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Lake County Treasurer refunding more than $4M in decades of property tax overpayments

Lake County Treasure refunding more $4 million in decades of property tax over payments
Posted at 6:00 PM, Nov 07, 2023

MADISON, Ohio — There could be money sitting in a bank account with your name on it. In Lake County, people have been receiving checks for thousands of dollars due to property tax overpayments.

Nancy Geiger is a retired widow who didn't expect to receive an email saying she was owed thousands of dollars.

“I read it, and I thought this can't be true.” Geiger continued. “Where is this money coming from?”

She quickly learned it was real when Michael Zuren, the Lake County Treasurer, delivered the check, in person.

“This is the taxpayer's money. This is not the government's money,” said Zuren.

The check comes from the county's "surplus account."

“When I took office in 2021, I found out about an overpayment account of over $5 million where taxpayers have paid their property taxes twice,” Zuren continued. “A lot of times when they purchase a house, the title company will pay the taxes, and the buyer or the seller will pay the taxes.”

Before 2021, in Lake County, the only way a property owner could see if they paid twice is if they asked the Treasurer’s officer themselves.

“The former policy was somebody would have to come in and fill out a form to request the money back,” said Zuren.

But for the past two and half years, Zuren and his staff researched and identified 16,673 property owners who overpaid dating back to 1985, totaling more than $4 million that has now been refunded to homeowners who overpaid.

“A lot of the checks that we mail out are actually to the surviving spouses or sometimes even the state,” said Zuren.

Which includes Geiger, whose late husband purchased the house in 1998.

“Her check is 25 years after the duplicate payment was made,” said Zuren.

If it weren't for the treasurer’s research, she would have never known about the extra money.

“I was pleased at the fact that they just went ahead and refunded the money and didn't go through all the hoops and red tape and stuff,” said Geiger.

If you would like to find out if you overpaid, call your treasurer’s office.

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