LexisNexis® Risk Solutions announced today that Cook County, Ill., has used its Homestead Exemption Fraud Detection Solution to collect close to $5.1 million in new revenue. The LexisNexis fraud detection program utilizes technology and public record databases to identify erroneous and fraudulent property tax exemptions.
This money was able to be billed and collected as a result of a new law that was unanimously passed by both the Illinois House and Senate last year. Illinois’ Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios proposed the measure shortly after taking office when he noticed the large number of fraudulent property tax exemptions reported to his office by the public.
“This new law was greatly needed as Cook County never had any measure in place to deter taxpayers from claiming erroneous exemptions or any means to help recover the money that was unfairly received,” Assessor Berrios explained.
The role LexisNexis has played has been important as they have given the Assessor’s Office the means to identify both the taxpayers and properties receiving fraudulent exemptions.
Cook County is using a phased approach to detect the erroneous filings, first focusing its efforts on homestead exemptions allocated to senior citizens and ineligible parking spaces, and then a full review of property tax exemptions claimed in each of its 38 townships. Since the new law was passed last year, $5.1 million in revenue has been collected, $9.4 million billed, and $4.3 million is currently outstanding.
“Cook County is showing its taxpayers that it is a steward of taxpayer dollars, committed to discovering and correcting improperly requested tax benefits, as well as detecting and preventing fraud,” said Haywood Talcove, chief executive officer, Government, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “County governments are experiencing difficult economic times, and every instance of improperly granted tax exemptions – whether misfiled by the taxpayer intentionally or unintentionally – deprives the government of dollars needed to fund critical government services like police, fire safety and education.”
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LexisNexis Risk Solutions (www.lexisnexis.com/risk) is a leader in providing essential information that helps customers across all industries and government assess, predict and manage risk. Combining cutting-edge technology, unique data and advanced analytics, LexisNexis Risk Solutions provides products and services that address evolving client needs in the risk sector while upholding the highest standards of security and privacy. LexisNexis Risk Solutions is part of Reed Elsevier, a world leading provider of professional information solutions.
Mary Alice Johnson, 571-323-2585, ext. 2140
Cook County Assessor’s Office
Maura Kownacki, 312-603-3065