IRS criticized for sending stimulus pre-letters

Wednesday, March 12th 2008, 7:33 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

One Oklahoma lawmaker is criticizing the IRS for spending nearly $42 million to send letters to taxpayers explaining the economic stimulus check.

The whole point of the letters is to tell taxpayers that the economic stimulus check will also soon come in the mail.

Congressman Tom Coburn believes that's waste of money.

"95 percent of Oklahomans would say that's stupid and I think it is," Coburn said.

Most taxpayers can't wait for an extra boost from the IRS, but do taxpayers really need a letter ahead of time, explaining how the stimulus check works?

"Why would we spend $42 million to tell the American people something they already know, only in Washington would we do that," Coburn said.

The letter will go out to all 130 million people who filed a federal tax return last year, to remind them to file this year, so they can receive a stimulus check.

IRS Spokesperson David Stell said the decision wasn't made locally.

"That's a decision that was made in our Washington office based upon the best minds that were there to think about the best way to inform the public about this," Stell said.

Robert Young said Liberty Tax is also spreading the word, at no extra cost. They're visiting retirement communities, so people on social security who normally don't file, know they should this year to get the stimulus money. 

"That's one of the parts of my job that I really enjoy being able to help people like that, let them know that hey, we can help you get a little extra money," Young said.

A little extra money and some say a big cost to tell you about it ahead of time. Coburn encourages taxpayers to try and stop the letters altogether.

"If 10,000 Oklahomans call the White House today and said this is stupid, fix it, we might get something happening," Coburn said.

Congress actually told the IRS to send out the letters. The funding for the letters is part of the stimulus bill itself. Coburn voted against it.

The IRS will begin sending the economic stimulus checks in May.