published Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Georgia yanks tax refunds from taxpayers’ accounts

by Andy Johns

At least two local residents say they are among the thousands of Georgians who saw their income tax returns pop into their bank accounts only to disappear a few hours later.

“It actually says ‘reversed’ on my bank statement,” said Rossville resident Tami Hess.

Hess said she saw $569 show up in her account Saturday. The transaction listed the Georgia Department of Revenue as the payee and was the correct amount listed on the return she filed.

After paying bills Sunday and Monday, she was shocked to see her account overdrawn by $260 on Monday and that the tax refund had disappeared.

Today, state officials were scrambling to research the problem.

Revenue department spokesman Reg Lansberry said the department deposited the money Thursday, but the refunds were pulled back when a mistake was identified. He said he did not know how many taxpayers were affected or how the department might be able to work with banks about overdraft fees.

Melanie Butler, administrative assistant in the office of state Revenue Commissioner Douglas MacGinnitie, told a Macon television station the problem is being fixed and the refunds should be redeposited within about a week.

Hess said she was told by a revenue phone operator that thousands of Georgians had been affected. She said she was told a few deposits in a batch of thousands were incorrect, so the state recalled the funds from the entire batch.

Rossville resident Curtis Emmett also was hit by the switch. When he first noticed the deposit and reversal Friday, he called his bank.

“I called bookkeeping and they said they’d never seen anything like that before,” he said. “If I had gone out and bought a few things based on what they said was going to happen I would be in a mess.”

“I just wonder if the state of Georgia is going to pay for all of these people’s bounced checks,” Emmett added.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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Jerry200517 said...

Same thing happened to me, I called Wells Fargo bank and they instructed me to call back tomorrow and they will have an answer whether or not they will refund the overdraft charges. They should of had their numbers correct before putting money into people's account. It's completely Georgia Department of Revenue's fault and I expect to not be responsible for the overdraft fees. It was MY money after it hit my account.

January 25, 2011 at 4:04 p.m.
andyjohns said...


I'm the writer who wrote this story. I'd like to talk with you. Please give me a call at 423-757-6324.

-Andy Johns

January 25, 2011 at 4:26 p.m.
crtsports said...

If it was a pending transaction the state should not pay any of the overdraft charges. Everyone knows that a pending transaction is just that, pending. Its not your money to spend yet.

Now if people had it actually post to their account and then the state withdrew it, which I don't see how that is legal, then we have a huge issue.

But people just over spent their available funds and there should be no recourse for that.

January 25, 2011 at 4:37 p.m.
Jerry200517 said...

It was posted completely, It's all over the news now.

January 25, 2011 at 4:39 p.m.
BF4LIFE said...

same thing happened to me. my georgia state return was deposited and posted to my account on the 24th and later that evening they had reversed the refund. the deposit had been sitting in my account since friday. this morning i got a text from my bank with a negative balance and several overdraft fees. i called my bank and the CS rep said that if the state hadnt reversed the funds, my account would have been fine and i wouldnt have all these overdraft fees. i sat on the phone with the state on hold for almost an hour and the rep told me that it has happened to alot of Georgians and that they are trying to fix the problem. she said it would take a week to deposit it back into my account. so, now i am stuck with overdraft fees from this reverse and hope that the state fixes this very fast.

January 25, 2011 at 6:51 p.m.
barbie30619 said...

same thing happened to me money was posted in my account few days ago then today its gone now my account is empty im waiting to see if i have overdrawn yet it says i have 1 dollar so i pray nothing else is waiting to be posted i dont see how its legal for them to take it back

January 25, 2011 at 9:50 p.m.
hlavine said...

It hit our account on Friday and we were overjoyed, then Monday my husband was in town with our two year old and our debit wouldn't work. Sure enough, our account had been hit with a reversal. So here he was, 20 miles from home, with a baby in the cold, and no way to put gas in the truck.

Thank you Georgia, we appreciate that.

January 26, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.
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