As it turns out, the economic stimulus plan is costing us even more money than the $100 billion being mailed out “for free” to Americans.
At least $200 million more.
Here’s the scoop:
The letter that was mailed to you that advises that you might be eligible for a refund cost the IRS $42 million. That $42 million campaign doesn’t even offer any real information – not how much you’ll get, whether you’re personally eligible to receive a rebate check or when you might expect it. Just that it exists.
That doesn’t cover the costs of the letters which will be mailed advising you of when you might receive your check – nor the costs of actually processing those checks. The estimated cost of publicizing the rebate and processing the check will reach more than $200 million.
Putting it into perspective, that $200 million would have bought 74 Super Bowl commercials – more commercials than were aired during this year’s widely watched game. Now that would have been publicity.
Instead, the IRS is focusing on letter after letter because it believes that the campaign will change the minds of taxpayers about the agency. C’mon, no letter other than “Congratulations! You don’t have to pay tax anymore!” is going to make taxpayers think positive about the IRS. It’s even more mind-boggling that the IRS is trying to take credit for a legislative decision… The IRS is not giving anyone a hand out. They’re just printing checks.
From a publicity perspective, the IRS should have stuck to their YouTube pitch. There has been over 9,000 views in 8 days – 1,000 per day is probably more than the number of folks who actually read those letters.
I’ve decided to help them out – since that’s just the kind of tax blogger that I am. Keep your eyes open for my “Tax Rebate Super Bowl Commercial” contest…
(Hat Tip: Tax Foundation)