Virginians who are used to receiving paper checks for their income tax refunds will only have two options to choose from starting next year: direct deposit or prepaid debit card.
Paper check refunds will not be issued in 2013 due to a change in state law that requires income tax refunds to only be issued by direct deposit or on a prepaid debit card, according to the Virginia Department of Taxation’s website. The change is billed as a cost-savings initiative.
2013 will be the first time the prepaid debit card have been offered as an option.
How The Refund Debit Card Works
All Virginia tax refund debit cards will be a non-reloadable MasterCard debit card. To activate, card holders will be asked to use Xerox's Go Program and verify their identity by providing information from their tax return and creating a four-digit Personal Identification Number, or PIN.
Residents will be able to see the card balance — the full amount of the refund — once the card is activated, and the funds will be available immediately upon activating the card.
Joint filers will receive two cards, one issued in each name, and each filer will have equal access to the joint tax refund amount once the cards are activated. If preferred, only one card can be activated to use the refund and access the full amount.
If choosing the debit card option, residents should be aware that fees may be charged to the card for certain transactions, such as cash withdrawals from ATMS or calling the Go Program with questions on the phone more than twice a month.
A $3 fee will be charged to the card after six months of inactivity once activated.
If the refund amount on the card is not what you expected, or you think it’s incorrect, the department’s website states that a letter explaining why the amount is different should be mailed within 10 days.
To make the refund process simpler, the department is reminding all Virginia residents to ensure their personal information is up to date and accurate in order to receive your refund on time and without error.
Residents who chose to use direct deposit should ensure their bank account information is correct.
For more information about the Virginia tax refund debit cards, visit the Virginia Department of Taxation’s website.