In 2019, a law was enacted to provide property tax relief to Mainers through the Property Tax Relief Fund. Some qualified taxpayers have already received checks from the State Treasurer’s office. While this is good news for property owners, these checks could provide challenges to financial institutions across the state. To distribute checks, the Treasurer’s office is using records provided by Maine Revenue Services Municipal Assessors’ office. These records might not contain the most up-to-date information, creating the potential for inaccuracies. For example, checks could be addressed to an individual who may be deceased, or the name on the check could be listed wrong (‘Smith Jane’ rather than Jane Smith).
As a reminder, credit unions are never obligated to accept a check and should reject checks that appear fraudulent or do not meet internal compliance guidelines. Check rejection serves to protect credit unions and their members, as both could be liable for a fraudulent transaction for up to three years after the deposit. Credit union employees also are encouraged to perform due diligence in verifying the identity of any individual attempting to cash or deposit checks from the state.
If a member receives an inaccurate check from the state, credit unions can direct the member to the Treasurer’s office by phone at 207-624-7477 (option 3) or email at email@example.com. For additional information about the Property Tax Relief Fund, contact Ellen Parent, League Regulatory & Legislative Advocacy Coordinator, by phone at 207-773-5671 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.