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I'm generally opposed to this whole idea of sending checks to people courtesy of the IRS. I don't care if you call them "tax rebates" or "economic stimulus." It's a crazy redistribution of money that isn't fair to those who really pay all the taxes.

Half of all American households pay no income tax, but most of those are going to get the checks anyway. How can it really be a rebate if you haven't paid anything in the first place? It can't, but that's not stopping anyone. And many of the households who do pay a large proportion of the income tax won't get one of these checks because they "make too much money" to qualify for one. I know there's nothing I can do about it, but I at least feel better if I publicly complain.

So for those who are lucky enough to be getting a check, you should know that they're going out early! Checks will be mailed starting Monday, a full five days before their planned mailing. And if you had your tax refund direct deposited this time around, you'll get your economic stimulus money even faster because it will be direct deposited to your account.

The government is hoping that you spend your $600 or $1500 or whatever your family is receiving. I'm hoping (not so secretly) that you do something responsible with it like pay down some debt, establish a savings account for emergencies, or otherwise buy something that your family really needs (not just something that they really want).

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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