“This can’t be right,” Oklahomans receive empty refund cards from tax commission

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OKLAHOMA CITY - As more Oklahomans are working to finalize their income taxes, many people are waiting for tax refunds.

After being approved for a refund, Linda Mershon acted immediately to activate her prepaid debit card from the State of Oklahoma.

What happened next came as a shock to her.

 Mershon called the number on the card and a recording informed her that the card had a zero balance.

“I thought, 'Man, this can’t be right,” said Mershon.

Peggy Butler, with the Jackson Hewitt office in Sulphur, says several clients reported the same problem on Tuesday.

“Throughout the day, we’ve had clients come in and call, same thing,  got the card, no money,” said Butler.  “These people want their money.  They need it like yesterday, most them, like all of us.”

The state says it accidentally sent out some cards without any money on them.

Paula Ross, with the Oklahoma Tax Commission, says the agency is aware of the problem and are working to fix it.

Ross says an outside company supplies the cards for the state, but the money is loaded through the Oklahoma Treasurer's Office.

“I think that the State of Oklahoma needs to let people know what’s going on so they can expect this and let them know how it’s going to be fixed or when it’s going to be fixed,” said Butler.

Frank Raye says his wife was planning on taking her refund to pay off her car.

“It’s really serious.  You know, something like this, it happens, you know, especially when you already know you’re going to get something and you make a promise and can’t do it, it upsets people,” said Raye.

Raye's wife will now have to wait, along with countless others, for the state to fix the problem.

Ross could not tell NewsChannel 4 exactly how many empty cards were issued.

She’s asking people to be patient and hold onto those cards.

Ross says the Tax Commission should know by Wednesday when the money will be on them.

Officials say they started issuing the debit cards for tax refunds back in 2012 and this is the first year they’ve encountered this problem.

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