More than $750,000 refunded to Arab property owners in County Treasurer Maria Pappas and Arab Chamber program
Hundreds of Arab and Muslims property owners participated in a Tax Refund Workshop organized by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas and the American Arab Chamber of Commerce Friday Nov. 5, 2021 at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Illinois. More than $750,000 in refunds have been identified that will be paid to Arab and Muslim Americans who participated in the Chamber and Treasurer sponsored workshops
By Ray Hanania
Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas and the American Arab Chamber of Commerce hosted a property tax refund workshop at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview on Friday November 5, 2021 that returned nearly $300,000 in overpayments and unclaimed credits, a new record, to more than 250 families that participated.
Pappas began a program to help all property owners to ensure that they have to overpaid their property taxes and can easily reclaim those overpayments in the event that an overpayments was made.
Pappas and her office partnered with organizations throughout Cook County including with the Arab Chamber to help property owners identify overpayments and credits due that Pappas said totals more than a $100 million.
Working with the American Arab Chamber of Commerce and President Hassan Nijem, Pappas organized workshops for Arab American property owners to identify refunds that they deserve. Since the program was launched, the Chamber has helped recover more than $750,000 for Arab American and Muslim property owners.
“We are very honored to participate at the Mosque Foundation with the support of Imam Sheikh Jamal Said and Foundation President Oussama Jammal,” said Nijem after the successful refund workshop concluded.
“The refunds that we have processed since we began our partnership with Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas has helped us recover more than $750,000 in refunds that are paid directly to Arab American and Muslim property owners. All it takes is a public official like Maria Pappas who cares for our communities, leaders in our community like Imam Sheikh Jamal Said and Mosque Foundation President Oussama Jammal, and our very active and engaged Chamber board of directors.”
Pappas praised the Arab Chamber for their dedication to the Arab and Muslim community and said that oftentimes many ethnic and racial minority communities don’t engage the system to take advantages of the services that they deserve as taxpayers.
“I am thrilled to see so many Arab Americans and Muslims come out to these workshops that are organized by my office and by the Arab Chamber and Hassan Nijem, and the warm reception we continue to receive in the Arab community from leaders like Imam Jamal Said and Foundation President Oussama Jamal,” Pappas said.
“There is more than $100 million in overpayments and credits that have not be taken by all of the taxpayers in Cook County and I am determined to ensure that all of the county’s property tax payers are represented fairly and only pay what they owe.”
The campaign by Pappas and the Arab Chamber has taken the workshops to a half dozen Arab and Muslim organizations including last week at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cicero where nearly $90,000 was identified as being refundable to parishioners there.
“There is no other organization out there doing this to help Arabs and Muslims cover what is now more than $750,000 in property tax overpayments,” said Hassan, an attendee at the tax workshop. “We applaud Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, the American Arab Chamber President Hassan NIjem for their time and hard work to make this happen.”
Pappas presented Certificates of Excellence to Imam Sheikh Jamal Said and Mosque Foundation President Oussama Jammal.
Pappas explained that overpayments often happen because taxpayers have their property taxes paid by banks through their mortgage but those systems often overpay what is required. She said that in other cases, property tax owners have not taken advantage of the credits that are given to homeowners, senior citizens, veterans and families of moderate or low income.
The number of potential tax exemptions or reductions are extensive but many property owners don’t take advantage of them, officials said. The exemptions include Senior Exemptions, Homeowner Exemption, Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption, Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Exemption, Persons with Disability Exemption, Home Improvement Exemption, Property Tax Relief for Military Personnel, Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption and First Responder’s Surviving Spouse Tax Abatement.
For more information on Maria Pappas’s tax refund program, visit www.cookcountytreasurer.com.
For information on the American Arab Chamber of Commerce, the only Arab Chamber in Chicagoland that actually works to help Arab businesses and has a track record of achievements to prove it, visit www.AACCUSA.org.
Click here to read more reports on the American Arab Chamber of Commerce campaign with Treasurer Maria Pappas to secure overpaid property taxes for Arab Americans.
Click here to read more on the refund campaign in the American Arab community.
Click here to read about how the American Arab Chamber fights for the rights of Arab businesses.
Nijem credited the support of the Chamber board that includes: Aminah Adnan, Alder Tareq Al Biter, Hana Abudayyeh, Radi Abuhashish, Abed Ayash, Mazen Dola, Ibrahim Fattah, Mahar Khattab, Samer Khatib, Saad Malley, Lena Matariyeh, Amna Mustafa, Amir Nijem. Mustapha is the former and first ever member of the Chicago Board of Education.