Ascend Tax

The Ascend property tax system is for Assessors, Treasurer/Tax Collectors, and others involved in the property tax process. It is a fully integrated, web-enabled, software application that links property valuation with assessment administration and comprehensive tax management. Ascend was designed to deal with the challenges that many jurisdictions face in moving from legacy systems and manual processes to automated technology-driven solutions. 

Originally developed to support the activities of Assessors and Treasurers in Washington State, Ascend has evolved into a single source code product that can meet the assessment and tax administration needs of jurisdictions throughout the U. S. Ascend’s advanced, open design makes it capable of integrating with third-party CAMA systems in a common relational database. 


Ascend Supports the Property Life Cycle

Ascend provides functionality that automates all other workflow and business processes associated with property taxation. When real property is segregated or merged, or a personal property account is opened, Ascend assigns a unique identifier and records all relevant information, from the multiplicity of owners and addresses to detailed legal descriptions. Due to its object-oriented and relational design, there is no limit to the number of owners, addresses, or the size of legal descriptions that Ascend can accommodate. New accounts created in Ascend can be “picked up” by a CAMA system where characteristics are recorded and the property is appraised. Meanwhile, exemptions, if applicable, are added and applications for “special use” or other property designations are recorded. Special assessments can likewise be assigned if the property qualifies for such designation.

Class Name
Property Transfer & Sales

Ascend provides a complete set of parcel management tools within its Property Management system. The transfer or sale of property, or the subdivision of a parcel or parcels, is frequently the first step in the creation of new real property accounts. Ascend’s toolset completely facilitates the transfer or sale process, simplifies the experience for both county staff and taxpayers, and fully complies with statutory requirements and procedures that might be typical throughout diverse jurisdictions.

Name & Address Maintenance

A critical feature of Ascend’s Name & Address system is its utility as the central repository of name and address information, and that information’s historic relationship to specific properties. Ascend maintains separate tables for names and addresses, which are linked to a “party/property involvement” table. That in turn specifies the role of a given party at a specific address in relation to a parcel or personal property account.

Segregations/Merges & Other Cases of Parcel Creation & Parcel Maintenance

Real property parcels come into existence in a variety of ways. Often a new parcel is created as the result of the sale of a portion of an existing parcel. Typically, however, new parcels are created as the result of a split or combination of existing property. Ascend provides a comprehensive, feature-rich module for managing segregations and merges within its Property Management system.

CAMA System Integration

Ascend has been intentionally designed to work with legacy or third-party CAMA software and ASIX can partner with virtually any CAMA provider when an integrated Tax and CAMA solution is specified.

Personal Property Valuation & Account Maintenance

Personal property is an important part of a county’s tax base even though it typically makes up a small percentage of all taxable accounts.

Licensed Property Appraisal & Taxation: Motor Vehicles, Boats, Airplanes, etc.

Jurisdictions that have responsibility for appraisal and taxation of motor vehicles and similar “licensed” items can face major data management and processing challenges for these types of accounts.

Calculating Assessed Value: Applying Limits

Property tax policy is frequently changed by legislative action. As a result, the pattern of imposing taxes on property based solely on market value is disappearing in state after state. Ascend is designed to accommodate these trends by allowing user configuration of the rules that manage calculation of assessed value and limits to value increases.

Managing Assessed Value: Value Changes & Exemptions

Once appraised values have been calculated by a CAMA system or by Ascend’s personal or licensed property module and subjected to rules for determining assessed value, they are certified and stored in summary valuation tables. From this point forward in the annual tax cycle, Ascend relies on certified values as a basis for its calculations.

Setting Levies & Rates

Determining levy rates for ad valorem taxing districts is often a tedious and complicated procedure. Ascend simplifies the process by automating most of the calculations and directing the user’s attention to instances that require expert judgment to resolve problems. Rate setting differs considerably from one state to another. In Ascend the basic features of the rate setting process are customized to meet local and state requirements.

Ad Valorem Tax Calculations

The calculation of ad valorem taxes for individual parcels and property accounts is the last step in the levy process:

  • Rates for regular and excess levies are stored in “charge schedule” records keyed to individual tax districts for both regular and excess, or bonded, levies.
  • The taxable value of each parcel/account is calculated by selecting the appropriate assessed values (i.e., market, current use, or frozen value), taking into account any modifications that affect the values, and deducting the impact of exemption amounts.
  • The taxable value is used in conjunction with the appropriate rate for the parcel’s/account’s tax district to calculate charges for regular and excess levies.
Special Assessments

Ad valorem tax charges may not be the only type of annual charge on tax bills. Many parcels are also subject to special assessment from benefit districts.

Tax Billing & Re-Billing

In Ascend, a tax “bill” is actually a data structure to which all tax-related charges for a parcel in a specific tax year point to the database. The annual statement is simply a report of all or a selected combination of outstanding charges for all tax years. Charges may be combined into groups as individual line items on the statement. Grace dates are automatically applied where appropriate. Interest rates and penalties are set in accordance with state law and are applied either at the time of payment (interest) or on specified dates (penalties or fees).

Delinquency & Property Foreclosure

Ascend supports delinquency processes in its Tax Management system by providing a flexible set of screens, reports, and interfaces that assist in managing the complicated process of acquiring and disposing of property in lieu of taxes.

Revenue Processing

Revenue processing in Ascend is handled through the Cashiering system which incorporates both in-person and batch cashiering functionality. This system provide a highly efficient, secure set of tools with which to manage receipt of funds from taxpayers, as well as from other sources such as mortgage companies and tax service firms.

Revenue Management & Accounting

Ascend incorporates a full set of features to assist the monitoring and auditing of any and all financial transactions within its Accounting system. Each transaction created is permanently stamped with date/time information as well as user identity. Transactions are never deleted or modified in place. Ascend adheres to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) accounting methodology by allowing only adjustments or reversals to existing transactions.

Revenue Distribution

Distribution of revenue from tax payments is a completely table-driven activity in Ascend. Individual payments are associated with specific “charge schedules” which, in turn, are linked to specific distribution schedules in the database. Ascend provides a carefully designed distribution process that serves both to minimize rounding error and preserve fairness in distributions.

Ascend Report Writer Features

Ascend provides a built-in facility for reporting the result sets of browser/inquiry windows. 

Ascend Security

Ascend has robust security features within its Administration system where access rights may be established by user, function, and device. Access to various windows or features Ascend can be restricted based on these settings.