You\'ve Got Money
Hank Investigates: You've Got Money
Is your name on the DOR's Unclaimed Refund List? If you're a Massachusetts taxpayer it may well be, and if so one of the many checks--averaging hundreds of dollars--could be yours!
"Melissa, you've got money!"
We found some of the money belongs to a kindergarten teacher...
We found some of the money belongs to an amateur golfer.
"I think its great!"
And we even found one check for a Channel 7 editor.
"It's good its good!"
And keep your eye on the list--is your name on it? These are more than 15,000 people who are due some cash! They paid their taxes--and earned a refund--but never received the check. And it all adds up to a lot of money!
- Ann Murphy, Massachusetts Department of Revenue
"That represents about 6.4 million dollars."
"Six-point-four million dollars?!"
The Department of Revenue says we should not blame them--they mailed out those tax refunds right on time, but they came right back, returned from the post office. Why? To prevent fraud, the DOR doesn't allow tax refunds to be forwarded.
"We have to be very careful with taxpayers' confidential information."
So, if you moved or spend your winters out of town, got married, or there's an error in the address of your tax return, you may be missing some money--and not even know it!
We started picking names at random from the DOR's list of people owed refund checks. We searched the Internet for matching addresses and phone numbers...
- "Hello, is this Victor?"
Time after time, it was confirmed--the people we found were owed money!
- "Is your middle initial 'L'?"
In Stoughton, in Quincy, in Mansfield, in Boston…
"You found me!"
In Salisbury there was money for artist Paul Foti--whose street number was changed by the town.
"If it wasn't for you they wouldn't have found me."
Paul Foti can't believe the DOR couldn't find him if they really wanted to.
"If I owed money, they'd find me. They'd find me very, very fast!"
We found more than fifty dollars for Victor Frangolini, but he also wonders why we were the ones to tell him about it.
"I think if it weren't for you I never would have gotten the money the way the state operates on it."
That is possible! Even though undeliverable checks--worth thousands of dollars--come back in to the DOR every day, tracking down their owners is not job one.
"Why isn't the DOR doing more to look for these people?"
"It's their responsibility to tell us where they are and to change their address."
Basically, the DOR thinks taxpayers ought to realize their own check is missing.
Now, if all this money isn't in taxpayers' pockets--where is it?
It's sitting in the state's General Fund, earning the interest you're not!
"I don't think its fair!"
That's because you know what will happen if you're late paying your taxes! You pay more!
"I would have owed them interest!"
But if your refund check is "returned to sender"--the DOR says they don't owe you any more money--after all, they did try to pay you on time!
"They're in an account that earns interest--why don't the taxpayers get that interest?"
"The law says the only time we have to pay interest is if we take longer than 45 days to process the return."
So if you're on this list, you won't get interest. If you're still interested though, you might want to check to see if there's a check for you.
- Ann Murphy
"It's important to us to give that money back to the taxpayers. That's our mission we don't want to hold onto the money."
Since we were so successful in tracking down refund recipients--the DOR's decided to try a little harder. Officials told us they're working out a plan right now to set up a more aggressive search system.
But if you don't want to wait, check out the DOR Homepage right now!