Sometime next week, millions of Americans will receive their annual New Year's greeting from the Internal Revenue Service: The 1993 tax forms are in the mail.

Starting Monday, the Postal Service will begin stuffing 86 million forms into mailboxes. Some mistakenly have already been delivered.Earlier this month, the Postal Service delivered 22 million postcards to farmers and other self-employed people who used professional tax preparers last year.

Until two years ago, the IRS had the forms dropped off the day after Christmas, but changed the practice after complaints of Scrooge-like timing.

Printing the forms cost the government $14.6 million and mailing them cost $19.9 million, a total of about 32 cents each. The costs have risen about 2 cents per form over last year.

High-income Americans should take note of some tax law changes approved by Congress this year.

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The current 31 percent top rate goes up to 36 percent for taxable income - after deductions and exemptions - above $115,000 for single people and $140,000 for couples. Any taxable income over $250,000, whether earned by a single person or couple, will be taxed at 39.6 percent.

IRS officials said about 2 percent of taxpayers will be affected by the changes.

For those not itemizing, the standard deduction has been raised to $3,700 for a single taxpayer, up from $3,600 last year. The deduction for heads of households is $5,450, up from $5,250.

The standard deduction for a married couple filing jointly has been raised to $6,200 from $6,000, while the deduction for a married couple filing separately now is $3,100, up from $3,000 last year.

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