Cook County Treasurer Helping People Claim Cash

There are two ways you can get money back from your property tax; refunds and exemptions.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas says there are 79 million dollars available in refunds, and 44 million in exemptions.

She’s making an effort to get that money back in your pockets, especially in communities that don’t speak fluent English.

“I grew up white ethnic,” says Pappas. “I understand what it’s like to be bilingual and not understand English, but this is a very confusing process.”

Pappas says the Latino community is especially at risk of either losing their property or finding themselves owing a lot of money.

“Almost 3,000 Hispanic owned properties were on the tax sale lists,” she says. “We’re looking to see if we owe them money.”

Tax sale lists basically means a property is delinquent or that money is owed.

“Every time somebody loses a piece of property,” Pappas says, “... it's a black mark on this office because we always wonder if we could have done something to help.”

But you don’t have to wait for the treasurer’s office to find you. Simply head over to their updated website.

The site has consolidated 20 years of information, allowing you to enter your address and check to see if you’re owed a refund.

While we spoke, she found quite a few refunds with a quick click.

“Look here, in 1999 there was an overpayment of $55. And in August someone overpaid $5,000. It’s probably a mortgage company and homeowner, and they have no idea.”

When it comes to exemptions, first-time homeowners are also eligible to get money back.

Pappas says some don’t even know that’s an option, all they have to do is apply.

“There are millennials that haven’t gotten the money they’re entitled to,” Pappas says.

She told us her office understands this can be confusing for many people, that’s why she teamed up with community organizations. Their efforts include sending people out into neighborhoods who need it most, holding seminars and workshops.

“So we're looking for these people,” says Passas. “Their tax bill might be $1,000 and I might owe them $4,000. So we're trying to find them.”

Cook County Treasurer’s Office has all this information up on their website in several different languages.

11/07/19 8:42AM