Revenue Management System (RMS)
Revenue Management System (RMS) is a powerful software product that uses state-of-the-art technology to produce a powerful, yet extremely flexible, tax discovery and automated collections management tool. It is a Windows-based program that gives users the power to quickly and efficiently store, sort, retrieve and update account information. The system's easy-to-read menus and on-line history functions place a wealth of account information at the fingertips of users. By eliminating the time consuming and error prone tasks associated with manual search and entry, RMS provides application solutions that benefit organizations in both the government and the private sector.
The RMS database possesses the ability to house a large number of accounts as well as the power to quickly retrieve and update those accounts. The laws in many states require account records to be maintained for up to ten years. With the Revenue Management System, the storage and retrieval of electronic accounts can be easily managed without encountering the overhead associated with paper records.
Three of the most significant features included in RMS are Discovery, Workflow, and Account Management.
We have all seen the old movie where the "new computer" was to be used to crack the case and determine the murderer. They show rows of keypunch operators typing away and creating punch cards that are then collected and fed into the card reader. The tapes are shown spinning, then the card punch starts spitting out cards until one card is sent to a different output bin. At this point the operator grabs the card and claims "we've got our man".
The reason that Hollywood needs to overly dramatize this scene is because they are attempting to add some visibility to an extremely important process that is occurring under the covers. This is the nature of tax discovery. It is part science and part art, neither is very exciting to watch, but the end result can be extremely impressive.
The process begins with the base database. This is the reference database for matching purposes. For most municipalities, the base database consists of businesses with an active account. This file is downloaded to the RMS server and converted to relational databases. The process then takes these files, applies indexes, pulls apart the active and inactive accounts, and breaks down the master data into active and inactive files. The legal names and DBA's are further broken down into individual word segments. Individual words are weighted as to their commonality (i.e., a, the, and, co., corp., etc…would be listed as common words). These files become instrumental ingredients for the matching algorithms.
The other part of the matching process involves the target database. The target files are developed from various sources and contain information on potential taxpayers. Three steps are needed before target data is ready for matching
"Normalize" - This step includes formatting of:
- Field Names
- Field Lengths
- Field Types (numeric, character, date, etc.…)
- Multipurpose Fields
- Important Information from target not mapped on master
"Clean" - This step standardizes conditions like the following:
- Abbreviations (LA/Los Angeles)
- Streets spelled out (First/1st)
- Numbers spelled out (One Wilshire/1 Wilshire)
- Titles in the name (Mr., Dr., PHD, CPA, Jr.)
- Initials in the name (Thomas R Rossi/ TR Rossi)
- Local rules for field values
"Authenticate ZIP codes" - This step uses US Postal files to verify ZIPs.
At this point, the sophistication of the proprietary software determines unmatched records by looking at individual letter/number and words within each data field. This complex process is called "Intelligent Compare". The art of comparing uses such sophisticated techniques as letter, word, and phonetic, testing. Therefore, the matching utilizes many levels of testing prior to determining a non-filer. The unmatched accounts will be downloaded into the RMS tracking/collection program and be given a path towards mailing or call collection.
The following are examples of problems associated with non-intelligent compare routines (i.e. Field to field compares).
Examples on Name:
- Misspellings (Smith/Smyth/Smithe)
- Connectors (Bauche & Lomb/Bauche/Lomb)
- Order of words (John J Fogerty/ Fogerty John J)
- Missing words (GAP/ The GAP/ GAP on Bree Street)
- Common Words (the, and, Auto, Jewelry, Beauty, Inc., Co.)
- Input Errors (Klink/ Kink/ Klik/ Klimk/ Klunk)
Example on Address:
- Direction (N,SW /North, Southwest, South West)
- Street type (Road, Avenue, Lane)
- Unit type (apt, unit, suite, #)
- Extra Blanks (79__ Mint Road)
An intelligent compare algorithm, like the one implemented in RMS, will decide that the following entries are a match to "Robinson's May", even though none would be equal in a standard compare.
- The May Company
- The May Co.
- The May Co
- May Company
- May Co.
- May Co
- Robinsons / May
- Robinson / May
- Robinson's / May
- Robinsons / May
Workflow is an extremely powerful feature of RMS. Workflow is the name given to the function that follows management-established rules to control the progression of accounts through the system. These rules can be as complex as desired. Once these rules are set up, RMS executes them as part of the daily routine. There is no need to keep notes of what to do for which account at what time, RMS takes care of the mundane scheduling of letters, phone calls, transferring to a different class of tax specialist, etc. With these tasks automatically scheduled and organized by RMS, the tax specialists, and managers are free to concentrate on the most important job - registering taxpayers and collecting taxes.
With the aid of user-friendly commands, management is able to construct a collection of rules into a strategy. Each account in RMS will be assigned to a single strategy. However, there is no limit to the number of strategies that can be created, and one strategy can relinquish control to others as need dictates.
A workflow strategy can be created to automate almost any process imaginable for handling an account. This Sample Workflow Strategy is an illustration of a strategy that sends a letter named "FIRST", waits 35 days, sends a letter named "SECOND", and waits another 35 days (as long as the STATUS remains "NEW").
While the previous sections describe functions controlled by the management team, Account Management is primarily the responsibility of the tax specialist. This is the area where all account information is retained, history of all contact with the taxpayer is documented, and a record is maintained of all changes to account information. Two of the most significant advantages are the ability to create a specialized work queue by choosing from a number of search parameters, and the tax calculation feature, which allows the tax specialist to accurately calculate a tax liability work sheet in a matter of seconds. The tax specialist can then push a button to fax the work sheet directly to the taxpayer, or it can be printed for mailing.
The Taxpayer Screen is the central point of interaction between the Tax Specialist and RMS. From here all account information in the system can be quickly accessed. The Tax Specialist is able to easily retrieve accounts using a variety of search methods, view detailed account information, update this information, or add permanent historical records. With queuing power, a work list is dynamically constructed containing all accounts that match the requested profile. See a Sample Taxpayer Screen
Building a QUEUE
The Queue option is used to build a dynamic work list of accounts that are selected using specified criteria. Once built, the Tax Specialist will be using a subset of the master database that contains only the selected accounts. If she must look up an account that is not in this queue, it can be done as normal, and then a simple procedure returns her to the exact same location in the queue. See a Sample Queue Criteria Screen and the result
The Tax screen is probably the most time saving feature in RMS. It performs all calculations necessary to determine the complete in-statute liability of a business in a matter of seconds (even for complicated accounts where various rulings apply). All back taxes, interest, and penalty are calculated accurately and immediately. When the calculation is complete, the Tax Specialist at the push of a button, can print for mailing, or FAX a liability worksheet directly to the taxpayer.
While entering the Fund, Class, and SIC codes, keyword searches can easily be performed. This insures that the taxpayer is classified correctly, with a valid SIC for that classification.
Depending on the Classification chosen, step-by-step questions are presented as the gross receipts are entered. The answers to these questions determine the applicability of any rulings that may apply, and the proper apportionment is automatically calculated. See a Sample Tax Calculation Screen