Five men were charged yesterday with filing false 1984 income tax returns claiming they were owed refunds totaling $8,000.

The Internal Revenue Service promptly mailed their checks to their place of residence: Lorton Reformatory.

According to indictments returned by an Alexandria federal grand jury, John Howard, Robert S. Wylie, Carlous J. Holt, Clayton M. Morris and John F. Wilson filed returns stating that they were employes of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and were entitled to refunds of about $2,000 each.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kent S. Robinson said the men, all inmates at the D.C. prison, allegedly forged W-2 forms, which are available from IRS to any businessman.

Upon receiving his check, Wilson deposited it into his Inmate Funds Account at Lorton, his indictment alleges. Wylie tried to mail his refund to his account at a District bank, and Holt, after putting his check into his inmate account, asked for various amounts to pay for items in two mail-order catalogues, the indictment states.

The alleged scheme was uncovered in June by IRS' Memphis Service Center during the processing of the returns and was investigated by both the IRS and the FBI, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The maximum penalty for each offense is 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.