A new paperless mandate from the Obama administration has gotten a lot of attention. Seems Uncle Sam will stop sending out paper benefits checks next March.
That means that your Social Security, Railroad Retirement, unemployment insurance and veterans benefits will all go directly into your bank account. If you don't have a bank account, the feds will deliver your payments as plastic via the Treasury Department's Direct Express Debit MasterCard program.
But the one federal agency that almost every American eventually deals with is exempt from the no-paper-check edict. The IRS will continue to issue tax refunds the old fashioned way.
I suspect that, too, will eventually change. This last filing season, the IRS reported that almost three-quarters of folks who got refunds opted to received their tax money as direct deposits. Once the other federal agencies work out the bugs, the tax collector might also move to total electronic payments.
Meanwhile, when it comes to paper payments, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says the IRS moves much too slowly. By dawdling instead of clearing taxpayer payments ASAP, the oversight agency says the federal bank account is losing interest it could be collecting on the money.
The IRS promises to do better.
So if you're mailing the tax man a check instead of using online options to pay your estimated and annual taxes, you'd better make sure you have sufficient funds in your account.
Are you one of the few still getting a "real" tax refund check? Why? What would it take to get you to have your federal refund directly deposited?