Taxpayers have been ringing the Internal Revenue Service telephones in record numbers trying to get answers about the upcoming economic stimulus payments.
In a recent report, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration noted that the IRS has been averaging more than 50,000 calls per day regarding the stimulus -- significantly above the normal volume of calls the agency gets this time of year. And this is still after the IRS spent $45 million mailing out more than 130 million notices explaining the payments.
One frequent question comes from people who owe taxes this year and are entitled to a stimulus check. Here's what one reader wanted to know: "I am about ready to send in my taxes and I owe money. Do I then have no choice but to await a paper check, or is there some way I can arrange for direct deposit?"
Jim Dupree, an IRS spokesman, responded: "Fill out your bank routing and account information before you submit the return and you'll receive your stimulus payment via direct deposit."
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