Fees over refunds to be repaid

  • Follow Metro

The Georgia Department of Revenue announced Wednesday it will pay overdraft charges caused by the state's withdrawal of refunds it had put into taxpayer accounts.

The department wired refunds to 30,000 taxpayers' bank accounts Jan. 20, but moments later, the staff noticed a computer error and stopped the transfers. The staff thought it had stopped the payments before they reached the banks and didn't realize the problem.

The agency corrected its software and began reissuing the refunds, but not before people around the state began complaining Monday about bounced checks and overdrafts.

Gov. Nathan Deal said he is trying to make amends.

"Let me apologize," he told reporters after a luncheon speech. "Certainly we don't want to inconvenience anyone, and it is regrettable that things of this type happen. But we do live in an age in which computers sometimes don't quite get programmed as they should."

Revenue Commissioner Doug MacGinnitie held a news conference in his office across town at the same time Deal was addressing reporters. MacGinnitie said the department should have the reprocessed refunds deposited into taxpayers' accounts within days.

"We are working with our bank partners to waive any fees that people incurred because of insufficient-fund notices because of the withdrawal of those funds," he said.

Most banks, though, seem willing to work with their customers.

"We're going to honor the state's request and refund the bank charges that occurred," said Jay Lawrence, a spokesman for Wells Fargo.

Lawrence said customers don't have to bring a form letter from the state when they visit a bank branch to straighten out overdraft fees. Anyone who is home-bound or otherwise can't make it to a branch can call customer service and talk with a bank representative.

Richard Fairey, the regional president of Regions Bank, said the bank will work on a case-by-case basis with customers to iron out overdraft fees.

"It's not the customer's fault, by any means," Fairey said. "They shouldn't be burdened or hampered by that."

Georgia Bank & Trust Chief Executive Officer Dan Blanton said his bank is working one on one with customers to clear overdraft fees. Bounced checks will have to be worked out with the merchants, though, said Blanton.

Ora Parrish, of Bank of America, did not provide a statement Wednesday.

If a bank doesn't waive the fee, the department will pay it. Taxpayers need to file a form on the department's Web site, https://etax.dor.ga.gov, or call (877) 423-6711.

MacGinnitie and Deal have been in office only two weeks, but they promised to handle the matter.

"We are working hard to make sure that this problem does not happen again and that we understand how it happened so we can do that," MacGinnitie said.

Deal promised a military-style "after-action report" into the causes and the response, but said things could have been worse.

"Fortunately, it was not of as large a magnitude as you sometimes see in errors of this sort," the governor said. "It was big enough. We are going to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Comments (10) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Iamrightyouarewrong
0
Points
Iamrightyouarewrong 01/26/11 - 08:58 pm
0
0
Can I do that? I use

Can I do that? I use electronic banking and now wonder if I can make a payment to someone and then withdrawl the check? Nahhhh, only the gub'ment can do something like that.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 01/26/11 - 08:59 pm
0
0
In other news, the democrats

In other news, the democrats just picked up 30,000 votes....

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 01/26/11 - 10:03 pm
0
0
"In other news, the democrats

"In other news, the democrats just picked up 30,000 votes....'
BS.................all those EIC are not going to hurt Repubs.

oldfella
620
Points
oldfella 01/26/11 - 11:00 pm
0
0
"Computer error"......the

"Computer error"......the default excuse. The "dog ate my homework" schoolboy excuse for the 21st Century. Come on, Dept. Of Revenue.....you had three days to come up with an excuse, and this is the best you can do? The taxpayers will (indirectly) pay for overdraft fees incurred as a result of your FUBAR experiment, so give us our money's worth. There must be a mysterious one-armed man involved somewhere in this!

dani
12
Points
dani 01/26/11 - 11:36 pm
0
0
The banks are forgiving the

The banks are forgiving the overdraft fees.. I hear..

albertoli
179
Points
albertoli 01/27/11 - 12:58 am
0
0
what about the time lost for

what about the time lost for the phone calls and anxiety over the succeeding bounced checks. 30,000 x 4 hours each= 120,000 hours x $20 per hour = $2,400,000. the state irs needs to be fined and the money donated to charity. this is a conservative estimate

gpb
3
Points
gpb 01/27/11 - 04:44 am
0
0
Iamright: actually, it

Iamright: actually, it happens all the time. Every once in a while, an employer will make a mistake on payroll and take back the deposit, but the employee had already started spending it, causing an overdraft. I've seen it happen, and whenever it does, the bank and the employer have always been all-too-quick about making things right with minimum aggravation or inconvenience. Given my experience, I really doubt many banks are going to make an issue over overdraft charges. I'm with oldfella on the dog ate my homework excuse, though--let's be honest, the computer didn't make an error, someone miskeyed something, thought they caught it in time, and a few slipped through the cracks. Gov. Deal is right: it happens, we'll make good on it, move along.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 01/27/11 - 09:25 am
0
0
Another example of total

Another example of total government incompetence.

Keep in mind, the govt is NOT paying these fees, YOU and I are paying them!!!!!!

Whoever did this should be fired, but instead, they'll keep their over-paid govt job with benefits and live out a comfortable retired life with a generous pension. Sickening. Just sickening.

seenitB4
86708
Points
seenitB4 01/27/11 - 10:33 am
0
0
The taxpayer will pay for

The taxpayer will pay for this error!

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 01/27/11 - 02:06 pm
0
0
Retired, if the government

Retired, if the government was run like a bidness there wouldn't need to be refunds. We would get charged for what we used and that's it.

follower
59
Points
follower 01/27/11 - 04:36 pm
0
0
Taylor B, we may disagree on

Taylor B, we may disagree on a few issues, but your post is one we can definately agree on. But the only way that'll happen [no refunds] is for the "Fairtax" to be in place. I'm for it, but I don't like the odds.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs