Missouri taxpayers now have the option to receive prepaid debit cards for tax refunds.
Debit card refunds provide another option for taxpayers besides direct deposit to a bank account or a check, said Meghan Lewis, communications coordinator for the Missouri State Treasury. Anyone who wishes to receive a debit card must mark the appropriate box on tax return forms or specify this to their tax preparer. They will then receive a Visa debit card for their 2012 Missouri Individual Income Tax Return or Missouri Property Tax Credit Claim in the mail.
Lewis said the debit card option can help avoid check cashing fees for taxpayers who don’t have bank accounts.
“This is about choice for Missourians,” Lewis said. “It’s another option for Missouri taxpayers to best serve them.”
Lewis said she is unsure how many people will take advantage of the debit card option. She said about 48 percent of taxpayers choose to receive checks, and she expects many of these people will choose debits cards instead.
Rochelle Lowery, a manager at tax preparer Security Finance in Macon, said she expects a majority of Security Finance customers to take advantage of the debit card option.
She said this option is more convenientfor customers without bank accounts because taxpayers do not have to go to a bank to cash a check. Lowery also said she thinks taxpayers will choose this option because they are used to the connivance of debit cards.
Senior Gretchen Wright, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Vice President, a tax-related student organization at Truman State, said she thinks it is sensible for refunds to be deposited to a bank account as it’s less restrictive than having it on a card.
“It would depend on what someone wants,” Wright said. “If they want it to come in the form of a debit card, they’re restricted to using their refund on this gift card.”