More than $200,000 in overpaid taxes refunded to Arab Americans under Treasurer’s program
More than $200,000 in overpaid property tax refunds have been credited to Arab and Muslims Americans in a program initiated by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas and the American Arab Chamber of Commerce President Hassan Nijem. The campaign launched two weeks ago, is helping millions of taxpayers in Cook County recover more than $79 million in tax overpayments. Pappas and Nijem are working to help Arab and Muslim Americans to claim their refunds, hosting refund events at locations throughout the county including recently at the Orland Park Prayer Center.
By Ray Hanania
Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas and the American Arab Chamber of Commerce of Chicagoland have processed more than $200,000 in refunds in overpaid taxes to members of the Arab American and Muslim community, officials said Tuesday.
Pappas, joining with Chamber President Hassan Nijem, are raising awareness among Arabs and Muslims of tax overpayments that can easily be reclaimed.
Many taxpayers have received application approvals for refunds of more than $2,000 on their properties and businesses. During a recent visit to the Orland Park Prayer Center, 16530 104th Ave, with Imam Kifah Mustapha, Pappas and Nijem were able to identify more than $135,000 in qualified refunds to homeowners and members of the Southwest suburban mosque.
“All it takes is someone to roll up their sleeves and do the work,” said Nijem, who not only serves as President of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce in Chicagoland but is also a volunteer “Honorary Cook County Treasurer” who works with Pappas to identify communities who need assistance in engaging government services.
“So far with the help of Maria Pappas and her staff, we have identified and are processing more than $200,000 in taxes that were overpaid by members of our community and can be refunded to them. The Chamber has been working with Ms. Pappas office and arranging community meetings like the one we held Friday at the Orland Park Prayer Center.”
The Chamber has been active during the past two years defending the rights of Arab American and Muslim American owned businesses including last year saving from closure 22 Hookah lounges in Chicago, and working to force Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot from discriminating and targeting Arab and Asian owned businesses for closure. So far, the two campaigns have helped save more than 600 jobs in Chicago and the suburbs.
“It’s not hard to do what is right, especially when you work with people who care about our community and with government officials like Maria Pappas who is so open, so fair and so determined to ensure that every citizen in Cook County receives their full benefits and rights,” Nijem said.
Nijem said that the total refunds will continue to increase as the program information spreads. Individuals can get more information on Treasurer Pappas at www.CookCountyTreasurer.com.
For more information visit the Chamber’s website at www.AACCUSA.org.
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