14 May Tools of the Trade: Delinquent Tax Reporting Formats.
Understanding how the county manages property data and delinquency data is an important and necessary skill to acquire.
Here’s a list of delinquent tax report formats that you may encounter, especially if they were delivered electronically. Either by means of email or internet downloads. This is important, as this will be your guide in the beginning of your Tax Lien Investment journey. You cannot get on your way without comprehending the following:
1.) Microsoft Excel file format, also know as .xls or .xlsx, is a spreadsheet application, it features calculation, graphing tools, and pivot tables. It is overwhelmingly the dominant spreadsheet application available and is probably the easiest data program to work with and learn. A cell in a woksheet and looks much more organized separates each field. I would say that the average county will be able to provide you their data in an excel format upon request.
2.) The Comma Delimited file format is a text file format which opens in Microsoft Word or Notepad. It looks like a bunch or terms separated by a comma, from left to right. Each property is in one row. It literally may look like this: parcel number, comma, space, last name, comma, space, first name, comma, space, legal description, comma, space, owner mailing address, comma space, city, comma, space, state, comma, space, zip, comma, space. Then perhaps assessed value, comma, and space; then perhaps they’ll even use codes, comma, space.
The beauty of this format is that you are also able to open it up using Microsoft Excel. All you would have to do is open it within the program by selecting file, open, and then you navigate to where this comma delimited file is located and load from there. Microsoft will know what you are loading in. It will give you a little wizard that goes through all the necessary steps to open the file, with you. After the file is open, you would just have to save it as an excel file for easy access to your report.
3.) CSV file= this stands for comma separated value file in ASCII format. It contains all metadata and point identification information gathered during point counting. You can also save this in Microsoft Excel just like the Comma delimited file.
4.) Microsoft Access is a relational database management system from Microsoft that combines the relational Microsoft Jet Database with a graphical user interface and software development tools. The standard file extensions for these types of files are .mdb or .accdb. With this program you can actually generate reporting tools for each of your prospective investment properties. This can be useful if you are would like to attach copies of the plat maps or photos to your recorder investment opportunities. Another great feature of MS Access is that you can create and save custom queries so that each time you import a new table of data into the file you can use the saved queries to filter down the list.
5.) PDF format=Portable Document Format. It is designed to ease document sharing on the Internet and for easy printing of documents. It is not compatible to transfer in Excel, in less you have a 3rd party program that converts .pdf files to .xls files. When dealing with county data stay away from these files. Chances are that even though the county has pdf reports readily available to the public, they also have a way to send you the data in a more workable format. So be sure to talk to the right person.
6.) Cartridge= this is typically the oldest format that a county will hand to you. This is basically similar to a diskette. It is stored in an actual media tape and extracting would require a special program. If this is the only reporting file format the county recorder has available, don’t fret as there are ways to extract information from these easily nowadays. You can find companies that specialize in these types of conversions and even though it is a pain to process, the final result will be a gold mine because chances are you are the only investor that took the time to convert this data.
Getting information from the county office is vital to your Tax Delinquent Investment. They will give you a summarized list of the availability of properties in the county you are looking to invest in. These reports are great and absolutely necessary to have but knowing how to process them and read them is jut as important. So remember to always ask the County for a database Schema, Data dictionary or list of field definitions. Now you know what to do with the different file formats currently available and used by most Counties in the
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