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Are You One of 8,500 Cook County Homeowners Due a Property Tax Refund?

By Gary Smith
Are You One of 8,500 Cook County Homeowners Due a Property Tax Refund?

According to the Cook County Treasurer’s Office, more than 8,500 homeowners overpaid on the first installment of their property taxes and are set to receive $12.8 million in refunds. And they do not need to file an application to receive that money.

Why There Are Refunds

The majority of homeowners are receiving refunds because property tax exemptions are applied to the second installment tax bill and reduce the overall amount of property taxes due.

According to Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, the breakdown of refunds include:

  • 4,552 homeowners who paid by check or online earlier this year. They will receive credits to their bank or credit card accounts totaling about $8.1 million
  • 3,998 homeowners who paid through a bank/mortgage escrow account will be mailed a refund check. That will total about $4.7 million
  • 306 homeowners who paid in cash will be mailed a refund application to ensure the proper party receives the refund. That amount will total $400,000.

Although the second installment property tax bills were due in early August, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, property owners were given a grace period until Oct. 1.

Occasionally, if the Treasurer’s Office can’t determine who made the overpayment, even using bank, credit card, and property records, there is an electronic refund application, and property owners will need to fill out the form and submit one of the following proofs of payment:

  • Copy of canceled check(s)
  • Copy of register receipt from the cashier
  • Copy of paid tax sale redemption bill
  • Copy of real estate closing statement with a copy of the title company check
  • Copy of bank statement showing account holders name and subject tax payment
  • Copy of credit card statement showing account holders name and subject tax payment

If a mortgage company paid, a copy of IRS Form 1098 that indicates the tax year in question or a letter from a mortgage company, addressed to the property owner, including the Property Index Number (PIN), amount paid, date paid, tax year and the installment should be included.

If another party paid, such as a builder or previous owner, the property owner might be asked for a letter of direction to receive the refund. A letter of direction is written by the other payer and authorizes the Treasurer’s Office to issue a refund to the person applying for it.

Property owners can find the refund application on the Cook County Treasurer’s website.