This is the time of year that drives accountants crazy, but it has nothing to do with income taxes.
Business owners who dutifully file returns with government departments, such as the Los Angeles Office of Finance and the State Board of Equalization, receive reminders many days after filings have been completed on-line even though an official confirmation number was provided.
Mailing these reminders must cost money state and local governments can ill afford to spend.
I could understand receiving a reminder a couple of weeks after a manual return is filed, but two weeks after one was filed on-line and acknowledged is indicative of poor billing and receivable systems.
Information technology is another piece of the infrastructure that has been allowed to deteriorate. Politicians spending money to improve efficiency is not as self-rewarding as giving it away in the form of compensation and benefits. Accounting and information systems don’t contribute to campaign war chests; union members do, although the rank and file have little say in the matter.
If we want to attract and retain businesses, our governments must have the capability to professionally service them.
Efficient billing systems provide two benefits: less frustration on the part of the customer/taxpayer and better collection rates for the government unit. Both sides will spend less time per transaction – that’s a win-win.