Real Estate Tax Collector Audit Tips
By: Paula Ledbetter
Cottrill, Arbutina & Associates, P.C.
Real estate tax collector audits are required annually by Pennsylvania state law to examine the final accounts and records, payments and returns, and duplicates of taxing districts. The performance of an audit on this information is to add to the reliability and credibility to the information reported by the tax collector, thus instilling a sense of confidence in the receiving governmental entity and community that public tax dollars are being fully collected and allocated to the taxing district. An audit also provides an opportunity for the tax collector to receive recommendations for efficiency improvements to the tax collection process.
During the selection process of a qualified auditor, entities should be mindful of items such as: years of experience the auditor has in auditing real estate tax collectors; the auditor’s understanding of the Local Tax Collection Law – Act 169 of 1998; and the thoroughness of the auditor’s procedures (for example, confirming payments and dates with tax payers and taxing districts). Other items to consider include requesting sample letters issued to other clients regarding identification of weaknesses and improvement suggestions as well as securing information transmitted between the auditor and the tax collector.