’ in the software, is designed so users can automatically post any note to a parcel record when a selected report is used.
Report Messages is designed so users can write their own messages in a select number of report forms. In the screen shot below, you can see the available reports for editing. The field labeled ‘Message’ is editable.
NOTE: Detailed user documentation about the categories noted on the previous page can be found in the Pontem Online Training and Support Center located at www.pontem.com.
WebExport This functionality automates the upload of a definable tax data for a jurisdiction ’s Online Property Tax Search and is available as an additional billable service. Contact Pontem Software for more information about this useful tool.