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The annual greeting from the Internal Revenue Service was probably missing today when letter carriers delivered the post-holiday deluge of late Christmas cards.

The IRS did not forget. Nearly all the 108 million tax-form packages will be placed in mail boxes from this Friday through the first week in January, not on the day after Christmas as they have been for more than a decade.

"We wanted to move it away from the Christmas holiday to allow folks to enjoy that period of the year as long as they possibly can before we throw a wet blanket on them," said Arthur Altman, director of the IRS tax forms division.

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