IRS Will Refuse To Accept Checks Of 100 Million Dollars Or More

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

160px-IRS.svgThe Internal Revenue Service made new policy that it will no longer accept checks greater than 99,999,999.99. That’s right, the IRS is refusing a payment method from large corporations or billionaires. With the public debt growing at worrying rates, one would think they would take any money they can get. They certainly are all the more willing to accept checks form lesser beings such as average citizens and small businesses. Your author, however, is still accepting very large checks from anyone wishing to make a donation.

Reportedly, processing equipment at the Federal Reserve is unable to handle checks of the prohibited value, requiring clearing by hand. Also, in memos between the IRS and the Treasury it is claimed that such transactions would be subject to fraud, error, and theft. Realistically it shows a flaw in the federal system and harks of outdated equipment and software.


Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union, said: “When our indebted federal government turns down large checks for fear of fraud or mishandling, it’s time to revise processing procedures and security rather than inconveniencing or deterring taxpayers.”

The change becomes effective next tax year. A workaround proposed would be for the taxpayer to present multiple checks in order to be below the threshold.

While this proposal might sound reasonable–the IRS claimed that it processed only fourteen checks above the $100 million mark–however over time inflation very likely could bring the federal system to a clog. One order of magnitude in devaluation of the currency is all that it would take.

This is an issue that has a slight analog with the digital millennium scare. During that time older systems were hardcoded to only accept two digit years, prompting in some cases a re-architecture of some systems. Though this will be significantly longer in time, the same problem will eventually face the currency system if these problems continue to be swept under the rug.

It perhaps is time for system architects and administrators to assign larger allocations of space to forestall breakages for many years. But with so many news reports of government computer systems being twenty or more years out of date, the will to change might be difficult to summon.

By Darren Smith



The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

28 thoughts on “IRS Will Refuse To Accept Checks Of 100 Million Dollars Or More”

  1. Don de Drain … I agree, the IRS civil servants are decent for the most part, but their leaders are not so much. Bureaucracy is like that.

  2. Aridog

    The fact is that there were many people working for IRS back in the day who were good people who did their best to do the right thing.

    Today there is still a significant number of IRS employees who fall into that category, but the percentage of employees who fall into this category is declining. Lots of reasons for that.

  3. Jack

    Some general observations based on many years of experience.

    Sometimes good people get treated poorly. Sometimes people who don’t deserve good treatment get treated well. The tax gods can arbitrary, in both good ways and bad ways.

    If you are dealing with IRS and think of the IRS as your enemy there is a much greater chance that they will be your enemy. There are times when taxpayers have no choice but to fight. But understanding how their employees think and the internal rules they must follow, along with understanding how the law works, can be very helpful to finding the best (or “least worst”) solution to IRS difficulties.

  4. I tried two OIC’s, appeals, my atty suggested tax court; and finally, because i WAS broke after trying to stand up for myself, I could “arm-wrestle” them no longer. Congress allows this mistreatment. Finally, as a policy, they’d get more $ out of regular citizens if they were reasonable and didn’t turn us into “IRS jihadists.” You’d think, from pure pragmatism, something less destructive could be put in place. My God, they were finding stuff I’d never owned or heard of—they acted like I had an account in the Caymans—but wait–those people probably got a tax BREAK. Sorry for the rant, but when I say this ruined my life, (yes, it started with me!), –it did indeed ruin it. Why do they get to take 15 years from me?

  5. Don de Drain,

    As one who continues to endure a 12 years and counting issue (because what is up with that SOL manipulation?) similar to Aridog, one question: why would your old employer want to financially (and therefore in other ways) destroy an individual pushing sixty, (unfortunately with questionable mental health), during the recession, and immediately after the death of a spouse (at my feet of a heart attack), and thereby reap nothing in the long run? An incapacitated, PTSD-sticken person will only pay them less over time. How did it benefit them for me to lose my house, drive a 20 year old vehicle, become less employable and now pay them less as I ride my old age out on Medicaid? Eh? Eh?

