State Tax Refunds Can Include Fees To Taxpayers
OKLAHOMA CITY - Changes to Oklahoma state tax refunds have some people paying the price to use their own money.
Oklahoma did away with paper checks and instead issued debit cards, but those cards can come with fees.
State tax returns will come in the form of a MasterCard now. Officials said it will save the state money, but if we are not careful, it could end up costing us money. Taxpayers are sounding off with diverse opinions about the change.
"It doesn't seem like there's much of a problem with [the change]," Oklahoma taxpayer Stephen Ziegler said.
Others disagreed with Ziegler.
"If I'm finding out that you're going to get nickeled and dimed and the debit card expires … makes it not even worth it," Oklahoma taxpayer Michael Bobbitt said.
New this year, Oklahomans must pick direct deposit or the debit card for state tax refunds.
"There are some fees, but they are totally avoidable," Paula Ross, Oklahoma Tax Commission spokesperson said.
Ross says those fees include the following:
*Online Bank Transfer Fee – 75 cents
*Inactivity Fee - $1.50
*Card Replacement Fee - $4
*Online Bill Pay – 25 Cents
*Over-the-phone Balance Check – 35 Cents
*Mobile Alerts – 10 Cents
The state said it will not profit from the fees. The debit card company stands to gain.
"The other fees are for conveniences that you would never have with a paper check anyway," State Rep. Jason Murphey said.
Murphey spearheaded the bill that allows the state to go paperless. He says no one should ever pay a fee to spend their own money. The tax commission says if you play by the rules, it will not happen. The state recommends taking the cards directly to the bank or using it consistently to avoid that inactivity fee.
"It probably won't matter either way because we'll take it straight to the bank," Oklahoma taxpayer Ryan Chandler said.
The state said it will save more than a half million dollars in postage fees from its agreement with the debit card company.