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When I came home tonight I discovered I had two pieces of mail from the Internal Revenue Service. The first, in a legal sized envelope, was a “Message about your 2012 Form 1040”. In large print it explained, “Your refund check will be sent to you by mail.” The small print explained, “We can’t honor requests for direct deposit of refunds for prior year returns. As a result, you should receive a refund check in the mail in 3-4 weeks.”

The second piece of mail carried a return address heralding the “U.S. Department of the Treasury/Bureau of the Fiscal Service” and a warning, “Forgery of endorsements on Treasury checks is a Federal Crime. Maximum penalty is a $10,000 fine and ten years imprisonment”. Then there was a check-box and a note:

    “IF RECIPIENT DECEASED

Check here and drop in mailbox.” It should have been pretty obvious to anyone seeing this envelope that a check of some sort was inside. In my case, it was the tax refund check that the first piece of correspondence had encouraged me to look for in 3-4 weeks. I’m really glad that I’m not a little old lady whose mail is delivered to the unlocked group mailboxes in her apartment building…the envelope just screamed “STEAL ME!”

I am thrilled to receive the money the Feds have been using interest-free for the past two years, even though it rather looks like the right hand doesn’t have any idea what the left hand is doing. Ironically, I mailed my 2013 Federal return off today, also requesting direct deposit, so I guess I can look forward another pair of these documents in a month or so.