It’s August. Time once again for our favorite annual late-summer traditions: water bans and rolling black-outs, the last of the ill-conceived Hollywood blockbusters, NFL training camp injury and arrest reports, the mathematical elimination of our favorite teams from World Series playoff contention, and of course the preparation/submission of the MS-1 Report. Here’s what you need to know about your MS-1 over the next several weeks.
Many of you will remember there was a move last year to have all municipalities submit the MS-1 electronically using a fillable PDF form provided by the DRA. It started out as a requirement and evolved into more of a request as it became apparent that the specifications were not done soon enough to enable software providers like us to implement the requirements. This year we had more of a head start, but it’s always a compressed schedule as the DRA doesn’t know until June/July whether there will be new legislative mandates that impact the information they need to collect.
So here’s where we are:
- As of this writing, the 2013 MS-1 report is not yet available on the DRA web site. However, they have informed us that there is no new information that will be required this year (e.g. new credit/exemption categories).
- We will be providing you with an update to Assessing in the next few weeks — we would hope on or around August 16th — that will include the 2013 MS-1.
- This update will include the new ability to generate the data, in the form of an XML file, for the MS-1 report which you can then submit electronically to the DRA and/or use to populate the DRA’s fillable PDF. We are still working on the mechanics of this and the degree to which we can automate this for you.
- This update will also include:
- At a minimum, the ability to preview the MS-1 Report in its previous paging/format (i.e. the information/labels of the report are the same but they appear on different pages than the DRA’s new fillable PDF format) which will allow you to visually confirm the data contained in the XML file you will be submitting.
- Hopefully, the ability to automatically process the XML data produced by the system into the DRA’s PDF so that you can see your data in their actual report (as opposed to an earlier format) before you submit it. But we’re still working on this.
So what does all this mean for you?
- If you absolutely have to have (due to vacations or selectmen’s meeting schedule) your MS-1 done before August 16th you should keep checking the DRA web site for the 2013 MS-1 Report. Once it is available you can download it, open it up in Adobe Reader, and then use the MS-1 Report generated by your current version of Avitar Assessing to populate the DRA’s fillable PDF (i.e. manually type the numbers from the Avitar report into the corresponding boxes in the DRA PDF). While this sounds miserable it will probably take you about 30 minutes to type and double check. Then you can use the button within the PDF to submit it electronically to the DRA via email.
- If you can wait a few weeks to actually finalize the report you can save yourself some typing. In the meantime, you can be using the existing MS-1 Report generated by the system to review your data as you would normally, recognizing that while the format and pagination will change, the information it contains will not. And just keep your eyes on this space for future posts on the distribution of the update and any additional instructions on how to generate and submit your electronic MS-1 Report.
As always, do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions.