Thursday, May 15, 2008

I see ...

Stimulus Checks

With Greatest Affection, Signed the IRS

by Vera H-C Chan

May 15, 2008 05:15:00 PM

Usually a missive with an Internal Revenue Service return address is about as welcome as a dusting of poison ivy.

Offer a little stimulus, however, and taxpayers can't wait. So, understandably, initial reports that 15,000 taxpayers would not be getting an IRS love letter sent the Buzz into a tizzy. Fortunately, that number turned out to be much smaller: Only 1,500 checks have been inadvertently wired to the wrong accounts. (Don't even think of keeping it!) Out of 30 million bits of ... um ... stimuli, that's an error rate of just .005%, give or take a decimal point. At least the IRS didn't toy with taxpayer affections like the agency did back in 2001.

Except there's another small snafu: The IRS also 'fessed up to forgetting to send out 300-dollar child refunds to as many as 350,000 households. Before you ask: The IRS will mail another letter copping to the error, and the checks will follow in July. The upside: The U.S. Post Office must be raking it in from its repeat customer.

By the way, if you did get a check but not your full share, SavvySugar points out that the IRS has kindly deducted back taxes or other debts in advance.

Despite all this, the government agency should feel swamped with affection. How have people loved the IRS in the past month? Let us count a few of the searches: "2008 tax rebate checks tax return" (+14,579%), "government rebate checks 2008" (+13,085%), "tax stimulus checks" (+5,798%), "federal tax rebate" (+652%), "600 dollar tax refund 2008" (+566%), "bush tax refund 2008" (+300%), and "2008 federal kicker checks rebate checks" (off the charts). The most frequent query? "When will I get my tax rebate check."

The lovefest may not stop. SavvySugar notes that a rebate repeat may be possible next year, in this IRS article found under the section "Not eligible at the current time?" Who says you can't buy love?

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