For years, megacorporations such as Valero, ExxonMobil, and Hines Interest have successfully gamed the Harris County Appraisal District and decreased its certified value by millions, resulting in a total reduction of more than $2.4 billion in tax base on which tax liability is calculated. The Houston Independent School District and the City of Houston have paid the price, losing out on $15.4 million and $9.4 million in tax revenues respectively. Meanwhile, HCAD, which is in charge of valuing more than 1.4 million parcels in the greater Houston area, routinely fights property owners whose parcels are worth a modest $80,000 to $150,000 for every assessment penny. A majority of these property owners have no idea that it's happening and don't have the means to challenge HCAD.
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