DEAR SUN SPOTS: I was impressed enough with the Sept. 15 Sun Spots regarding a teacher who hadn’t gotten her unemployment funds that I was compelled to write about my issue.

Our tax returns were sent electronically by our preparer on February 22. It is now Sept. 15 and thus far our check still hasn’t arrived. On April 29, I emailed Senator King about the problem and a week later he responded by referring me to his Maine offices, none of which are near me. I didn’t choose to contact them because I didn’t think they could help me with a federal matter.

I’ve been to the IRS web site repeatedly and all it tells me is it’s “still being processed.” They also make it clear on the site not to call them. We could definitely use that money. I know this is a busy, confusing time because of all the upheaval from COVID, but the IRS managed to send stimulus checks so why can’t they send us the money they actually owe us?

I’m tempted to call them anyway, but I’ve been hesitating because of the web site instructions. Do you have any suggestions? — Diana, Poland

ANSWER: Let’s see if we can put an end to your stress. It’s beyond time for you to be assertive and advocate for yourself. This money is yours, and if it makes you feel any better, you aren’t the only one still waiting. In the Sept. 7 Sun Spots, I answered a similar letter.

I advise that you call the IRS office in Portland: 1-800-829-1040. They are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are other IRS phone numbers to get you to the assistance you need. You can call the Taxpayer Advocate Service at 1-877-777-4778 or the local Taxpayer Advocate Service, located in Augusta at 480-6094. If you can’t get through or don’t receive immediate assistance, I recommend that you call the numbers provided to you by Senator King’s offices.

You can reach out to your state representatives, Ellie Espling or Jessica Faye (1-800-423-2900). You can also email them and even call their cell phone numbers, found at https://www.polandtownoffice.org/town-clerk/pages/your-state-representatives . Please let us know what happens.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I want to send out a reminder that the “grandparents” scam is alive and well. My elderly mother, who lives in Lewiston, just got scammed out of $3,000. I’d like to remind your readers the signs to watch out for: They claim to be a grandchild in trouble (i.e., in jail) and they need bail money. They ask that you send cash only or cash gift cards. They say, “Do not tell anyone.” My mother had been saving up for a very long time to have the roof on her house re-done. Now she has to skimp and scrape even more from her social security check to start saving again. — No name, no town

ANSWER: I’m so sorry to hear this and yes, this scam is devastating. Please do not engage a conversation with a caller asking for money or that you purchase gift cards, even if they say they’re a family member and you think you recognize their voice. Hang up.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].


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