Economic Stimulus Checks

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Are you sick of calls regarding these yet? I know I am.

These cheques are a sore spot with me, in that I find the economic stimulus checks to be one of the worst ideas anyone has ever invented. This is the third time a mid-year tax cheque has been offered in fifteen years. The last two were by Presidents eager for re-election. I'm afraid it was Bush Senior who started the whole ball rolling.

The government stupidly (as far as most economists are concerned) arranged for the cheque to be received mid-year, costing the government millions of dollars in additional IRS administration costs which could have easily been avoided by just folding the stimulus amount into the 2008 Form 1040. These millions of dollars of IRS administration costs come out of our taxpaying dollars, and leave less for more important things like education and health care. At best, it's bread and circuses. At worst, it's an abuse of power by Presidents in their last year of office done solely to get a poorly educated general populace to vote that party in again.

The sad fact is that there will indeed be a line on the 2008 return to claim stimulus refunds for those who did not get them during the summer of 2008, and this will cost several more millions of dollars in further IRS administration costs as many people will try to claim twice and this takes up even more IRS manpower and computer processing time.

Here’s an idea for the people who don’t get a cheque and feel left out. Give yourself your own "stimulus cheque" by reducing one of your estimated tax payments by $300 or $600 or whatever the amount is.

On the plus side, with so many IRS agents beavering away at dealing with economic stimulus cheque inquiries, there's less time for them to be auditing our clients, so perhaps we have that to be grateful for.


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