Taxpayers will be able to receive their income tax refunds on a reloadable prepaid Western Union MoneyWise MasterCard next tax season as a result of a new agreement that CCH Small Firm Services has struck with Western Union.

The deal will enable nearly 200,000 tax professionals who use CCH SFS’s TaxWise and ATX tax software programs to help taxpayers receive their federal and state income tax refunds on the Western Union MoneyWise MasterCard prepaid debit card. Professionals using the SFS programs prepare more than 20 million tax returns annually.

In addition, the MoneyWise card will be available to more than 11,000 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites, sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service to assist low-income and elderly Americans. The sites handle tax returns for millions of taxpayers annually, at no charge, with the help of volunteers.

Consumers who choose the MoneyWise card also will be able to have their paychecks direct-deposited onto the card as well as add money on the card at any participating Western Union Agent location in the U.S. and use the card as a general-purpose reloadable prepaid card.

The agreement builds upon Western Union’s strategy in the U.S., and complements Western Union's consumer experience by giving consumers the ability to receive their tax refunds through a Western UnionMoneyWise MasterCard Prepaid Card.

“This relationship will help millions of American taxpayers with a simple and seamless way to receive their tax refunds,” said SFS president Jeff Gramlich in a statement. “Additionally, the IRS has been promoting this type of prepaid card as a way to provide unbanked taxpayers with access to the financial system.”

Taxpayers who choose to obtain a card will direct the IRS and state revenue agencies to send their refunds directly to the card. The personalized Western Union MoneyWise MasterCard will be mailed to the taxpayer within days of the tax return being filed with the IRS, so the taxpayer will have the card before the IRS issues the refund.

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