Times Union, Albany, NY
Posted on December 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm by Rick Karlin, Capitol bureau in Taxes
New Yorkers will now have an option other than a check or direct deposit for their income tax refunds. The state Dept. of Taxation and Finance starting next year will offer pre-paid ATM-style cards as well. That’s especially good news for people who don’t have bank accounts or don’t like messing with paper. Don’t worry, though, you can still get a direct deposits or paper check refund if you want. Here are the details:
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today announced a new option taxpayers can choose to receive their State income tax refunds. Beginning next year, a prepaid card will be available as an alternative to paper checks.
The cards will be available at no cost to taxpayers, and no bank account or credit check is required to enroll. Taxpayers who choose to receive the cards can use them to conveniently and securely pay bills and make purchases online, by telephone, and at retail locations. In addition, taxpayers – including those without bank accounts – can make in-person cash withdrawals at most banks. The first cash withdrawal at a bank is free and can be used to withdraw the entire balance.
“Expanding our tax refund options to include this new prepaid card empowers New York taxpayers with a more convenient, and secure alternative to paper checks,” said New York State Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox. “The new prepaid card may be especially beneficial to taxpayers who don’t have bank accounts.”
The new prepaid card will be ready to use after being activated by the cardholder, providing taxpayers with immediate access to their New York state tax refund. In addition to ATMs, cardholders can get cash back at the point-of-sale (with PIN transactions) at most retail locations. If a card is lost or stolen, it will be replaced at no charge. Cardholders are also protected against any unauthorized or fraudulent charges.
Taxpayers will continue to have the refund options of direct deposit or paper checks.