Free Business Envelopes!

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I print my own business cards. Years ago, I had created my own business card on Microsoft Publisher. I have been involved in many conversations, maybe even borderline arguments! regarding whether or not I should be just ordering professionally printed business cards, or continue to print them myself.

I now print them on Avery InkJet #38873 “Clean Edge Linen Textured Business Cards” (white stock). On the Avery website, you can even download pre-designed templates and create from the MS Word software.

Anyway, I think I’m saving money because I’m only printing 30-50 cards at a time when I need new cards printed. You know … I don’t even think it’s the saving the money at all, really. I like the freedom of being able to print cards when I want… when I need them… when I run out… when I know in advance that I plan to give away business cards.

It’s the same way with envelopes. I buy “off-the-shelf” envelopes and print laser printed return address labels to place on the envelopes.

In my business, there are many times that I require self-addressed envelopes. For instance, when I “FILE” income tax returns with Canada Revenue Agency, either by mail, courier, or delivered in person … I always write an enclosure letter with the contents. I have this letter in duplicate, with a blank envelope with my laser printed address label in the middle so all they have to do is stamp the letter and mail it back to me. Afterwards, I have proof when they receipted the envelope. Of course, processing the information is a different matter, but I always know if they received my package or not. I keep a third copy in my own files, so if I can follow-up if necessary.

For these envelopes that I send to Canada Revenue Agency with my return address in the “TO” part of the self-addressed envelope, I actually put Canada Revenue Agency’s own return address in the “FROM” top left section of the envelope. I have tons of them! In fact, you might say that I collect them. When I prepare personal income taxes over the years, most of my clients receive a label and an envelope for a remittance for their upcoming tax return, and they give them to me. With the advent of E-Filing, if there is a balance due, there is a remittance form T7DR(A) that I fill out with the balance and put the client’s name label on the form, so the client can take this to the bank and make a remittance before due date. For the Canada Revenue Agency return label, I just put them aside, because my client’s don’t need to mail the payment if they are going to pay the balance due at their own bank. Even so, most of my tax clients obtain refunds at the end of the year, so this is not necessary at all.

As such, I stock up on Canada Revenue Agency Return Envelope stickers during tax time. It’s the same way with envelopes. I also keep all of the envelopes I can find during income tax preparation for my ‘collection’.

Sure .. it’s only a hobby – but I collect envelopes from Canada Revenue Agency

This is the great part of my story.

In my business, you see many things and many people over the years, and entrepreneurs, businessmen and businesswomen who take risks and think out of the box. One of these interesting individuals gave me great advice about 5 years ago…..

“There is no reason to buy envelopes when all the banks and instant teller machines are giving them away for free!!”

What great advice. I guess it just goes to prove (again) that the rich get richer, or why the penny pinchers are wealthy. It’s because they are always thinking about the bottom line, and spending less money if they can help it.

Unfortunately, these banking machine envelopes have holes in them, and they are useless to me. So I got to thinking – Who else gives away free envelopes? It’s Canada Revenue Agency!

Canada Revenue Agency envelopes are window envelopes. It’s because of this reason that I can’t rely on these envelopes 100% as my business envelope source. I need regular envelopes with the security features, and also the 8″ x 11″ and 9″ x 12″ envelope sizes. Also, I hate to lick envelopes, and usually get the press and seal Peel-It ones. But, these window envelopes have their uses.

Every December I review my inventory of forms and remittance forms that I like to have on hand during tax season, and place an order. This would include blank laser sheet T4’s, T4A’s, T5’s and the summaries. I also get a box of T7DR(A) forms, and enough envelopes to match! This year, I stocked up and ordered about 500 forms.

If you ever phone Canada Revenue Agency to order a remittance form, ask for a bunch of them – with enough envelopes to match. You can look at this page and pick any remittance form and ask what the operator recommends that will go with the remittance voucher. Also, you can just ask for the envelope with code T1190WE(04) printed on it.

Or .. did you get the latest instalment reminder recently? Or do you file Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns quarterly? chances are, you also got an envelope. You can start to collect them yourself!

I use these envelopes everyday, from keeping permanent stuff in my files (where I can punch the envelope with two holes, and not the original receipts), to taking my deposit over to the bank. After I taped up my cash expenses for the year 2004, I put the taped receipts in these free envelopes. Once, I printed month-end receivable statements and mailed them out in these envelopes. I ran them through my printer twice .. the first time to print the statement, and the second using my Excel template to print the address on the back of it, so I can just fold it and place the statement in the window envelope. I probably wouldn’t recommend that again .. although, clients thought the envelopes were from the Government, so they naturally opened them. A few asked about it, and I just reminded them that this was another reason why my fees are so low and can’t afford to sit on Receivables in my business.

There’s nothing wrong with saving money. Do you need envelopes? They are everywhere – if you look for them. I use the free ones too!!

Take care.


Dani says:

You’re an accountant? Surely you realize that nothing is free, and that someone has to pay for those envelopes – in this case, it’s everyone. A few cents for the envelope, a few more for the remittance forms you won’t use, some for postage, plus the time you take up from an agent with your request.

I can buy 50 envelopes for $1 at the Dollar Store. I suggest you try the same.

HART says:

Thanks for suggestion. I’ve found out that the envelopes at the Dollar Store do not stick properly, then I have to use extra supplies such as tape to keep the contents inside the envelope.

I can see your argument with the bank envelopes, but it doesn’t wash with me with Canadian Government “everybody pays” argument. As a result of me NOT purchasing new envelopes, my expenses are less – meaning my taxable income will be higher and I will have to pay higher income taxes as a result, to offset this cost.

So – yes – I am paying for these envelopes, in a round-a-bout way .. don’t you think?

Ruth says:

Good Answer Hart. The Government always wins, one way or another!


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