Pappas helps phone bank caller receive whopping $11,870 property tax refund
By Maria Pappas
“Your Property Taxes” column with Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas
Helping taxpayers obtain refunds for property tax overpayments is one of the most rewarding parts of my job as Cook County Treasurer.
My office recently helped a south suburban resident receive one of the largest refunds we’ve ever returned to a homeowner: $11,870.
Shemika Clemons, 32, pays high taxes on her Dolton home. With an assessed market value of $133,880 and a 22.9% tax rate, her 2021 property taxes were a staggering $9,220.
Last December Clemons was watching ABC7’s coverage of my office’s phone bank to help callers find out if the county owes them money. Clemons learned she was entitled to homeowner and persons with disabilities exemptions for the past four tax years.
“I didn’t know I qualified,” Clemons told me during a recent episode of my weekly “Black Houses Matter” radio show, which airs 11:30 a.m. to noon Mondays on WVON-AM 1690.
We helped Clemons obtain missed-exemption refunds of $2,848 for the 2021 tax year, $2,646 for 2020, $3,526 for 2019 and $2,848 for 2018. That’s a grand total of $11,870.
Clemons is entitled to a persons with disabilities exemption because she has neuropathy, a condition that affects the nervous system. She uses a cane to walk and thanks to physical therapy no longer has to use a walker or wheelchair. She is a single mother who receives Social Security and cares for her 2-year-old son.
“The money I get from disability is the equivalent of what I pay in property taxes,” Clemons told ABC7, who featured her in a recent report.
My office and ABC7 recently held our eighth Our Homes Matter phone bank. Clemons learned from my staff she might be eligible for refunds when she called during ABC7’s coverage of the seventh phone bank last December.
On Sept. 14 this year, our phone bank helped hundreds of taxpayers identify an additional $2.6 million in potential refunds, bringing the total figure of all eight phone banks to more than $31.5 million.
Although phone banks provide a great way to learn about potential refunds for overpayments or missed exemptions, there’s no need to wait for the next one. At any time homeowners can visit cookcountytreasurer.com and click on the purple box that says, “Your Property Tax Overview.”
When you enter your address or Property Index Number (PIN), a picture of your property should appear. Follow the instructions on the page to find out whether you are owed money.
Clemons told me she used half of her refund to pay bills. She also bought an outdoor hibachi grill and held a backyard birthday party for her toddler son. She is saving the rest.
“Half of it is going toward paying the next tax bill,” she said.
As soon as my office receives figures from other agencies, we will mail second installment bills for the 2022 tax year on or about Nov. 1. This year’s due date will be Dec. 1.
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