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Rebate check notices cost: $42 million

Remember a couple of days ago (in this blog item) I mentioned that the IRS will be sending out letters to 130 million households who filed 2006 returns to let us know about the coming stimulus package rebate checks?

Now we're finding out what that information will cost us: nearly $42 million.

At 32 cents to print, process and mail each letter, the exact cost is $41.8 million, IRS spokesman John Lipold told the Associated Press.

And that's just for the first round of mailings, scheduled to start next week. Another batch is planned for end of the month for folks who didn't file tax returns last year but might be eligible for a rebate.

As expected, the notification process and price has become political.

"There are countless better uses for $42 million than a self-congratulatory mailer that gives the president a pat on the back for an idea that wasn't even his," Sen. Charles Schumer (Dem.-N.Y.) said Friday. Schumer suggested that the millions could be better spent targeting tax cheats.

The director of the president's National Economic Council, Keith Hennessey, contends the mailings are needed to prevent confusion.

"You want to get the information out so that you have as few people as possible confused about what's happening, they understand what's coming, and it reduces the number of incoming requests that IRS and Treasury have to figure out how to deal with it," said Hennessey.

No estimate yet on what the cost will be to deliver the rebate checks themselves.


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SSI's think they will ALL get Rebate!

Less Confustion? Uh, not in my very, very small Mountain community in way up Northern California. There are approximately 265 people in my tiny old Gold Rush town in far Northern Cali. There are probably 1/2 dozen people that actually WORK living up here. Almost every living breathing human being up here exists EXCLUSIVELY on nothing but, SSI, Supplemental Security Income. THEY ALL GOT THE 1st NOTICE FROM THE IRS, and they are all going to file a 'FREE' tax return to get a Stimulus Rebate Check. They are all screaming and yelling, "If I got a notice, I will get a check then!". So, they are all jumping to get the free tax for Stimulus 1040A filed on a Title XIV income. That is not a savings of my tax dollars, it is more tax dollar waste. No wonder things are in a distasterous mess! I would not doubt if they ALL GET A STIMULUS back either!

Cristin, San Francisco CA

Are you kidding me?
No, really.
In this day and age of electronic information i cannot understand how the government does not utilize the cost saving methods of that e-lek-tronik online business.
You know, that e-mail stuff?
I know, I know, it's still in it's experimental stages. . . but for one generic identical letter that everyone is recieving? (We recieved 3 at my household)
Couldn't they have just posted an ad in the paper? Bilboards? We all already knew it was coming!

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