Thursday, October 5, 2023

Pappas’ office helps Chicago couple get $2,447 property tax refund



Your Property Taxes with Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas 

By Maria Pappas

Many Cook County homeowners are losing thousands of dollars in savings because they are not taking advantage of property tax breaks.

My office recently helped an older couple on Chicago’s North Side receive $2,447 in refunds. They didn’t know they were eligible to receive a tax break under the Senior Citizen Exemption. That is a surprisingly common occurrence.

Edmundo and Mirta Figueroa called in this summer to a weekly radio show I host. They have been married for many years and own a home in Avondale.

Edmundo is retired after working as an engineer for Chicago Public Schools. He met his future wife in the 1980s when they worked together at a city school.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas
Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas


They received a Homeowner’s Exemption on their property, but until recently were unaware they should also have been receiving a Senior Citizen Exemption. Homeowners are eligible for the Senior Citizen Exemption if they are 65 years or older and occupy their property as their primary residence.


Edmundo didn’t know he and his wife could apply for the benefit as soon as Mirta turned 65.

“She was a senior citizen for three years before I was, so we got those three years back,” Edmundo told me. “She’s 70, I’m 66.”

My office can help homeowners receive refunds for up to four years of missed exemptions for homeowners, senior citizens, people with disabilities and disabled veterans. However, if the county owes refunds because a property owner overpaid, taxpayers can seek refunds going back 20 years after the date they overpaid.

My office helped Edmundo and Mirta receive refunds for missed Senior Citizen Exemptions for a total of four years, 2018 through 2021. The amounts were $545 for 2021, $602 for 2020, $639 for 2019 and $659 for 2018 for a grand total of $2,447.

I asked Edmundo what he planned to do with the money.

“I’m going to save it and buy something good for me and her,” he said.

Edmundo told me he earned $2.71 an hour when he started working for Chicago Public Schools in the 1980s. He learned about the potential refund while watching TV in December when my office held a phone bank with ABC7 reporter Samantha Chatman.

Homeowners can visit our website at and click on the purple box that says, “Your Property Tax Overview” on the home page. Visitors can search using their address or Property Index Number (PIN). Results will display a picture of their home and show whether taxpayers have overpaid taxes or missed exemptions that could qualify them for refunds.

To learn how we’ve helped homeowners like Edmundo and Mirta receive refunds, tune in to “Black Houses Matter” on WVON-AM 1690 every Monday from 11:30 a.m. to noon.