Class Action for Alleged Duplicate Payments of Real Estate Taxes

In Alvarez v. Pappas, 229 Ill. 2d 217, 890 N.E.2d 434, 321 Ill. Dec. 712 (2008), the plaintiffs filed a class-action complaint alleging that they had made duplicate payments of their real estate taxes. The plaintiffs requested refunds of their duplicate payments more than five years after the payments were made. Alvarez, 229 Ill. 2d at 221. The trial court dismissed the complaint on the ground that section 20--175's five-year limitations period had expired. Our supreme court examined the legislative history of the 1975 amendment to the predecessor of section 20--175, which, among other things, changed the phrase "twice paid" to the word "overpaid." See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 120, par. 767; 35 ILCS 200/20--175 (West 2008). The court concluded that the legislature "intended to broaden the scope of the statute to include overpayments of property taxes without regard to whether those overpayments were pursuant to erroneous assessments." Alvarez, 229 Ill. 2d at 233.