This year, the state of Louisiana stopped issuing paper checks for income tax refunds. Instead, they now issue debit cards from Chase with the balance loaded on the card. Recipients can get their funds by using the card at an ATM, at a store for purchases, or by going into a Chase branch and having a teller withdraw the total amount. If you file electronically, however, you can still request your refund be direct deposited to your bank acount.
A number of people find this process to be burdensome, and if you don’t live near a Chase branch, it could be. However, I have one simple solution that will allow most everyone to be made happy next year. If the Louisiana Department of Revenue would simply add a couple lines to the income tax forms to allow filers to input their bank information for direct deposit, we could avoid all the complaints about the cards while maintaining the cost savings (estimated to be in the $300-500 million range) of not issuing checks. Other states, as well as the IRS, already allow this on their forms so we aren’t talking about any revolutionary change.
Disclosure: The author works for JPMorgan Chase. The opinions expressed are his own.