Making it Faster and Easier for You to Do Business with the Comptroller’s Office
Texas has been blessed with a growing population and a thriving business environment in the past several years. But that also has meant an increased need for Comptroller services at a time when government is working hard to do more with less.
Here’s a look at the numbers along with a list of ways the Comptroller’s office has not only stepped up to the challenge, but also stepped out to save more time and more money for all of Texas.
We’re serving more people with fewer employees in a growing economy — all through smarter practices.
Between fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2014, the Comptroller’s office has dealt with the challenges of a growing state: a 13.1 percent increase in the Texas population, a 63.3 percent increase in the number of franchise taxpayers and a 10.4 percent increase in the number of sales tax permits. During that time, the Comptroller’s office staff size contracted by 4.3 percent.
The Texas economy has grown as well between fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2014, bringing more tax dollars to the state. In 2014, Texas collected $47.8 billion in total tax revenue, a 29.3 percent increase over fiscal 2007’s $37 billion in total tax revenue. Sales tax collections for fiscal 2014 totaled $26 billion, a 28 percent increase over fiscal 2007’s $20.3 billion in sales tax collections. Franchise tax collections for fiscal 2014 totaled $4.8 billion, a 52.6 percent increase over fiscal 2007’s $3.1 billion in franchise tax collections.
Read further to learn more about how the Comptroller’s office has adapted to changes in the state economy, customer service expectations and technology.
More online filing, then vs. now
Our office has seen a 268 percent increase in online filing/payment of taxes since fiscal 2007. In fiscal 2013, we received 3,359,988 online returns, as opposed to 912,287 in fiscal 2007. Texas taxpayers also went from being able to file/pay just 10 taxes online in January 2007 to being able to file/pay 62 taxes online in 2014. Online options add convenience for taxpayers and save processing costs and time for the state.
The Comptroller’s office has saved $1.6 million — and counting — in staffing costs, efficiencies and equipment with more online filing.
Your money back faster, improvements in unclaimed property administration
Unclaimed Property Administration
The Comptroller’s office has returned $1.25 billion — and counting — in unclaimed property since January 2007. That amount exceeds the entire prior 45 years’ worth of payments by more than 39 percent.
By the way, you can easily search more than 20 million properties by visiting Texas’ unclaimed property database at ClaimItTexas.org.
Audited Tax Refunds
The rate of refunds approved by the Comptroller’s Audit Division jumped from 40 percent in fiscal 2007 up to 75 percent in fiscal 2014. Also, in 2007 taxpayers waited an average of 157 days for processing of non-audit crude oil and natural gas exemption refund requests. In 2014, taxpayers only wait an average of 35 days.
More responsive support
In 2007, taxpayers would receive written general sales tax guidance in 11 days. In 2014, that turnaround time is 3 days.
Since launching online taxpayer resources, such as self-serve menus to help taxpayers quickly find information, our office experienced a 25 percent reduction in calls seeking taxpayer assistance.
Finding revenues and saving
- $540 million, and counting, in additional tax collections have been made. That amount was made possible by better data and smarter software to identify dollars owed the state from tobacco and alcohol sales.
- $16 million in new revenue has been collected as a result of more efficient use of existing resources in Comptroller enforcement field offices.
- We discovered $33 million, and still counting, from more efficient statewide fiscal management practices and smarter data-driven bookkeeping. That amount includes $18.4 million recovered in fiscal 2013 via the warrant hold offset program, which withholds payments to entities that owe money to the state; $13.4 million in erroneous state agency payments recovered since 2005 through the Comptroller’s statewide recovery audit program; and $1.8 million saved since fiscal 2006 by increasing vendor participation in the state’s direct deposit program rather than printing and mailing payment.
- We saved $12.2 million and 252,709 work hours since 2007 from technology and internal process improvements at the Comptroller’s office.
- Texas state government saved $164 million via the Comptroller’s strategic sourcing initiative for smarter procurement practices leveraging economies of scale.
- Centralizing procurement at the Comptroller’s office saved $200 million for the state.
Minding the Treasury
There has been a 65 percent increase in electronic payments since 2008, from 24.6 million electronic payments up to 40.5 million in 2013. Additionally, in 2013 $27.1 billion more was paid electronically than in 2008. Between 2008 and 2013, the dollar volume of electronic payments increased from $76 billion to $103.1 billion.
The Texas Treasury processed checks received in one day or less 99.9 percent of the time in 2013, up from 82.7 percent of the time in 2008.
Investing in efficiency
Texas Trust Online, a new Web portal that allows the Comptroller’s Treasury Division and agency clients to transact investment business online, processed 1,000 transactions in fiscal 2013. Estimates show it has saved about 3,600 collective human-hours per year by eliminating manual paper processes.
Also, the Comptroller’s office added 778 classes since 2011 via the TexPool Academy, an online training program enabling local government investment officers to meet required statutorily training investment training online without the need for costly travel.