WASHINGTON, DC and ATLANTA — Homestead Exemption Fraud Detection technology from LexisNexis® Risk Solutions has helped Webb County Appraisal District (WCAD) in Texas recapture more than $520K in new tax revenue that can be utilized by local governments to fund public services including emergency, educational, and other local social services. The LexisNexis® Homestead Exemption Fraud Detection Solution has been an integral component of WCAD’s ongoing efforts to improve the audit process and integrity of their homestead exemption (HS) program.
An audit review of more than 36,488 accounts helped WCAD identify 270 property owners that had erroneously claimed a homestead exemption on residential property for which they would normally not have qualified. As a result of employing a comprehensive HS audit program and utilizing LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ investigative tools, $520,390 in “new” revenue will be returned to the local tax entities within Webb County.
“Tax exemption can be a welcome relief to those who qualify, and WCAD is committed to offering those that meet the eligibility requirements and need the benefit,” said WCAD’s Chief Appraiser, Martin Villarreal. “However, there are instances when the exemptions are invalid, and as a result, tax revenues are lost. The LexisNexis Homestead Exemption Fraud Detection Solution is a critical component of our strategy to recapture lost revenue and ensure those who qualify received the benefit. Local honest taxpayers no longer have to subsidize the loss of value created by fraudulent HS.”
The audit program examined WCAD’s homestead exemption filings by combining and comparing them with the company’s public records data, identity analytics and advanced linking technology to help WCAD employees investigate and detect erroneous HS filings. After identifying approximately 7,533 potential questionable HS properties, each property was then audited for the validity of the exemption utilizing LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ investigative tools.
“The HS exemption removal ranged from 2011 through 2016 as established in the Texas Property Tax Code HS guidelines. Consequently, an estimated $298,000 in new revenue was generated from prior year removals and $221,600 for the current 2017 tax year. In addition, these new revenues don’t include the recurring recapture amount for every year going forward as a result of identifying the duplicitous records,” stated Mr. Villarreal.
“Local governments lose millions of dollars each year from erroneous claims for homestead exemption tax relief because they don’t have access to the public records they need or the resources to see across jurisdictions and analyze data in order to detect fraud and erroneous filings,” said Matthew Donahue, Market Planner, Tax and Regulatory Markets, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “Webb CAD’s recovery of revenue shows that by integrating the right technology into your homestead exemption program you can find lost revenue and send the money where it really needs to go.”
For more information, please visit https://risk.lexisnexis.com/products/homestead-exemption-fraud-detection
About LexisNexis Risk Solutions
LexisNexis Risk Solutions harnesses the power of data and advanced analytics to provide insights that help businesses and governmental entities reduce risk and improve decisions to benefit people around the globe. We provide data and technology solutions for a wide range of industries including insurance, financial services, healthcare and government. Headquartered in metro Atlanta, Georgia, we have offices throughout the world and are part of RELX Group (LSE: REL/NYSE: RELX), a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. RELX is a FTSE 100 company and is based in London. For more information, please visit www.risk.lexisnexis.com and www.relx.com.
Mary Alice Johnson
Director, Media & Analyst Relations