Data analysis finds new revenue for state governments


The Greenville County assessor’s office recently began leveraging public records and advanced linking technology to detect erroneous and potentially fraudulent filings in its legal residence programs. As a result, the county has discovered nearly $3 million in new revenue – and has already collected more than $1 million.

LexisNexis identified applications in Greenville County’s legal residence exemption program were potentially erroneous, using big data analysis to find questionable filings. The Homestead Exemption Fraud Detection program, combines the LexisNexis analytics technology and public records databases with TMA’s investigative capabilities to help counties detect erroneous filings in their legal residence exemption program.

Common improperly filed exemptions include those filed by owners for rental properties; individuals with multiple exemptions for multiple properties within South Carolina; individuals with multiple exemptions for multiple properties across multiple states; businesses filing for exemptions, or exemptions filed for people who are dead.

Upon further investigation of the findings, including verification of information, the county has billed 2,552 accounts with delinquencies from anywhere from one to four years and collected more than $1 million.  CivSource  previously reported on the use of big data analysis to help cut back on tax fraud submitted in basic tax filings. In Macomb County, Michigan, the state is using big data to cut down on improper real estate transactions. Taken together, the tools give state and local government new ways of eliminating fraud and abuse of the tax system.

“This program has helped us to find nearly $3 million in new revenue,” said Debbie Adkins, assessor, Greenville County. “It has definitely provided a return on the county’s investment.”