If you had $100 million lying around and wanted to write a check to the Internal Revenue Service, you’re now out of luck.
The IRS announced Monday that beginning in 2016, it would no longer accept checks of $100 million or larger amounts. Those who need to submit payments that high will have to either wire the money to the tax-collecting agency or cut multiple checks of smaller amounts.
The reason: checks of these amounts must be processed manually, taking more time and resulting in an increased risk of fraud or error according to the Associated Press.
“In addition, the large check items may become lost or mis-shipped, stolen, and require special handling procedures by the TGA [Treasury General Account] banks,” said David Melter, director of the Treasury Department’s Over the Counter Division.
You might be wondering just how big a problem this is.
Not a very big one. The IRS reports that it only received 14 checks over $100 million last year, despite the Fed saying that federal agencies have not been allowed to deposit such large checks “for years.” The IRS also said that about 91 percent of tax returns last year were filed electronically, indicating that the agency isn’t receiving all that many checks of any amount any longer.
According to the AP, the IRS receives an annual average of $56 million in taxes from each of the 400 individuals with the highest incomes.
While the new policy will affect a small portion of the population, it has drawn criticism.
Grover Norquist, an anti-tax crusader who leads Americans for Tax Reform, was incredulous: “You’re trying to write a $100 million check to the government and they’re treating you like dirt? These are your customers. If this was Las Vegas, they’d give you the suite and a bottle of champagne for free.”
Others were less sympathetic.
“It sounds to me like these people could afford to pay electronically,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).