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Virginia Tax Refund Debit Card FAQ

General Information about the Virginia Tax Refund Debit Card

Why did the Department of Taxation switch from paper checks to refund debit cards?

The 2012-2014 Appropriations Act (also known as Virginia's budget for 2012-14) requires individual income tax refunds to be issued through direct deposit or a new prepaid debit card.  Paper refund checks are no longer an option.  This was a cost-savings measure estimated to save the Commonwealth $200,000 per year by eliminating the printing and postage expense of issuing paper checks.

What gives the Commonwealth the authority to issue a debit card in my name and provide my personal information to a third party?

You have two choices for receiving your tax refund, direct deposit into your bank account or a debit card.  If you do not select the direct deposit option you are authorizing the Department of Taxation to issue a debit card to you for your tax refund.  The Commonwealth has contracted with Xerox State and Local Solutions to administer this debit card program.  This contract provides the authority for the Commonwealth to share certain personal information about you in order for Xerox to open a card account in your name, deposit your tax refund into that account and issue you a debit card against those funds.

Code of Virginia § 2.2-3815 limits who certain personal information may be disclosed to; § 2.2-3815.B.6, however, does specifically allow agencies to share a taxpayer’s information with “…a person or entity when necessary to administer any program of the agency, to perform a service or function of the agency, or to conduct or complete the transaction for which the social security number was submitted to the agency.”

What personal information are you providing to Xerox?

The Department provides Xerox with your name, address, the last four digits of your Social Security number, Birth Date and the refund amount. This information is securely transmitted to Xerox and is kept confidential and protected under the contract terms.

What third-party vendors does Xerox use and what information does Xerox share with these vendors?

  • Contact Solutions, Inc (CSI) —This is Xerox’s Customer Service automated call center (IVR) vendor. Cardholder data is not maintained by CSI.  CSI takes the information entered by the cardholder and passes it to Xerox.  CSI does not store any information except the last 4 digits of the debit card number, for fraud purposes.
     
  • Source One —This is Xerox’s previous card mailing vendor.  The only information provided to Source One is the debit card number and the name and mailing address of each cardholder being mailed a refund debit card.
     
  • Fiserv – This is Xerox’s current card mailing vendor.  The only information provided to Fiserv is the debit card number and the name and mailing address of each cardholder being mailed a refund debit card.
     
  • Comerica Bank —This is the sponsoring bank of the debit card.  A card account is established by Xerox at Comerica Bank for each debit card issued, using the debit card number assigned by Xerox.  Comerica is not provided with any taxpayer specific information. 
     
  • LexisNexis – Xerox provides LexisNexis with each cardholder’s name, address, and Social Security number.  LexisNexis is used for identity verification and to ensure compliance with federal regulations, including Section 326 of the USA Patriot Act.  LexisNexis verification assists with fraud prevention by checking to ensure, for example, that debit cards are not being issued to deceased persons.  
     
  • ATTUS Technologies, Inc. – Xerox provides cardholder names and addresses to ATTUS for cross checking against the OFAC database.  OFAC is the Office of Foreign Assets Control and is a part of the United States Department of the Treasury.  OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign states, organizations, and individuals, including known terrorists. 

 Are Virginia Tax Refund Debit Cards secure?

Yes. The card is the equivalent of a bank account with a MasterCard® bank, and is protected by federal and state banking laws. The card must be activated before the funds can be accessed, and can only be activated by someone with access to your tax return information.  The card can be activated by phone or online using personal information that only you should know.  Part of the activation process includes creating a PIN, or personal identification number, that only you will know.  This PIN adds an additional layer of security on the card.

Does this refund debit card apply to all individual income tax returns?

Yes.  Unless the direct deposit option is chosen, debit cards will be issued for refunds due on all individual income tax returns.  This includes Form 760 - Resident Individual Income Tax Return, Form 760-PY - Part-Year Resident Individual Income Tax Return; Form 763 - Nonresident Individual Income Tax Return, and Form 763-S - Claim for Individual Income Tax Withheld.  

Refund debit cards will be issued for tax year 2012 and forward.  For tax years prior to 2012, the refund options are direct deposit or check.

If I do not want a debit card, do I have any other options?

Yes. By selecting direct deposit, you can have your refund deposited directly into your bank account (checking or savings).  Direct deposit is the fastest way to receive your refund.  If you do not select direct deposit when you file your income tax return, you will receive your refund by debit card.

What are the benefits of each refund option?

Direct deposit is the fastest method for receiving a refund, provided accurate bank account information is entered on the return. If you choose direct deposit, be sure to enter your bank information carefully and verify the information before filing your return.  If you do not have a bank account or prefer not to use direct deposit, the refund debit card offers a more secure and convenient alternative to paper checks that also lets you avoid check-cashing fees.

Will it take longer to get a refund debit card than it did to get a check?

It should take about the same amount of time to get your refund debit card as it did to get your check. For a faster refund, consider having your refund deposited directly into your bank account.

If I receive my refund by debit card, can I return the card and have my refund direct deposited?

No. You must exercise your refund option when your return is filed. If you do not select the option for direct deposit and enter the correct banking information for your checking or savings account, your refund will be issued on a debit card.

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Activating Your Virginia Tax Refund Debit Card

How do I activate my card?

To activate your card call the Go Program® automated phone system at (855) 409-0580 and follow the prompts or visit the Go Program® website.  You will need to set up an online account first and then activate your card. These are two separate online processes.

As part of the activation process, you'll be asked to verify who you are by providing certain information from your tax return, and to create a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN).  The PIN you select will be known only to you and protects your card from being used by someone else.

Is there a fee to activate my card?

No, activation of the card is free.

