In Kandiyohi County alone, 38 people owed money due to issues like address changes
he Internal Revenue Service is looking for 38 Kandiyohi County residents, including Jeffery M. Stegeman of Pennock, Timothy L. Palm of Willmar, Sergio Molina of Willmar and Travis Johnson of Spicer.
The IRS wants to talk to these folks about money. It has some for them.
In its efforts to connect citizens with tax refunds or economic stimulus payments, the IRS has made public a long list of names of people who have money coming to them. Because of problems like a change of address, however, the IRS can't deliver the money.
In Kandiyohi County, for example, tax refund checks belonging to 12 people were unable to be delivered in 2008. Those refunds totaled $14,784, according to Carrie Resch, IRS media spokeswoman for Minnesota.
On top of that, stimulus payments totaling $12,988 belonging to 26 Kandiyohi County tax filers were not delivered.
In all, the IRS has been unable to deliver more than 2,700 stimulus checks to Minnesotans totaling about $1.5 million. Nearly 1,300 Minnesotans are also missing out on $1 million in regular federal tax refund checks that were returned to the IRS by the post office, Resch said.
The average stimulus payment is $560.
In this region, there are 210 names on the list of people who have stimulus checks or regular tax refunds that are undeliverable.
There are four names on the list from Chippewa County, one from Lac qui Parle County, 14 from Meeker County, one from Pope County, nine from Renville County, 10 from Redwood County, two from Swift County and four from Yellow Medicine County.
Stearns County has a total of 117 people missing out on a total of $88,000.
Using a combination of phone books, Internet searches, leaving phone messages that were not returned and talking to people with names spelled the same as those on the list, the West Central Tribune attempted to find about 25 people to let them know the IRS had some money for them.
All but one search was a dead end.
Sherman Masters, a 73-year-old from Willmar, said he had been wondering if he was going to get an economic stimulus payment and was surprised his name was on the IRS list.
Masters said he thought he had filed the proper documents, with his correct address, but so far he hasn't received a check. With only limited disability income to live on, Masters said he could use the extra money.
After learning the IRS did indeed have money waiting for him, Masters said he would pursue it again in hopes of getting his check.
Masters, and others on the list, will have to hurry.
For the economic stimulus payments, Resch said people have only until Nov. 28 to update their address with the IRS. "The clock is ticking," said Resch, as these payments, by law, must be sent by Dec. 31.
Addresses can be updated by calling 1-866-234-2942, or going online to www.IRS.gov and clicking on the "where's my stimulus payment" tool.
For those missing regular refund checks, address changes can also be made on the IRS Web site by clicking on the "where's my refund" tool, or by calling 1-800-829-1954. There is no deadline for refunds. The refund is sent as soon as the address is updated.
Resch said if people recognize the name of a friend or family member on the IRS list, they should get in touch with them and tell them to contact the IRS so that their money can be delivered.
It's "people who know people who know people" that will help the IRS finish its task of delivering refund and stimulus checks.
Other than trying to deliver checks to the last available address, Resch said the IRS doesn't make contact with people on the list. "We need to have people initiate contact with us," she said.
She warns that if anyone gets a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS who is requesting personal information to get the refund money, it is most likely a scam.
Resch encourages people to choose direct deposits to avoid future problems with checks being lost, stolen or undeliverable.