Cook County Treasurer's Office - 11/18/2004
There are two things property owners can monitor to help control taxes: Refunds and exemptions. Both can add up to money saved.
About 123,000 property owners across Cook County are owed $144 million in refunds they have not collected for duplicate payments and overpayments.
Duplicate payments occur when two or more payments are made on one bill (often by both the owner and the mortgage company). The property owner has paid when he or she shouldn't have paid and is due a refund.
Overpayments are payments greater than the amount due on the bill. The property owner has paid too much and is due a refund.
To check on whether a duplicate payment or overpayment refund is due from the past five years, a property owner can click on "Refunds" on our home page and enter the Property Index Number (PIN) of his or her home or other real estate.
NOTE: Check immediately -- refund money is gone after five years because the statute of limitations on recovering it expires.
Exemptions can lower taxes by hundreds of dollars. We estimate that more than 200,0000 properties could qualify for $45 million in exemption-based reductions. Three key exemptions are:
- Homeowner Exemption – for owners whose dwelling (up to six units) is their primary residence. This can save $500 a year.
- Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption – for qualified senior citizens who live in the home. This can save $250 a year.
- Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Exemption – for qualified senior citizens who live in the home. This exemption "freezes" the assessed valuation of the home at the time of approval of the exemption. The impact of triennial reassessments that increase a home's assessed valuation for taxation purposes is avoided. Many hundreds and even thousands of dollars can be saved over time.
Exemptions can be given for only the past three years. Therefore, it is important to determine that an owner has received all possible exemptions. To check, a property owner should click on "Exemption History" on our home page and enter the PIN to see exemptions received and missed for three years.
If the owner has missed one of the above exemptions for which he or she might have qualified, the owner should contact the Office of the Cook County Assessor, which approves exemptions. When that office approves an exemption, the Treasurer's Office will send a refund check to the homeowner.