Cushman & Wakefield announced the expansion of its National Property Tax Service group, adding Phoenix-based coverage of the Southwest.

Mary Vaughn has been hired as Director of Property Tax Services in the Phoenix office. She will lead the property tax function for the company’s existing client base, as well as focus on business development opportunities, according to Mark Kline, Senior Managing Director and U.S. Practice Leader for the group.

“Strong property tax representation, including administration, tax management and, when appropriate, tax appeals, requires extensive knowledge of specific real estate markets and their cycles. We utilize a robust database to support the effort,” says Mr. Kline. “Cushman & Wakefield is the only major multi-disciplined real estate firm to create a nationwide property tax service group. Our research team, brokerage professionals, property management staff and valuation & advisory experts all contribute as resources for property tax services. Utilizing our comprehensive real estate expertise brings stronger representation for our investor clients. Cushman & Wakefield operates on a global platform, so we are able to assist investors not just within the United States, but throughout the world.”

Cushman & Wakefield’s property tax work for New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona will be based in the Phoenix office. Ms. Vaughn will lead the efforts, utilizing her extensive national property tax experience. Ms. Vaughn is a native of Baltimore and a graduate of Northern Arizona University. She also has a Masters of Legal Studies with an emphasis on real estate from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Ms. Vaughn previously served in the national property tax division of Republic Services.

In addition to providing property tax appeal work, Cushman & Wakefield assists with audits and consults with clients on both business and personal property tax issues. The company plans to quickly grow the Property Tax Services group in Phoenix under Ms. Vaughn’s leadership. Cushman & Wakefield’s strong client base of institutional investors and major corporations are benefitting from the company’s addition of tax appeal services.

“Property taxes represent a major fixed cost for real estate owners,” said Mr. Kline. “Real estate markets are cyclical, with property values changing on a continuous basis. Typically, assessors find it difficult to keep up with these values and we are committed to making sure our clients pay the appropriate taxes for the accurate value of their properties. For example, as the economy is improving we have found that assessed values are escalating at a faster pace than the actual values in many areas. The knowledge we bring to these cases can potentially create significant savings for our property owner clients.”

Ms. Vaughn will work with Jo Dance, the Managing Director and Regional Manager of the Valuation & Advisory group and her appraisal professionals.