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City of Birmingham Excited to Empower Local Businesses

Local businesses are already excited about Birmingham’s new effort to provide on-line processing of city business licenses and related taxes though Avenu Insights and Analytics. Starting in December, this new program will help businesses save time by enabling business owners to focus on growing their businesses.

Mayor Randall Woodfin is focused on bringing a customer-first approach to the City of Birmingham, and recently sat down at a popular local restaurant to talk about the new program.

“Municipal and local government have to do the fundamentals of blocking and tackling first. We should give our small business owners the option to renew their business license online. It’s not only common sense, but it makes things more efficient and effective as well. We should be more supportive of our small business owners. It just makes sense.”

Local entrepreneur and restaurant owner, Crystal Peterson, spends more than an hour annually travelling around the city to filer her business licenses as well as additional time each month to file her taxes. Now, with access to Avenu’s online filing, Crystal can remit taxes and process renewals in minutes from the comfort of her home, saving her valuable time and money.

With Avenu, the City of Birmingham is empowered to help businesses and make the lives of entrepreneurs easier and encourage small businesses and economic growth.

Avenu is in the business of helping jurisdictions help their citizens. Together we can deliver more efficient and effective results for local communities.

Learn more about our Tax and License Administration solutions and how we can help your community today.

Economic News and Trends Report November, 2019 Edition

This edition reports on current national economic data, studies, and research.  The report includes recent retail trends and holiday forecasts.  We encourage you to share this non-confidential report with others in your agency.  Read the full report here.

Discovery and Recovery: Identifying Unrecovered Revenue

Maximizing compliance is growing more difficult for local government agencies — and local governments lose vital revenue when taxes and business license fees go uncollected. Is there a seamless solution that can both increase tax revenue for local agencies without overloading the current staff?

Millions of dollars in escaped taxes and business licenses go unrecovered every year.  Since local government funding is inextricably tied to proper taxation, this means that governments are missing out on funding for important public programs. Unfortunately, with small staffs and ever-mounting responsibilities, local governments are often not staffed to perform discovery and recovery on this uncollected revenue.

For local governments, finding escaped taxes, improperly reported use taxes, and licensing errors is a tedious and manual process. However, city governments are experiencing a year-over-year slowdown in tax revenue and the growth in service costs and other expenditures outpacing it. It’s now more important than ever to stave off the impact of

  • Loss of funding
  • Incorrect reporting
  • Poor capability to project funding for future projects
  • An uneven playing field for the business community

It’s a catch-22 problem with real repercussions for the local community. Luckily, there’s a solution.

Revenue Recovery

The most effective solution for a government to secure lost revenue is to perform an analysis on the current state of compliance and take necessary steps to recover this lost revenue. The discovery piece of the solution means searching out businesses that have not paid one or more local tax or license fee. Then the next step is to work with these businesses to collect revenue owed, thus frequently securing new and recurring revenue.

By identifying anomalies in existing taxpayer fillings, these discovery tactics lead to recovered revenue for the city, which can lead to lasting benefits including:

  • Newly expanded tax base
  • Fair and uniform application of ordinances and ensured compliance
  • Uniform enforcement of compliance: level playing field for all businesses
  • Improved record keeping

The biggest downside to handling discovery and recovery internally is the time it takes. Is there another way?

Partnering with Avenu

Our team of experienced analysts identifies compliance issues, provides detailed reporting, and recovers lost taxes and licenses on governments’ behalf. As an added benefit, our approach is performance-based, therefore clients only pay once funds are successfully recovered.

We start by compiling an inventory of entities subject to taxation and compare them with your business registry. Our focused approach identifies these non-compliant entities with nexus based on local ordinance; general business, itinerants, contractors, home-based, rental income, short term rentals, and more.  With your approval Avenu takes next steps to notify the businesses and recover the tax revenue. This mix of technology and skills results in both immediate and future revenue because of better compliance from your taxpayers.

Avenu in Action

Case Study: Richmond, CA

When Avenu was brought in to access the situation in Richmond, licensing fees weren’t rising at the same rate as rent pricing, which led to an increasing number of complaints on the conditions of rentals. The city did the work of reaching out to these non-compliant landlords about conditions and licensing fees but they received little to no response.

Avenu joined to help discover all rental property owners and short-term rentals and created programs to educate them about current statutes and proper licensing. Through these efforts, Richmond was able to:

  • Identify 2,795 unlicensed businesses
  • Collect more than $2.2 million in new revenue
  • Anticipate a $360,000 annual increase in business tax revenue
  • See an increase from 24% compliance to 70% compliance with Avenu’s help
  • See incremental increases in revenue due to additional taxes, penalties, and interest

Discovery and recovery is no small job, but taking actionable steps towards establishing a level playing field can have major benefits for local governments. In Warren, Kentucky, Avenu was able to recover over $370,000 and more than 930 new registrations in the first 6 months. In Vestavia Hills, Alabama, 2,927 previously unregistered businesses now pay required taxes and fees and $1,669,750 has been recovered since 2004.

By revealing and claiming escaped revenue sources, cities can start adding more revenue to the General Fund.

Getting Started

Curious how much revenue your jurisdiction is missing out on? Avenu regularly provides jurisdictions with a FREE ASSESSMENT that identifies potential revenue that can be recovered. With a few basic data points, we can deliver an assessment within two weeks that will give your jurisdiction an estimate of the tax revenue that is going unrecovered. Knowing the additional and collectable amount is the first step toward making a difference in maintaining service levels, adding new services, and balancing the budget.

Ongoing Benefits

  • Enrich your community: Fund projects that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible
  • Level the playing field: Decrease the burden on honest taxpayers who pay more with higher tax rates to cover shortfall

This process offers local leaders an alternative to difficult and unpopular tax increases, giving them a powerful and practical tool for funding improvements to meet rising citizen expectations. Level the playing field today by decreasing burden on honest taxpayers who pay more with higher tax rates to cover shortfall. Request a free assessment today!

Carolyn Atkinson: New Director of Unclaimed Property Systems and Support

We are pleased to announce that former West Virginia Deputy State Treasurer, Carolyn C. Atkinson, Esquire, is joining Avenu Insights & Analytics as the new Director of Unclaimed Property Systems and Support.  In this role, Carolyn will lead the team as it leverages strong Avenu backing for the unclaimed property business and the support it provides to many state unclaimed property program administrators.

Carolyn is a widely respected expert in state unclaimed property program administration and brings a wealth of experience in this arena. Formerly, she was the President of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), and a recipient of the distinguished NAUPA Lifetime Achievement Award. She also chaired NAUPA’s Committee for Revision of the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act and served as NAUPA’s co-adviser to the Uniform Law Commission. Professionally, she served in a number of roles including: West Virginia Deputy Treasurer for Unclaimed Property, Assistant General Counsel for WV State Treasurer Office, and a lawyer in private practice.

Please feel free to reach out to Carolyn directly via email and she will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Learn more about our unclaimed property management solutions, the proven method for managing state unclaimed property programs.

Clearview Analytics Supercharges Government’s Economic Development Insight

What if there was a tool to identify disposable income in a certain map grid? Or the number of competitive or complementary businesses within a specific geo area? Your economic development team would have a strong advantage in attracting new businesses to your city.

That tool now exists…Using powerful analytic tools and traffic service data provided by Esri’s ArcGIS. Avenu’s Clearview Analytics Economic Development Insights (EDI) tool helps cities and counties remove the guessing when it comes to planning for your jurisdiction’s future.

With real-time unique views of revenue and demographic data, Clearview EDI enables site selection, development planning, and policy analysis – all based on minutes spent driving or walking a certain radius.

Additional features include:

  • Predictive analytics, offering understanding of revenue based on past performance and choices
  • Utilization of demographic data to assess market-fit for businesses
  • Analysis of drive times to determine the market-basin for a potential site
  • Before-and-after views of tax revenues to see the impact of policy decisions

For a limited time, Avenu is offering a 6 MONTH FREE TRIAL of Clearview EDI for your jurisdiction.

Sign up today and within 30 days of receiving your jurisdictions data you will have full access to Clearview EDI!

City of Birmingham Partners with Avenu Insights & Analytics to Bring Online Portal for Business License and Tax Administration

CENTREVILLE, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The City of Birmingham partnered with Avenu Insights & Analytics (Avenu) to launch online filing as a new way to file for the 2020 business license tax season. Businesses will submit and pay their business license renewals online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week versus having to either pay in person at City Hall or having to mail renewals. Businesses will also be able to submit payment via ACH Debit (checking or savings) or credit card.

An equally great benefit of filing online is that business owners will not have to worry about overlooking required information or miscalculations. Each business will have a unique access code for a customized experience and the online form will pre-populate basic business information and load the renewal license categories on file for each business. The online filing system will automatically calculate the license taxes due based on the gross receipts (or other required amounts) entered by the business, saving business owners time and providing confidence that they have filed correctly.

