Black and minority homeowners in Chicago and outlying suburbs are getting a piece of millions in property tax refunds as part of Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ “Black and Latino Houses Matter” campaign.
In Chicago’s Black wards, checks totaling $20.9 million are being sent to homeowners who learned they were eligible for a property tax refund after they called a special phone bank with ABC 7 earlier this month.
In 27 of the city’s outlying suburbs with large Black and minority populations, residents are receiving checks totaling $44.5M.
The refunds provide relief to residents, many of whom were unaware that they were eligible for property tax refunds that were available for years.
That’s when Pappas and her office set up a special phone bank with ABC7 Chicago to answer questions and generate awareness of property tax refunds that were available to eligible residents. The phone bank was initially planned as a one-day event, but the call volume was so high, the event went on for seven days until March 17.
Phone representatives fluent in Spanish, Polish, Chinese and English helped homeowners find refunds, apply for property tax exemptions and avoid the Tax Sale of delinquent taxes.
“All houses matter, but I launched the ‘Black and Latino Houses Matter’ initiative because the Tax Sale disproportionately impacts certain areas,” Pappas told ABC7 Chicago.
Pappas said Cook County owed residents more than $100 million in property tax refunds and senior exemptions.
Among the outlying suburbs, Calumet City had the highest amount of property tax refunds with over $3.3 million. South Holland had the second highest amount of property tax refunds with nearly $2.3 million. Park Forest had the third highest amount in total refunds at $1.9M.
Flossmoor was next with $1.7 million. Bellwood had the fifth highest refunds with $1.6 million in property tax refunds.
Rounding out the top 10 was Matteson with $1.4 million, Dolton with nearly $1.3 million, Maywood with $1.1 million, Harvey with over $1 million, and Riverdale with $831,242.
Pappas told ABC7 that many Chi- cago residents who received refunds actually were owed money by the county.
“I started this initiative because when Black Lives Matter started, everyone said come out and march,” Pappas said. “And I said I’m not marching. I have the figures on how to save homes. This city, this state and this county need some happy news and Samantha Chatman’s (ABC7 Chicago Reporter) giving it to them, so we are happy!
Although the phone bank is no longer operating, Cook County homeowners can visit (CookCountyTreasurer.com) to obtain the same information available by phone and apply online for property tax refunds and missing exemptions.
Select the purple box labeled “Your Property Tax Overview”;
Enter your address and you will see a photo of your property;
Select “View Your Property Tax Information”;
Scroll down to see if you are eligible for: $76 million in available overpayments, or $46 million in missing tax exemptions;
Check if your property is on the Tax Sale list of delinquent taxes.
A team from the Treasurer’s Office, fluent in Spanish, Polish, Chinese and English, will search $76 million in available property tax refunds and check to see whether residents are eligible for $46 million in missing tax exemptions. The office will also verify if your property is on the Tax Sale list with delinquent taxes.