Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "tax rolls" ...

  • Depreciating Values

    Our seven month investigation revealed how a long time property assessor manipulated property values for a handful of wealthy citizens and political supporters, so they would pay less in property taxes. We also showed how some large apartment complexes disappeared from the county tax rolls. Now the state is seeking to collect back taxes from nearly 200 property owners going back three years and the FBI and IRS are investigating.
  • A Taxing Matter

    The Skagit Co. Assessor's Office did not finish adding new construction to its tax rolls, meaning dozens of local districts did not receive at least $350,000 in tax revenue needed to help fund programs and services.
  • Poor Priorities?

    The Center Township trustee's office's primary goal is to help the poor and the needy, when it controls millions of dollars of real estate which is not on the tax rolls.
  • Unbalanced Taxes

    This five-article analysis of tax bills and assessments across New Jersey found a loosely regulated, unevenly enforced system allowing municipalities to calculate property tax bills using property assessments that in some cases are decades old. This article explores the implications of the problem and offers possible ways to reform the system. The series also exposes an inequality in the cost of property taxes in white and black neighborhoods. The cause of this imbalance are outdated tax rolls which may be in violation of federal civil rights laws. This tax discrimination can overcharge some homeowners anywhere from $400 to $1,400 per year. The series includes several graphics to illustrate the assessment and tax disparities in many New Jersey towns.
  • In no time, valuations are reduced: Douglas County Board members, alone or in pairs, cut almost $60 million from tax rolls this summer in unreviewed decisions

    "A World-Herald analysis shows that the seven Douglas County board members, working alone or in pairs, cut almost $60 million from county tax rolls in cases that the full board rubber-stamped -- but never reviewed. Individual board members made decisions on the spot, often with little evidence or little time to examine property owners' claims. Most property owners obtained at least some reduction. In one noteworthy example, a lone commissioner cut nearly $11 million from the valuations of a campaign contributor who owns numerous apartments and office buildings -- reductions that were opposed by the county assessor's office and not supported by the board's own professional advisor. Some of his decisions took as little as one minute, and the whole process lasted less than an hour."
  • "Tax Inequity"; Unfair assessments, outdated rolls plague property tax collections

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Assessor's Office was found to be incorrectly appraising residential property taxes for new and current homeowners. Whenever property was sold, the new owners paid taxes on current values, and the former homeowners paid taxes on the outdated value of the home. According to the Louisiana Constitution, the assessor's office is required to update the values every four years. The article showed that more than half of the parish's properties had not been assessed in accordance with the constitution, and as a result, many were "being taxed on values that were well below market rates."
  • Death and Taxes

    An investigation into the city's property tax collection found that Detroit has one of the lowest collection rates of big cities nationwide, and fails to collect $60 million every year due to inaccurate and outdated tax rolls. The story also reported that Detroit is the only city in Michigan that collects its own property taxes, which was changed shortly after the story ran.
  • Farmland Tax Breaks

    The News Journal reveals that a property tax abatement program meant to aid small family farmers has become a tax dodge for real estate developers, wealthy families and big companies; a poorly written law and lax enforcement allows estate owners to reserve large tracts of private land off the tax rolls and helps developers and corporations avoid paying thousands of dollars a year in taxes.
  • Billboard Taxes; Defects in the Defense

    WTSP-TV (St. Petersberg, Fla.) finds billboard companies are not taxed properly or do not appear on tax rolls at all; state loses millions of dollars in revenues; companies that do report billboards undervalue their worth significantly; billboard industry was one of top 20 PAC spenders in Florida, February - September 1990.
  • (Untitled)

    Commercial Appeal reports on computerized reappraisal of real estate that shifted millions of dollars in property taxes from commercial and industrial property owners onto homeowners; tax rolls rife with errors and inconsistencies, Nov. 1-3, 1987.