Skyline of Wichita, Kansas, at night.

Wichita Property Tax Conference

Did you know there’s an annual property tax conference in Wichita, Kansas? It’s the largest conference dedicated to property tax in North America, if not the world, and it’s happening soon: July 28 through August 1, 2024. There’s still time to register.

The Wichita Property Tax Conference explores property tax issues facing a variety of complex industries, including energy, software, telecommunications, and transportation. It draws accountants, attorneys, consultants, educators, government representatives — really, anyone with a hand in property tax who wants to keep a finger on the pulse of property tax valuation and assessment issues. Attendees are interested, interesting, and eager to share knowledge and to learn.

So:

What is the Wichita Property Tax Conference?

The Wichita Property Tax Conference (WPTC) started in 1972 with centrally assessed regulated companies; it has since evolved to a broader calling. Today, per Wichita State University, “the Wichita Property Tax Conference is the world’s longest lasting and most well-attended conference for both newcomers and advanced professionals involved with complex property tax valuation and assessments.”

Every year, the conference is planned by a group of property tax professionals from government, industry, and professional services. The 2023 WPTC planning committee included representatives from industries, professional services, and several state tax departments including our very own Carl Hoemke, GM of Property Tax at Avalara.

The planning committee convenes each November to identify the most pressing property tax issues facing the industry. While property tax valuation remains a core focus, discussions span the entire property tax cycle, from return filing to assessment appeals. Committee members exchange strategies and solutions, supporting a comprehensive approach to these challenges.

The agenda for the upcoming WPTC grows out of the planning committee meetings, ensuring each conference covers the most germane property tax topics of the year.

This year’s conference president, Lara Ingrando, Director of Property Tax at AT&T, is particularly enthusiastic about the event’s new direction. She shares, “We’re taking the conference to new heights this year! Our new venue ​​at Wichita State University’s Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex is a game changer, fostering unprecedented collaboration between advanced attendees and the principles course participants. With everyone under one roof, we’re creating an electrifying environment for learning and networking. Plus, our lineup of nationally renowned keynote speakers — from inspiring motivators to industry titans — promises to deliver insights that will revolutionize how we approach property tax. This event isn’t just a conference; it’s a launchpad for innovation in our field!’

Why should you attend the Wichita Property Tax Conference?

Property tax affects just about every business that owns real estate or personal property (equipment, technology, or other assets) in certain states. As for business personal property, a total of 14 states exempt it from taxation, while 37 (including Washington, D.C.) tax it. Six additional states tax only centrally assessed personal property. In total, 43 jurisdictions tax some form of personal property. Given its complex nature, complying with property tax requirements can challenge even seasoned tax administrators, professionals, and industry specialists.

If you’re responsible for administering or complying with property tax laws, you know what you’re up against. You need to keep tabs on where you owe property tax, as well as property valuation, the rules for property tax appeals, obligations across jurisdictions, and how to manage processes and deadlines.

It’s a lot.

Like all things tax, the laws and requirements for property tax can change at any point. Changes to your business can also impact your property tax obligations. Expanding locations, renovating your offices or storefronts, purchasing new equipment, and building up inventory are all factors that contribute to the amount of property tax you may owe.

Keeping up with the latest regulations is essential: You can’t comply with requirements if you don’t know what they are. The Wichita Property Tax Conference will help you learn the latest in property tax from industry, government, and accounting experts. That knowledge can translate to compliance process improvements directly affecting your bottom line.

You can also network (and commiserate) with professionals that deal with the same property tax compliance challenges your business faces. Attendees represent a variety of industries and companies of all sizes, hailing from both the public and private sectors.

The Wichita Property Tax Conference offers useful sessions for everyone, from newbies just dipping their toes into property tax to seasoned experts. There’s always an introductory class for beginners in property tax who want to know how to value their property, as well as more in-depth sessions for people who eat, sleep, and breathe property tax. You can find out more about the agenda here.

What can you expect at the 2024 Wichita Property Tax Conference?

The conference is held on the Wichita State University campus. It starts with a golf tournament and features daily breakfast, lunch, and evening receptions hosted by partners and service providers like Avalara.

The sessions include:

  • Keynote speakers — Learn about trends, challenges, and predictions affecting property tax assessments and obligations across the United States.
  • Principles courses — Explore the cost of capital analysis, value reconciliation, and more.
  • Advanced courses — Gain a deeper understanding of such topics as purchase price allocations, tax incentives, and pipelines.
  • Industry speakers — Hear from rail, energy, utilities, communications, logistics, and other experts.

Through it all, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with people like yourself. People who understand how important it is to get property tax right.

There’s a lot to be gained from attending the Wichita Property Tax Conference. Check it out.

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