Avenu CEO, Paul Colangelo, stated, “The partnership with Birmingham is personal for Avenu’s Tax Administration team, who is located in Birmingham. The services and support that our office will provide, in addition to the opportunity to secure and find additional revenue for the City that we live, work and play in adds a higher level of responsibility. We are personally invested in the strategic plan for this City and excited to be a part its continued success.”

“One of our core values is customer service and this goes directly to that commitment,” Mayor Randall Woodfin said. “Online filing adds tremendous convenience to our businessowners, which saves them valuable time and streamlines the process. Partnering with a local company who has a vested interest in our community is an added benefit as well.”

About the City of Birmingham

The City of Birmingham, Alabama, is the largest city in the State of Alabama, with a population currently estimated at 212,237, and a metro population of 1,136,650. Birmingham is a beautiful diverse city nestled at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. At the height of the nation’s manufacturing age, the city grew so fast in population, it was called the “Magic City.” Today, Birmingham has transformed itself into a medical research, banking and service-based economy, making it one of the nation’s most livable cities with a vibrant downtown, flourishing loft community, a world-class awarded culinary scene, thriving and diverse neighborhoods and more green space per capita than any other city in the nation! To learn more, visit the City’s website at www.birminghamal.gov.

About Avenu Insights & Analytics

Over 3,000 state and local governments have partnered with Avenu to boost revenue, optimize operations, and deepen community trust. Avenu provides revenue enhancement and administrative solutions that uncover new sources of untapped revenue and deliver software that streamlines day-to-day operations. State and local governments partner with Avenu to increase revenue without raising taxes, streamline internal operations, and improve services by enhancing connectivity for constituents. Avenu is a portfolio company of Mill Point Capital. To learn more, visit www.avenuinsights.com.

Press release from the City of Birmingham available here.

Contacts

Corinne Aycock, Avenu Marketing Manager, (703) 863-1366

Avenu Insights & Analytics Introduces Economic Development Solution for State & Local Governments

CENTREVILLE, Va.Oct. 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Avenu Insights & Analytics (Avenu) releases Clearview Analytics Economic Development Insights (EDI). Clearview Analytics EDI combines powerful analytic tools and traffic service data provided by Esri’s ArcGIS, and pairs it with Avenu’s tax revenue and demographic data. Some of the features include:

  • Utilization of demographic data to assess market-fit for businesses
  • Analysis of drive times to determine the market-basin for a potential site and customize for time-of-day traffic conditions.
  • Integration of local agency’s key revenue sources with demographic drive time analysis

Earlier this year, Avenu announced that it had become a Silver level member of Esri’s partnership program. Avenu leveraged Esri’s Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to geo-enable its revenue enhancement and administrative solutions.

When asked about the partnership, Avenu CEO, Paul Colangelo, shared that, “This partnership allows us to expand our GIS capabilities and provide our clients faster access to specific details about their revenue sources. With a real-time view of tax revenue by location, Clearview EDI provides instant industry insight and comparability of all businesses, including property values. With Esri’s technology, our solutions will present the information they need to quickly understand what is happening and make the best decisions.” Local governments will be able to make more strategic decisions about their economic development policy by having faster access to pinpointed tax revenue data.

Adds Robert Laudati, Director of Esri Alliance & Partners, “The team at Esri is excited to have Avenu Insights & Analytics in our Partner Program. Their products will help our community of users, especially those in state and local government, realize greater efficiency and revenue outcomes based on their integrated solutions.”

About Esri
Esri is a global market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and has been helping customers improve results since 1969. ArcGIS, Esri’s powerful mapping and spatial analytics software, combines mapping and data analytics to deliver location intelligence and meet digital transformation needs and provides users with a scientific-based approach to solving problems in real time. To learn more, visit www.esri.com.

About Avenu Insights & Analytics
Over 3,000 state and local governments have partnered with Avenu to boost revenue, optimize operations, and deepen community trust. Avenu provides revenue enhancement and administrative solutions that uncover new sources of untapped revenue and delivers software that streamlines day-to-day operations. State and local governments partner with Avenu to increase revenue without raising taxes, optimize internal operations, and improve services by enhancing connectivity for constituents. Avenu is a portfolio company of Mill Point Capital. To learn more, visit www.avenuinsights.com.