Louisiana State Tax Refund Scheme Is a Shameful

Thankfully, I don’t pay taxes in Louisiana. Because if I received the refund that Cara just received, I’d be having fits. As it is, it pisses me off.

It’s not the amount. It’s the fact that the State of Louisiana, for the 53% of residents who don’t get direct deposit, is refunding taxpayer money — money that is rightfully yours to do as you wish — as a debit card. A Chase-branded Visa debit card.

The state claims this is saving it money — and therefore taxpayer money.

What a load of shit.

Imagine if your refund is $147.50. How are you going to get that money out of the ATM? You can get out $140. And then go through the trouble of depositing that cash. What about the $7.50?

You pretty much have to spend it. God forbid you save it. You can still make a special request for a check. Or set up a check from your debit card. If you are so inclined — and want to jump through the hoops. But this seems to me as set up precisely to encourage spending.

And if you don’t spend it, what happens to the money? According to this story, “the cards will be good for one year from the date of issue.”

Sounds like a gift card, no? And one of the reasons stores love selling gift cards is because after a certain amount of time all of that unclaimed money goes back to them.

And there’s this: “And though Chase will not levy a fee the first time a card is used to make a withdrawal at a non-Chase ATM, it will levy fees on subsequent transactions at other banks’ ATMs.”

Nice. Really nice.

I’m getting disproportionately bent about this, but keep in mind this is not the government GIVING you its money. This is the government playing with money that you paid to it and that it owes you.

Or put it this way. Imagine loaning $200 bucks to someone. And when it came time to pay you back, they did so with an Amex gift card.

And don’t tell me Georgia does it too. “Georgia does it too” is never justification for anything.

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2 responses to “Louisiana State Tax Refund Scheme Is a Shameful

  1. “this is not the government GIVING you its money. This is the government playing with money that you paid to it and that it owes you.”

    Nailed it. I wish more people would think about it that way.

  2. also, if you use the card to make a purchase, there is a $.25 service charge by chase…

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