Can I add additional money to my card balance after the card is activated?

The card will be issued with the full amount of your tax refund on it.  No additional money can be deposited to increase the card's balance.  Once you’ve used the funds on your card, the card is closed and you should dispose of it.

What happens to my money if I never activate my card?

Debit cards that are not activated within 12 months of being issued are turned over to the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of the Treasury, Unclaimed Property Division.  It’s still your money but you will need to contact Unclaimed Property to have the funds reissued to you.

Similarly, if you do activate your card, whether you use it a few times or not at all, any funds that remain on the card after five years of inactivity, are also turned over to Unclaimed Property.

Do refund debit cards expire?

Yes.  Your activated card will expire three years from the date it was issued.  If you still have a balance available on the card, Xerox will send you a replacement card.

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Using Your Refund Debit Card

How do I use the debit card so I don’t have to pay a fee?

There are a number of easy and convenient ways to access your money:

  • Use your Refund Debit Card for free anywhere in the U.S. where MasterCard® cards are accepted to make purchases, pay a bill online , buy groceries, etc.  You can also receive cash back at cash registers for no fee.
     
  • Withdraw cash at any MasterCard® member bank.  It doesn’t have to be a bank that you have an account with; it can be any MasterCard® member bank.  Look for the MasterCard® brand logo on the door.  You are entitled to one free teller-assisted cash withdrawal but only at a MasterCard® member bank.  Additional teller withdrawals will have a fee.  To withdraw all your money, be sure to have your card balance with you when you visit the bank.
     
  • Withdraw cash from any MoneyPass® ATM. You are entitled to one free ATM withdrawal of funds from a MoneyPass® ATM per month.  Subsequent ATM withdrawals within the same month will have a fee as will ATM withdrawals from a non-MoneyPass® ATM.  Look for the MoneyPass® symbol on the ATM or use our MoneyPass® locator to find one near you.  Please note some ATM owners may impose their own convenience fee or surcharge.  These fees are in addition to any Go Program® fees you may incur.
     
  • Transfer funds from the debit card to your personal bank account.  You are entitled to one free transfer of funds from the debit card.  Subsequent transfers will have a fee.  This service is only available through the Go Program® website at www.goprogram.com or by calling the Go Program® automated phone system at (855) 409-0580.  Do not go to your bank to request this transfer.  Please allow 2-3 days for funds to be transferred.

Can I bring my debit card to the Department of Taxation to cash it?

No.  Your Virginia Tax Refund Debit Card can only be cashed using the methods described above.

How soon after I activate my card can I start using it?

You can use your card as soon as you activate it – the funds are available immediately.

My spouse and I file our return jointly.  How will we receive our refund debit card?

If you filed your tax return using the “Married Filing a Joint Return” status, you will receive two cards, one issued in each spouse's name.  There is only one card account, and each card provides full access to the joint refund.  Each card must be independently activated before that card can be used to access the funds.  The activation of a debit card by one spouse will not automatically activate the other spouse’s card. All of the services and fees are per card account and not per card.

Where can I use my refund debit card?

Any place that accepts MasterCard®!  The card can be cashed at any MasterCard® bank, or used like a regular debit card at retail stores, ATMs, and online.  You may, however, encounter difficulty using your refund debit card at certain vending machines or to pay for gasoline at the pump.  Some debit card transactions may require a signature instead of your PIN and are processed similar to a credit card.

Can I use my refund debit card to pay for part of a transaction, then use cash or another card to pay the rest?

Yes.  Refund debit cards do support this type of transactions, which is called a "split tender" transaction.

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Tracking Your Refund Balance

 When will I find out the amount of my refund that is on the card?

The card will be issued with the full amount of your tax refund on it.  This amount is provided to you at the end of the activation process.  Please note this amount, and compare it with the amount of refund you were expecting. 

If there is a discrepancy between the refund amount on your card, and the amount you were expecting, you should receive a letter from the Department explaining why the amounts are different within 10 days.  If you do not receive this letter, please contact the Department.

How can I track the available balance on my refund debit card once I start using it?

You can keep track of your balance on the Go Program® website, or by calling the Go Program® at (855) 409-0580.  You may incur a fee for making more than a set number of calls each month, so you should review the complete schedule of fees before calling.

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Debit Card Fees

Are there any fees associated with using my refund debit card?

There are many ways to use your refund debit card for free.  Fees do apply to some transactions, though.  Please review the complete schedule of fees so there are no surprises.

Is there an inactivity fee or an account maintenance fee if I don't use my card for awhile?

Once you have activated your card, if you do not use your card for six consecutive months, an inactivity fee will be deducted from your balance. You can avoid this fee by making sure you use your card at least once every six months.

Is there an inactivity fee if I don’t activate my refund debit card immediately?

The inactivity fee does not apply if you have not activated your card.  However, if you wait longer than 12 months to activate the card, the funds may be turned over to the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of the Treasury, Unclaimed Property Division.

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Resolving Problems

I filed several weeks ago and chose the Virginia Tax Refund Debit Card option, but I haven’t received my debit card.  What should I do?

Contact the  Department of Taxation to determine whether your refund has actually been processed.  You will be given instructions if there are further actions you need to take.

What should I do if my refund debit card is lost or stolen?

Report a lost or stolen card to the Go Program® by calling (855) 409-0580.  There may be a fee for replacing the card.

If my refund debit card is lost or stolen, can it be replaced with a check instead of a new card?

No.  A lost or stolen debit card will not be replaced with a check

What should I do if I forget or lose my PIN?

Contact the Go Program®  for assistance through its secure website, or by calling (855) 409-0580.

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Last Updated 7/15/2014 10:8

 

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