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The Vermont Department of Taxes’ Property Valuation and Review Division (PVR) will be implementing Axiomatic’s PropTax web application to manage the annual grant list and its associated processes. The launch is scheduled for April of 2022. PropTax will automate the land records data exchanges between PVR and municipalities, which will provide powerful ratio study and GIS tools to local officials and allow increased transparency to Vermont residents. The new system will greatly improve access to real-time data by both state and municipal officials, a process that currently relies on time-consuming, manual exchanges.

PVR looks forward to working with Axiomatic and local officials in adopting industry best practices that will improve efficiency and comply with the International Association of Assessing Officer’s revised Property Tax Oversight and Property Tax Policy Standards. Best of all, since the system is web-based, municipalities will not need to install any new software. They will simply need an internet-capable device and connection. 

Because cyber security is something PVR takes very seriously, we want to highlight some of the security features of the PropTax platform. PropTax will utilize Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to encrypt all data that is transmitted across the web, typically between a website and a browser, or a mail server and a mail client (such as Outlook). This prevents third parties from intercepting your data in transit. The system will conform to the highest industry standards as specified by “NIST Special Publication 800-53 Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations.” (NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce.)

Industry standard password complexity rules will be in place to prevent users from utilizing “weak” passwords which are easily guessed. Once a user creates a password, PropTax cross-checks it against a known “blacklist” of commonly used and exploitable passwords. 

Prior to deployment, the PropTax platform will undergo penetration testing. That means it will be tested by a third-party cyber security expert who will look for vulnerabilities that a hacker may exploit to gain access to the system or data. If any vulnerability is identified, it will be addressed, and the system will then be re-tested to confirm the vulnerability has been eliminated.

Lastly, in compliance with a directive from Vermont’s Agency of Digital Services, Axiomatic will obtain an SOC 2 Type II certification, which is the most comprehensive certification within systems and organizational controls protocol. A company which has an SOC 2 Type II certification has proven its systems are designed to keep its clients’ sensitive data secure.

We look forward to working with our municipal partners to implement this new system and securely create a more efficient property tax system for Vermont and its municipalities.

Jill Remick, Director
Property Valuation and Review Division
Vermont Department of Taxes