|On the theory that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels...a bit of news
for folks who might have missed this little wonderfulness in the latest
mailings from their bank.
Using the rationale that this is a good way to prevent paperwork from getting
into the hands of terrorists to use in filtering money (among other similar
justifications) starting October 28th banks and other financial institutions
are no longer under any requirement to send back your canceled checks. ('Cause
they could get intercepted in the mail and used for devious purposes.)
Under the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, instead of getting your
check back, you will get either a line on your statement about it, or if you
request it, a slip of paper that has the basic information (but not anything
you wrote on the memo line, and no copies of your signature front or back to
determine if it's legit).
The way it works normally is that you write a check, it goes to a bank, they
send it on to a central check processing center, and from the center it goes
back to your bank, which sends it on to you. Now the cycle stops at the check
processing center. They do point out that they hold the checks for a
year...but if you should, say, be audited, the IRS can request checks going
back much further than that. And you won't be able to get them. (I haven't
checked on this, but I believe that the only way you can now get your checks
from the processing center is...wait for it...to pay a fee.)
This has been very little publicized, so I thought it would be a good idea to
let people know that this was going on. I didn't know about it myself until my
accountant mentioned it, and I was able to confirm it with my bank.
This modern age...gotta love it.
Oh, and for the first time in five years, there is an office somewhere in
England with the words Babylon 5 on the door....
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permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine
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