WASHINGTON, DC and ATLANTA — LexisNexis® Risk Solutions today announced that the company’s Homestead Exemption Fraud Detection Solution has been used to discover $75,969,024 in new taxable value for Sarasota County, Fla., by identifying more than 500 cases of fraudulent tax filings. The solution, which combines LexisNexis Risk Solutions public records databases with identity analytics technology and the investigative capabilities of Tax Management Associations (TMA), enables local governments to detect erroneous and fraudulent filings, collect taxes resulting from these filings and identify new sources of revenue.
In 2016, the Sarasota County Property Appraisers became the first jurisdiction in Florida to perform a mass audit of the homestead exemptions in the County. Applying Florida law, Sarasota County was also able to recover and collect $6,708,185 in tax revenue through October 2016. In comparison, the County had collected a total of $4,561,340 over the previous 24 years combined.
“Before working with TMA and LexisNexis Risk Solutions, we only had one person dedicated to tracking fraudulent exemptions due to limited resources,” said Brian Loughrey, Administrative Director, Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office. “This resulted in a reactionary process that was time-consuming and tedious. We take our role as a steward of taxpayer dollars seriously and knew we needed a better way to protect these dollars and ensure that taxpayers were paying their fair share to the taxing authorities in order to fund public services, such as education, public safety and transportation. The Homestead Exemption Fraud Detection Solution helped us achieve this goal.”
The Homestead Exemption Fraud Detection Solution uses proprietary identity analytics to detect fraudulent activity and erroneous filings by cross-checking customer records against more than 20,000 public records and commercial data sources. By reviewing existing exemptions, the solution can ensure compliance with state laws, detect key indicators for fraud, including duplicate exemption filings and family members receiving deductions under a deceased property owners’ name.
“Sarasota County is a leader in detecting homestead exemption fraud,” said Haywood Talcove, CEO, Government, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “The simple fact is all homestead exemption programs have some level of fraud in their programs and most are strapped for resources. The difference here is that Sarasota County realized it did not have to uncover the fraud on its own, and it paid off. By using our identity analytics, coupled with TMA’s investigative capabilities, they uncovered $75 million in new taxable value that can be used to fund essential public services.”
TMA further investigates the findings by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, verifying the information and subsequently prioritizing accounts for collection.
“We applaud Sarasota County for performing a full audit of its homestead exemption program,” said Richard (Chip) Cooke, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, TMA. “In doing so, they saw the opportunity for new revenue that could be – and was – uncovered by leveraging an external solution – the proven capabilities of the Homestead Exemption Fraud Detection Solution.”
For more information, please visit http://www.lexisnexis.com/risk/products/government/homestead-exemption.aspx.
About LexisNexis Risk Solutions
LexisNexis® Risk Solutions includes seven brands that span multiple industries and sectors. We harness the power of data, sophisticated analytics platforms and technology solutions to provide insights that help businesses and governmental entities reduce risk and improve decisions to benefit people around the globe. Headquartered in metro Atlanta, Georgia, we have offices throughout the world and are part of RELX (LSE: REL/NYSE: RELX), a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. For more information, please visit LexisNexis Risk Solutions and RELX.