COLUMBIA — Missouri taxpayers have a new option to choose from when deciding how their tax refunds will be received: debit cards.
Taxpayers who file individual income tax forms can receive a JPMorgan Chase debit card that can be used for free at any place where Visa cards are accepted; the debit cards can also be used to access cash without fees from UMB, MoneyPass and Chase ATMs.
All other ATM owners charge a one-time fee and the possibility of surcharges on additional transactions for debit card users. Bank accounts are not a necessary requirement to access the card, and it can be used for transactions 24 hours a day.
To receive the debit card option, taxpayers mark the "debit card" box located on the refund line of the 2012 Missouri Individual Income Tax Return, according to the Department of Revenue’s website. After receiving the card in the mail, the recipient will have to activate it by phone or online. A personal identification number, or PIN, must be created.
The new option was announced Friday by State Treasurer Clint Zweifel.
Issuing debit cards is less expensive for the state because refund checks cost 45 cents to distribute, whereas debit cards are free, Zweifel said. In the long run, that saves taxpayer money, he said.
"Any transaction occurring within 18 months of acquiring the card is free," Zweifel said. If the user goes 18 months without using the card, a one-time fee of $15 will be charged.*
In the end, allowing people options regarding the distribution of their tax refunds "is a good thing," he said.
Supervising editor is Karen Miller.