Bill would issue refunds on paper check instead of debit card

Louisiana would issue tax refunds via paper check, rather than debit card, if taxpayers don’t say how they want the refunds, under a bill that received support from the House in a 90-0 vote.

House Bill 436 by state Rep. Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro, would end the revenue department’s practice of giving prepaid debit cards to people who don’t spell out that they want to receive their tax refunds through direct deposit or check.

The prepaid Visa cards have generated complaints since they were introduced two years ago. People have said they don’t understand how to use the cards or were charged fees when they did.

Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield said the state saved money by shrinking the number of paper checks issued, but he said the proposal to switch the default tax refund method wouldn’t significantly increase his agency’s costs.

Fannin’s bill goes to the Senate for consideration.