The Virginia Income Tax Return Debit Card, for those who choose to receive their state tax refunds by card rather than by direct deposit. Warning: Fees and frustration may apply. (Virginia Dept. of Taxation) The Virginia Income Tax Return Debit Card, for those who choose to receive their state tax refunds by card rather than by direct deposit. Warning: Fees and frustration may apply. (Virginia Dept. of Taxation)

In response to my story Monday about Virginia’s new tax refund debit card, I’ve gotten several e-mails from readers who have experienced great frustration with extracting their money from the cards. The cards are only accepted at “Master Card” banks, not Visa banks, and there can be a variety of fees if you attempt to make multiple transfers, balance inquiries or phone calls to Xerox, who is administering the program.

The most entertaining of these tales of tax frustration, so far, was told by Robert Graham of Fairfax, who spent hours on the phone in a futile attempt to speak to a human, was rejected when trying to use the card to simply buy stuff at the Home Depot, and couldn’t get the money into his own bank account at M&T Bank because they are a “Visa bank.”

Graham is also a poet and member of the Poetry Society of Virginia. He memorialized his ordeal trying to obtain his four-figure tax refund in the deftly titled poem, “Virginia Tax Refund.” Reprinted here with permission.

Virginia Tax Refund, by Robert L. Graham

The money is yours, right?

Not until it’s in sight.

Blithely select no bank deposit for credit.
There’s no check in the mail, but a debit.

By Master debit card a tax refund!
A crooked road to cash, just begun.

Once all yours to spend
Others interest do now append

Well any way the card use is free
Until you go where there is a fee

Oh just go spend some every day
It’s the merchants that will pay.

Dimmit I can’t get into my money pot
Rejected, by Mobile, SunCo and Home Depot

Call waytogo’s phone and get twelve canned choices
No live person: just no answers for your question voices

If you decided not to have an interaction
There is a fee for lack of a current transaction

The money is yours, right?

Not until it’s in sight.

The Virginia Tax Refund of yore
Is this now a financial metaphor?

— Robert L. Graham © April 2013