AUGUSTA – There are 313 Maine taxpayers who are due refund checks from the Internal Revenue Service, and the IRS is looking for them.

According to Peggy Riley, IRS spokeswoman, the refund checks total $213,000. Each check had been mailed to taxpayers but was returned undeliverable.

The Sun Journal made a series of random phone calls to names that appear on the list of people believed to be living in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties, and located six taxpayers within an hour.

Dawnieal Byron of Auburn was surprised to learn her name was on the IRS list because she hasn’t moved in the past year and knows the government owes her about $190 in tax refund. She remembers getting a letter in the beginning of the summer from the IRS noting that the refund check had been returned to the agency, but that’s the last she heard. “I haven’t gone anywhere,” Byron said, adding she is happy to learn she could make a claim for the check.

“It would be nice to have for Christmas,” Byron said.

Madelyn Given of Poland was also surprised to learn she was on the list, although she figures that the IRS may not yet be aware of her change of address. Given and her husband, Edward, moved this year from their home of 37 years in Lewiston to Lower Range Pond in Poland. She wasn’t aware she was owed money, but said she was happy to collect it. “Money is money,” she said, and “it’s always good news” to hear you are eligible to claim a check, although she has no idea how much the refund is for.

According to the IRS, the refund checks – they average about $680 – can be claimed as soon as taxpayers update their addresses with the agency. And, according to Riley, some taxpayers on the list have more than one check waiting for them.

Riley said the IRS tries to make it as easy as possible for people to get their refunds. “Taxpayers should not miss out on getting their money back,” she said.

William Ellery has lived on Broadview Avenue in Auburn for 35 years and can’t imagine why the IRS wasn’t able to deliver his refund check, which he estimates to be about $35. He was aware he was owed the money, but didn’t worry too much about it. “It’s only $35,” he said. “I was wondering where it was.”

Veronica Hanson of Dixfield was happy to learn she was on the list. She wondered whether it was an error, that she and her husband may have paid too much and are owed a refund their accountant didn’t figure on. She also wondered whether the check wasn’t delivered because the town adjusted home addresses last year in compliance with E-911, so the family’s box number was changed to a number on Main Street.

According to Riley, the number of undeliverable refunds each year is a relatively small portion of the 105 million refund checks, totaling about $240 billion, mailed nationwide by the IRS.

Refund checks are frequently marked undeliverable when taxpayers move without updating their address with the Postal Service or the IRS.

To claim a refund check, go to IRS.gov and click on “Where’s My Refund?” or call 1-800-829-1954.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.