Dear Government Lawmakers,
I have a way to save taxpayers thousands, if not millions of dollars. Eliminate redundancy. I know this sounds simple and I’m sure you’ve thought of it… you’ve thought of it right? But seriously, the redundancy in the Department of Treasury alone is mind boggling.
Let me give you an example.
Last month my husband and I received not one, but two identical letters from the IRS stating that they weren’t sure we were telling the truth that we deserved the entire adoption tax credit. I mean, we’d only been claiming it for 4 years prior to the last tax year and you did give us $10,610 in credits over those 4 years. I also understand that in order to carry on the credit you are now requiring everyone to submit proof that the adoption did take place. As if the grey hairs, crusted yogurt on my ceiling and my permanently hoarse voice weren’t proof enough. I understand… kind of.
What I don’t understand is the copious amounts of paper the IRS continues to send me. First there were the two identical letters. Then today I received two identical envelopes with two copies of identical letters in each envelope. Since the IRS is slightly slow and apparently can’t do math, let’s do that one together shall we? 2×2=4 Four… FOUR! Four identical letters. As in they said the exact same thing on each letter. The letter only said they received my paperwork and would review it.
I am aware that some people have a tendency to throw stuff straight into the recycle bin, but I’m thinking that most people would open a letter addressed from Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service. I know everything that comes from the IRS scares the holy shit out of me so you can damn well be sure I’m going to open it.
Now, if you figure that the tax credit carries over for 5 years and that everyone who has adopted internationally and domestically in the past 5 years now has to show proof of the adoption. It is 81,546 adoptions to be exact. Families get the credit for each child adopted. Now assume that the IRS sends a letter for each credit claimed and they send two initial letters requesting the paperwork, that would be 163,098 letters. The envelope for the initial letter wasn’t just the letter. It contained a two page letter, a required documents page, literature about the new law and a return envelope (HA! I laugh at your silly #10 envelope to fit 43 pages into). So that makes a minimum of 4 pages, but don’t forget times two because of the redundancy. Grand total of 326,184* pages… oh there’s also envelopes. The first letter (yes we’re still on the first letter) came in an envelope, and included the return envelope. That’s 163,098 envelopes. Now let’s assume the IRS is being frugal and buying paper and envelopes from the mega office supply store, on sale. A case of paper costs roughly $31. There are 5000 sheets of paper in a case. A box of envelopes costs $35 (window envelopes) and there are 500 in a box. So multiply 326184/5000=65.25 cases of paper. At $31 each that comes to $2010. That doesn’t seem terrible in the grand scheme of things, but when you factor in the envelopes… that comes out to over $22,000 in envelopes alone. Now multiply that by 2 and you get $48,000.
I mentioned that the second letter was only a note to say that they’d received my paperwork and would have a final answer in 30 days. I am then led to assume that I shall be getting a third letter. At the rate they send them I would think the number of letters increases exponentially.
Now $48,000 isn’t going to solve the debt crisis, but I’m fairly certain that the adoption tax credit thing isn’t the only bit of redundancy in the federal government. But who am I to say anything, I’m just a suburban mom with the internet and a calculator.
*My original math was incorrect and that number should be 652,392. That makes all the other numbers higher… including the dollar amounts stated. In any case it is a crapload of money.