Property tax refunds, assessed values

Cook County homeowners and renters need to do two things soon to ensure they minimize their property tax obligations:

1. Review closely the property valuation sheet (on yellow paper) that you received with your property tax statement in the mail recently. This sheet lays out the assessed value of your property that will be used to calculate your property taxes payable in 2018.

If you believe an error has occurred and that your property has an assessed value that is too high, contact the Cook County Assessor’s Office immediately at 218-387-3650. If you act now, there is time to revisit that assessed value and adjust it if indeed a mistake has been made. Do not wait until fall to object to the assessed value. Then it is too late.

2. Check to see if you qualify for one or more of the three property tax refunds provided by the state of Minnesota. If you qualify, these refunds can save you considerable money. The refunds are structured to help ensure most Minnesota homestead property owners pay no more than about three percent of their income on property taxes. But the system only works if people use it, and each year, many Minnesotans fail to apply for money they are entitled to receive.

Homestead Credit: This is an income sensitive refund. If your total household income is less than $108,660, you may qualify for a refund of up to $2,660.

Renter’s Credit: This also is an income sensitive refund. If you are a renter with total household income of $58,880, you may qualify for a refund of up to $2,060. Although renters do not pay property taxes directly, this refund program recognizes that, for many renters, part of their rent goes to pay the tax.

Special Homestead Credit: This refund is NOT income sensitive, and many Cook County homeowners should qualify for it this year. If your taxes went up by at least 12 percent and $100, the state will refund 60 percent of the increase over $100 up to a maximum $1,000. Eligibility requires that you lived in your home on Jan. 2, 2016 and Jan. 2, 2017. The tax increase cannot be due to improvements you made to your home.

Forms for claiming the refunds should be filed by Aug. 15.

Information and forms for filing applications for the Homestead Credit and Renter’s Credit can be found at:

Information on filing for the Special Homestead Credit can be found at:

Filing for these refunds requires a little bit of work. But the Minnesota property tax system does not work properly if people do not file for them. They are what keep the property tax from taking an excessive chunk out of taxpayers' bank accounts, especially lower-income taxpayers.

Website by Katherine Hellner and Sandra Schutte of Two Dogs in the Web, LLC