As part of the recently approved economic stimulus plan, the US government is going to spend nearly $42 million in mailing costs. These costs don't cover mailing the rebate checks to citizens, they only cover mailing a letter notifying people that the checks will be mailed later.
As if that isn't ridiculous enough, this batch of letters won't go out to the people who didn't file tax returns but could still qualify for checks, certain Social Security recipients, and citizens who receive veterans benefits. Additional letters, and additional cost, will be required later to reach them.
It's 2008! Why is the IRS still using physical, paper mail for everything! I'm sure that given the chance, many people would choose to receive their notices and money electronically. This would be significantly less time-consuming and would save the cost of mailing as well.
I have the same problem with tax filing. Why, when I already have my taxes in an electronic format (thanks to TurboTax), do I have to print them, mail them, and then have the IRS re-enter my return from paper into their electronic system? Yes, I could e-file, but it would cost me $17.95, less than the cost to print and mail my return. I'm forced to use the old-fashioned method because it's still cheaper for me, even though it's the more expensive way overall.