Pink paper glitch triggers accidental mailing of 1,000 bogus tax collection letters to Mainers

Posted Jan. 13, 2014, at 5:51 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 13, 2014, at 9:44 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — If you received a letter from Maine Revenue Services in the past week saying you owed back taxes or other money to the state, don’t panic.

An error in the finance department’s central printing service resulted in 1,000 tax collection letters sent that were never meant to be delivered.

Maine Revenue Services was conducting printing tests for new form letters last week as a result of a mandatory software upgrade, according to department spokesman David Heidrich. An initial batch of 3,500 were destroyed as they were supposed to be.

A second batch of 3,500 also was printed, but 1,000 were inadvertently shipped in the mail before the error was caught, Heidrich said.

The reason for the mistaken mailing? Pink paper.

“Generally, when test letters are printed, they’re printed on pink paper,” Heidrich said. “That tells the printing folks not to send them out. When [the second batch] was printed, they were printed on white paper.”

The letters were not sent to any particular region of the state, Heidrich said, so it’s possible that Mainers from Kittery or Fort Kent received false notices to pay money owed or see wages garnished.

The letters were dated Jan. 2, according to a report by WMTW-TV Channel 8. Heidrich said that anybody who received such a letter should call Maine Revenue Services at 626-8475.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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