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Thursday, April 4, 2013
RICHMOND — Virginia's new tax refund card program is hitting a few bumps in its first year.
Virginians have two options to get their state refunds because paper checks aren't being issued.
Taxpayers can have refunds directly deposited into their bank account or loaded onto a Way2Go tax refund card, which works like a debit card.
So far this year, more than 200,000 refunds have been issued on debit cards, while nearly 1.2 million refunds have been made through direct deposit, the according to the Virginia Department of Taxation.
While taxpayers are supposed to be able to use the cards for free in some instances some say they've been hit with unexpected fees.
"As with most new programs, the startup process hit a few bumps," Joel Davison, a spokesman for the state taxation department told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Davison said the department is working with the card provider, Xerox Corp., to resolve issues related to incorrect information and fees impacting some taxpayers.
The primary issue is taxpayers being inadvertently charged a fee for transferring funds from their card to their bank accounts. Davison said around two dozen people were inadvertently charged the fees, which have been reimbursed.
Steve Slater of Wytheville said he tried to transfer his full refund amount on the debit card to his bank account but was told there would be a $2 fee. He also was charged another $1 fee for each of the three calls he placed to customer service to try to report bogus fees.
"All I would like in the future is my full tax refund without so much hassle," Slater said. "I hope Virginia will reconsider its contract with the Way2Go people."
Taxpayers can access the Go Program website for free to activate their cards, check balances and check on transaction history. The cards can be used for free at retailers or online to make debit purchases, but they carry a host of fees, including a $3 charge per month if the card is activated and there is no activity on it for six months.<
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