Nearly 107,000 Virginia taxpayers who received their state tax refunds on prepaid debit cards have left more than $14 million in refund money unclaimed.
The cards, known as Way2Go cards, were issued for tax years 2012–2014. Taxpayers could elect to receive their refund through direct deposit into a bank account or a prepaid MasterCard, with paper checks eliminated in a cost-cutting measure. Virginia issued 1.2 million debit cards from 2013–2015.
The debit cards were unpopular due to difficulty of use and associated fees. The program was repealed in 2015 behind efforts from a coalition that included the VSCPA.
“It wasn’t popular or well received by taxpayers,” VSCPA member Jen Flinchum, CPA, a partner at Keiter in Glen Allen, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The paper check option was reinstated with the debit card repeal. In 2016, 70 percent of taxpayers received refunds by direct deposit and 30 percent received paper checks.
Many taxpayers gave up on trying to use the debit cards because of unexpected fees, and some never activated their cards. Virginia is in the process of stripping the cards of the refunds. The money is currently housed at the Virginia Department of the Treasury as unclaimed property. All unclaimed money is from cards that were never activated.
Taxpayers must file claims at vamoneysearch.org to get money owed to them. Questions about a specific card, balance or transaction history should be directed to the Go Program at goprogram.com or (855) 409-0580. Claimed money will be paid via mailed paper checks and takes six to eight weeks to process.