Gary H. Smith
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Attention Cook County Residents: You May Be Owed a Property Tax Refund

By Gary Smith
Attention Cook County Residents: You May Be Owed a Property Tax Refund

Thousands of Cook County residents are owed property tax refunds, and all property owners need to do is visit the Cook County Treasurer’s website to check their property’s listing.

How to Claim a Tax Refund for Overpayment

There is an estimated $79 million in unclaimed refunds from as many as 98,000 property owners.

Property owners overpay their property taxes for a variety of reasons. For example, in instances of divorce, sometimes both parties pay the property tax bill while settlements are being worked out. Or, sometimes property owners forget they have an escrow account set up with the bank holding their mortgage, which is paying the tax bill, and they, too, pay the tax bill.

The Cook County Treasurer’s Office has updated its website to make it more user friendly, especially on the property tax page. Rather than needing your Property Index Number, or PIN, all that’s needed to search is the property address.

Once you find the property, there are a number of options on the left-hand navigation bar, including Overpayment Refunds. Click on that option, and it will say whether there is an overpayment refund on the property. If there is, visit the Refunds section of the Cook County Treasurer’s website and complete the refund application.

With that refund application, there will need to be at least one of the following proofs of payment:

  • Copy of canceled check(s)
  • Copy of register receipt from cashier
  • Copy of paid tax sale redemption bill
  • Copy of real estate closing statement with copy of title company check
  • Copy of bank statement showing account holders name and subject tax payment
  • If a mortgage company paid, a copy of IRS Form 1098 indicating taxes paid for tax year in question or a letter from the mortgage company, addressed to property owner, including PIN, amount paid, date paid, tax year and installment

There is no deadline for when a property owner can complete the paperwork for overpayment of property taxes.

Always Verify Your Property Information

Property owners can also ensure they’re not paying more than they should be in taxes by taking a moment to ensure that the Cook County Assessor’s Office has the correct information about the property, including address, square footage, age, number of bedrooms and baths and condition of the property.

In addition, make sure the property is taking advantage of the property tax exemptions for which it qualifies.