  6. Don de Drain … as one who endured a 15 year mid-six figure issue with the IRS (which I eventually won with attorney help) I know how adamant they can be. Your solution just made too much sense…how did you keep your job? 🙂

  7. Olly … BTW, I was soundly criticized when I said the equivalent of what you said…but I used the term “deserve” instead of “accept”, which in the context here mean the same thing. You are correct vis a vis bureaucracy and Congress abetting the mess, based upon my experience as a DOD “Fed,” …. vague legislation that encourages agency rule & regulation writing run amok, by unelected geeks, is a cause. I no longer can imagine an executive branch that will slash and burn the population of senior bureaucrats and rule writers (almost all SES or higher ranks, not civil servants)….and only the executive branch can do that when Congress still funds the idiots. The worst term you ever hear as a civil servant is the word “re-organization”…it always means more top heavy management and less service providers. If up to me Congress would legislate a mandatory period of 10+ years (suggest 15-20 or so) between any re-organizations of any agency or agency office that doesn’t reduce costs by at least 20+%. Better yet, legislate a 20% reduction in expense every 5 years…given the technological advances that should be possible. I/we managed a 70% reduction in my time in my/our office as a “Fed”…others can too. In my time of a couple decades I went through a half dozen or more re-organizations and none reduced costs, all increased costs. What’s that about?

    Partially aside: Congress should go ahead and fund Planned Parenthood for 2016 and resist giving the current geek in the White House a cause celebre’… it’s not like it will change over night and forcing the issue is only insuring it in this administration. Force the putz to actually sign a genuine 12-14 appropriation budget…which he has not done for 7 years running. Then take on Planned Parenthood. It wasn’t born yesterday and won’t be reined in today or tomorrow…but it an be in the future.

  8. Darren

    I make my living arm wrestling with IRS and other tax agencies. Frankly, the particular problem you highlight here is way down the list of problems in that agency which need to be addressed.

    Many years ago when I was an attorney working at IRS, I was asked to write an opinion on whether the IRS is required to accept pennies as payment of taxes. A local office had refused a payment in pennies and the taxpayer complained. My answer, which was publicized in a newspaper in the city where the incident happened, was that IRS must accept payment in pennies but can, as a condition of accepting the pennies, require the taxpayer to be present while the pennies are counted so that the IRS is not accused of short changing the taxpayer when they count the pennies.

  9. son owes – didn’t make enough to go on a payment plan – was advised to fill out Offer in Compromise – did so and sent them $2000, offered an additional $5000 and they rejected it – so, what is a person suppose to do??????

  10. Olly … frankly, I do not know what we should accept. I just know that all of it is nonsense. I’ve given up, but others can make a difference, if they will. Meantime, I quit.

  11. Aridog, what I find humorous is people defending the abusive bureaucracy they did not elect and deriding the pathetic Congress that they did. We have the government and by extension the bureaucracy WE accept. Should we expect anything else from an electorate completely ignorant of our “declared” purpose for government?

  12. Now what am I going to do. I didn’t know you could write a check for less than 100 million dollars. I always like supporting illegal corporate criminal organizations based out of Puerto Rico to fleece us. But I think most people know that DC is an extremely corrupt location and most politicians are on the take anyways.

  13. randyjet … trust me, blame the bureaucrats. Congress could pay the bill and the bureaucrats will still cling to their out dated models and Db’s. Been there, seen that. It was bureaucrats who contacted me several years after I resigned & retired about what I wrote in local databases that saved about 70%+ of civil servant time…once it was carefully explained to them, they dropped it like a rock….and didn’t proceed to establish similar time saving elements themselves. None-the-less, I agree that Congress can do more than do nothing. DC is a mess and I’m unsure if it can be saved. Glad I no longer have to entertain it.

  14. Of course Congress is NEVER responsible for any of this! It is easy to blame bureaucrats for the systems Congress will not pay to upgrade. While it is true that bureaucrats are stupid and incompetent many times, the same is even more true of Congress.

    1. @Nick: ” You’re the guy who always has the C-note when it’s time to pay the bill!”

      Thanks, Nick. Next time is my turn. Its on me, I will pay for everything next time, really … I promise.

  15. Yes, blame it on inflation and not the massive bureaucracy itself. Seriously, they can’t find one gomer to assign the task of personally handling each and every (so far 14) check of $100 million or more? Leave it to government to be so wildly inefficient and corrupt that they would force the taxpayer to accommodate their own ineptness. If they won’t accept my legal tender because of their own mismanagement then that is their problem.

    The more I think about it, this has to be a joke, right?

  16. OK, listen up, anybody got change for a 100 million? I need to use the IRS, and the soda machine.

  17. These IRS criminals need to be disbanded. Tyrants and zombies with the power to absolutely destroy individual lives. Why isn’t there a class action lawsuit for intentional infliction of emotional distress, economic stealing, and plenty of punitive damages? Who’s brave enough to take them on with stories that will “shock the court?” There is no reason in a civilized society (ok, it’s not really)–still in any case, no excuse for their behavior. And how about that SOL that they can tinker with however they like?

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