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Tax refund check from California state bounces…

September 2, 2009
Creative Commons

Creative Commons

I attempted to deposit my $29 tax refund check from the state of California in my bank account this week.

I had filed my taxes on the late side,  which I think must have been compounded by the state budget issues, so I didn’t get the check until last week.

So I deposited the check right away.

For a young journalist like myself, $29 isn’t something to sneeze at. (That’s almost a tank of gas!)

But for one of the most powerful states in the union, even when you take the budget crisis into account, $29 should be short change. Right?

So imagine my surprise when I learned that the check had bounced. Not only was the $29 gone, but I had been hit with a bounced check fee as well!

To give the state some credit, I realized after the fact that I had not read the fine print on the check warning me not to deposit it until October…

But come on, does the state really not have $29 in its bank account?

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. keithlj permalink
    September 2, 2009 2:22 pm

    Believe it or not but States are not permitted by the united states Constitution to “Emit Bills of Credit”. What you need to do now is create a lawsuite in State Court and you should be asking for a jury trial so no schenanigons can be created. Also, remind the judge that in a common law court he/she does not have the capacity or ability to instruct the jury as to how they will determine the case. Also, a check cannot be post-dated or pre-dated. See Federal UCC laws which govern these rules. Better yet, present this in Federal Court. Perhaps the Constitution would require this to go directly to the Supreme Court. Read the Constitution to verify this aspect as well. Make sure you collect bounced check fees plus other court costs. In Washington State you should be collecting $100 minimum plus court costs.
    “Emit Bills of Credit” would be a check not backed by deposits. You may also want to bring the California Treasurer up on Bank Fraud charges. Maybe RICO charges also if this is common in California.
    Good Luck!!

  2. keithlj permalink
    September 2, 2009 2:25 pm

    Perhaps California needs to become a Territory instead. No Federal Income taxes could then be collected by the Federal Government but rather all taxes would be collected by the State. Referring to the State collecting the State Income Tax and also the Federal Income Tax.

  3. tcnnorth permalink*
    September 2, 2009 4:46 pm

    Wow, how did you find this informtion?

  4. September 3, 2009 2:24 pm

    Hi Melanie,

    Like you I filed my tax returns a bit late, so when my state refund arrived via snail mail instead of being deposited directly into my checking account, it caught my attention.

    In the envelope was a registered warrant, or an IOU, from the franchise tax board with a letter explaining my warrant could not be cashed till October 2, 2009 or after. The 3.75% tax-free interest is nice, but my grandchildren would have put the money to good use now.

    Here’s what my warrant looks like: Warrant

    On October 4th I will be spending my tax refund at the Venice Beach Bistro, drop by and I’ll buy you a drink or two to help ease the pain your enduring.

    Cheers,
    Edward the Blogging Pressman

    • Times Community News permalink*
      September 5, 2009 8:41 am

      Thanks Edward. I might take you up on that.

  5. David Heitz permalink
    September 8, 2009 12:46 pm

    As the former managing editor of the Glendale News-Press (circa 1995-1997) I can only IMAGINE how badly you needed that check! Thanks for a good chuckle this morning. I hope your bank refunded the bounced check fee!

  6. Joanne permalink
    October 13, 2009 7:13 am

    This gets even better…I waited until the prescribed date to deposit my tax refund check AND IT STILL BOUNCED. I was charged a returned item fee, which my bank immediately reversed under a line item called “10/09 CA WARR RET FEE REV” which I assume is short for California Warrant Return Fee Reversal. If my bank has gone to the trouble of creating a line item with this title, I’m guessing people’s tax refunds are bouncing left & right. Now what?

    • Lindsay permalink
      October 15, 2009 12:10 pm

      This just happened to me as well. I am now trying to figure out my next step as my refund was for over $700. My bank will not refund the fee it charged me, so I will be changing banks, but there still is the problem of my bounced refund check from the State of California. What’s a girl to do?

  7. keithlj permalink
    October 13, 2009 12:45 pm

    Whoo! The State of California is in worse shape than ever. The State of Washington is looking at a little bit over $1B for its new biennium. But it got worse as time went along in the last biennium and exploded to over $9 Billion. The construction industry seems to be improving but inching along in Washington state. How are thing in California. When Boeing gets its 747-8 and 787 into full production this area is going to explode. Microsoft is plugging along. Farmers are doing their best at producing agricultural products also. Fishing was better this year also. I feel bad for California. You have a river which is completely blocked off due to environmental concerns and a non-natural fish in the river. Ouch!! Keep pluggin away.

  8. Joanne permalink
    October 16, 2009 9:26 am

    If anyone has their state refund check bounce, call 888-864-2762. If you wind through the voicemail options, you can leave a message to have your call returned. Get this…THEY CALLED BACK! Within 24 hours, they made multiple attempts to reach me and gave me instructions. Send the stub from the bounced warrant to the address listed, and they will send you an actual check rather than a warrant. It sounds as if there is extra interest included in this check. The added bonus of handling it this way is that you get to keep all the interest. Apparently many banks have a policy of keeping the interest for themselves when they cash warrants, however this is not the case when you cash a check. Hope this helps!

  9. October 28, 2009 6:39 pm

    As of last week of Oct 2009 (28 Oct), are the CA tax refund checks for individuals bouncing still?

    I was out of country for a while and right now I am holding a CA tax refund check which I need to deposit. I do not want to go through the ordeal of bounced check. I am trying to get answer on this question by googling, but no concrete info on this yet.

    Thanks for your reply.

    • Lindsay permalink
      October 29, 2009 10:25 am

      Check first with your bank to find out if they will honor “Warrant Checks” if they say yes, you should be in business, if they say no you need to call 888-864-2762 and they will give you an address where you can mail in your check for a refund.

  10. Sam permalink
    October 30, 2009 4:26 pm

    We tried to deposit our company refund check today and Bank of America wouldn’t even take it! It’s not a warrant, but an actual check!

  11. Mrs. Green permalink
    November 4, 2009 1:23 pm

    Hello,
    I received my California State Income Tax Refund check. And I waited until October 13th to cash it. On Monday November 2nd it was returned. My check was for over $600 it devistated my account. I didn’t have that much in that account so the bank took all that I had and overdrafted my account which also caused me to have to pay overdraft fees and the return check fee. I am out almost $800 because of it, and I waited until the date that the state said to wait until which was October 2nd.
    :O(

  12. JIll permalink
    November 16, 2009 11:27 am

    Mine bounced too and I waited until after Oct 15th to deposit itm

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