The County of Santa Clara has had a property tax web portal presence for several years. However, the trend today for ease of use and accessibility is the Mobile App platform. The Department of Tax Collection wanted to increase their electronic presence as well as take as many property tax payments without having to burden the taxpayer from having to come into County Offices, rely on regular mail service, or even find a PC to make payments through the web portal.
The SCC DTAC Mobile App was created to allow County Residents to pay their property taxes on either iOS or Android platform smartphones. The app’s main design criteria are such that taxpayers make property tax payments as quickly and with least number of screen taps as possible. The app leveraged already existing portal functionalities by creating wrappers around them and allowing API calls to be made.
The design of the screens is simplistic but included all the information necessary to identify taxes due and amounts to be paid.
Property searches are entered either by address or parcel number:
At this point, the taxpayer can choose to pay all the outstanding bills, or select specific bills to pay, or even make partial payments against the taxes due:
Other functionalities available are viewing bill details, payment history, and actual PDF version of the Property Tax Bill that was generated. The App allows users to remember properties as “My Favorites” so later payments can be made without having to do address or parcel number lookups.
The SCC DTAC Mobile App is available for download from either Apple AppStore or Google Play.
Ease of use and making the payment process as quick as possible were requirements from the project sponsor, Department of Tax Collections Director. The SCC DTAC Mobile App was developed, tested and released in January 2019, just prior to the peak payment period starting in February. Having this cushion allowed the Director to publicize the app availability via all media venues. To date, there have been around 6000 downloads of the App (iOS is about 5 times the number of Android platform downloads) and $7.76 million dollars collected via the App (most collections were made before the April 10, 2019 deadline). The County is looking forward to more adoption of pay via the mobile App in the next collection cycle.
The Department of Tax Collections Director is very happy her vision has come true and looks for further enhancements to the App, as well as perhaps extending the payment functionality to other types of tax collection.