Homeowners who overpaid their first installment property taxes and who made duplicate second installment tax payments should expect refunds, if they haven't already come, said Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.
In a statement released Sept. 8, Pappas said that at least 8,500 homeowners who overpaid their first installment taxes should receive $12.8 million in refunds without filing an application. More than 60 percent of those refunds will be deposited directly into taxpayers' accounts, she said.
"Since we launched the automatic refund program in July 2018, 110,000 property owners have received about $56.4 million in refunds without an application," the treasurer said.
She said the refunds were issued by Oct. 2 and that "most of the refunds go to homeowners receiving property tax exemptions," such as the Homeowner's, Senior Citizen, Senior Assessment Freeze and Disabled Persons exemptions. Those expeditions are then applied to the Second Installment tax bill and reduce the total taxes due, Pappas said.
On Sept. 9, Pappas announced that the treasurer's office was handing back "a record $51.2 million in duplicate property tax payments for the Second Installment" that was due Aug. 3.
The taxes were due, she said, "as homeowners rushed to refinance their mortgages to take advantage of historically low interest rates."
The treasurer's Stop Taxpayer Over-Payment System (STOPS), which was implemented in 2009, automatically returns a duplicate tax payment. Pappas said that more than 13,324 duplicate payments were prevented for the second installment, a record since the system was implemented more than a decade ago.
"For the entire year, STOPS has prevented 17,771 tax overpayments totaling $87.2 million," she said. "Both figures are the highest totals since the program began."
Pappas said that taxpayers can see if they overpaid their property taxes within the last 20 years, apply for a refund and see if they are owed a refund at cookcountytreasurer.com.
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