BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - As Louisiana taxpayers start getting their refunds, some are dealing with a fairly new program from the state in which their refund amount is loaded onto a debit card. Some people are a bit confused by the program and sought out answers explaining it a little better.
Jim Buckley is expecting a little extra money from the government this year.
"We received a letter from our homeowner's insurance company and the state had illegally charged a charge on bill for past five years and if we wanted that money back, which was illegally taken, we had to fill out this form and give it to Louisiana Revenue," Buckley said.
He said he was expecting just under $200 after filling out that last year. A little over a week ago, he got some answers in the mail.
"We got five different envelopes with all these credit cards in them and we were like, 'Huh?'" he explained.
They are called Louisiana MyRefund cards. The Buckleys received two of them for each tax year they were owed a refund. One card is for him and the other is for his wife.
They learned in order to get a refund they had to activate the cards, which involves calling a number and giving personal information to Chase Bank. The problem is the Buckley's don't use Chase Bank and were not comfortable giving a social security number over the phone. Plus, Jim Buckley is still wondering why they were given 10 cards.
"To me, it seems it would be more expensive, more time consuming, more labor intensive, unless it's all automated, for this to take place rather than simply writing a check," Buckley added.
Several other states, like Georgia, have already rolled out the debit card system and have gotten mixed reviews from taxpayers.
"It's a new system, so it's something we're trying out just to see how successful it's going to be," said Gary Matherne with the Louisiana Department of Revenue.
He said the system allows his office to run more like a business.
"From a government perspective, we're just trying to be more innovative, ahead of the curve if you will. Trying to keep up with what's happening in the world," he explained.
But some, like the Buckleys, prefer the old way. They would rather a check they hold in their hands and cash at the bank. State officials said they will do just that if a taxpayer prefers it and right now, a check for the Buckleys should be in the mail.
The Department of Revenue said taxpayers don't have to use the cards.
To change your account settings, call the department at 225-219-0067 or visit the website. or go to we have a link to the phone number and that website on wafb.com.
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