Don’t Get Your Tax Refund on an Amazon Gift Card


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TurboTax Tax Return Refund Gift Card Question #1: Do You Shop at Amazon Regularly?

Do you shop at Amazon enough to spend a tax return refund fairly quickly in the course of normal, budgeted affairs?

Someone who doesn’t shop much at Amazon could end up sitting on a gift card for a long time. Instead, they could invest the money and earn interest. For example, let’s say it would take a person two years to spend $1,050 at Amazon. That same tax refund invested at 5% would be $1,100 in two years.

A tax return refund on an Amazon gift card can&#82

A tax return refund on an Amazon gift card can’t be invested. A tax refund taken as cash can be.

Some consumers figure the idea of earning interest doesn’t apply to them. They know they won’t invest their refunds, so they don’t find the interest argument attractive. However, an extra $1,000 in a checking account for bills might bump other money into savings sooner, where it will earn interest.

There’s also the danger that the gift card might get forgotten. There’s no expiration date on Amazon gift cards issued after October of 2005. In other words, the money won’t just disappear. However, in a junk drawer the money from the tax return is just collecting dust.

Alternately, someone might start shopping at Amazon to get their bonus $50. Be careful. A card is a lot less painful than cash, and the term, “gift card” can make it seem like a freebie. The money might therefore get used as an excuse to go on a buying spree. Don’t fall into that mental trap.

Tax return on Amazon gift card? Beware the buying

Tax return on Amazon gift card? Beware the buying spree. Image source:

The idea here is, if you don’t already shop frequently at Amazon for in-budget items, then don’t select the gift card option.

Can I Check the Status of My Gift Card Refund?

It depends on the retailer involved. 

Amazon allows you to track the status of every kind of refund on their website. You can use the Your Orders tab to keep an eye on your refund and see how it’s progressing. Retailers like Nike use a similar system. 

Other retailers don’t have tracking systems for any form of payment, meaning you’ll have to contact them to check if and when you’ll have your funds returned. 

Setting up Prepaid Card for Tax Refund

Setting up direct deposit of your tax refund to a prepaid card no different than setting up direct deposit of a paycheck to a bank account.

Here’s the step by step process to get your tax refund via a prepaid card.

Step 1: Purchase or Request your Prepaid Debit Card

The first step is to get a prepaid debit card. You will need to purchase a reloadable prepaid debit card, with your name printed in front of the card.

A reloadable prepaid card is a prepaid card that you can add money to after the initial amount loaded on the card is spent.

For a list of reloadable prepaid cards, click here.

Where to Get a Prepaid Card

You can pick up a reloadable prepaid card at retail stores like Walmart, Target or Best Buy or at Pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and grocery stores like Kroger and Safeway.

If you are purchasing a prepaid card from the store, you will purchase a temporary card, which you will have to activate online. Upon activation, they will mail you a permanent card with your name on it within 7-10 business days.

You can also visit the prepaid card’s website and request a permanent card, which will have your name printed on it.

Step 2: Activate your Prepaid Debit Card

Whether you have a temporary prepaid card or a permanent card with your name printed on it, the next step is to activate your prepaid card.

You can do that online at the prepaid card’s website or via the prepaid card’s mobile application.

If you have a temporary prepaid card, upon activation, they will mail you a permanent card with your name on it within 7-10 business days.

Once you receive your permanent prepaid card, you can perform step 3 below.

If you have a permanent prepaid card with your name printed in front of the card and you have activated your card, proceed to step 3 below.

Step 3: Locate Prepaid Card Account Number and Routing Number

To set up direct deposit of your tax refund to your prepaid card, you need the following information about your prepaid card:

  • The routing number of the prepaid debit card
  • The prepaid card account number

Note that the prepaid card account number is different from the card number listed in front of your prepaid card.

In addition, the prepaid card account number and routing number are not listed on the prepaid card itself.

To get this information, you will have to log into your prepaid card account online or call customer service.

Here’s how to get your account number and routing number.

There are two ways you can get this information:

Option 2 – Call your prepaid card customer service

Another way to get the account number and routing number for your prepaid debit card is to call your prepaid card customer service number.

When you call, explain to them that you are trying to add funds from your bank account to your prepaid card and need your prepaid card account number and the bank routing number to complete the transaction.

Step 3 – Add Prepaid Card Information to Tax Returns

When filing your taxes, put your prepaid card Routing Number and Account Number in the designated fields and indicate ‘Checking’ as the account type as shown below.

However, if you are using a professional tax prepa

However, if you are using a professional tax preparer for your tax returns, provide them with your prepaid card Routing Number and Account Number.

Let your tax preparer know that know you would like to receive a direct deposit of your tax refund on the prepaid card.

Congratulations!!! You have successfully set up to receive your tax refund via a prepaid debit card.

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Getting Gift Card Refunds on Your Own

To get a complete gift card refund, you have to go through at least two steps:

  1. Returning the purchased product
  2. Requesting that the funds on the card are returned to the original form of payment

Most businesses have generous return policies for both steps, but using gift cards can complicate things. 

You must have receipts for both transactions to be able to get a refund for the product and gift card involved

How To Return Products and Get Refunds on Gift Card Balances

If you used a gift card to purchase a product, you will have to rely on the refund policy of the business you purchased from. If they allow refunds for items bought with a gift card, you only have to go through the standard process of requesting a refund. Regular issues with refunds still apply. Amazon might not return shipping, even if they grant you a refund to your gift card.

Here are the steps you should take to get a refund from most businesses:

  1. Contact the retailer or log onto your account on their website
  2. Go through the automatic refund options or call/email/text the customer support team
  3. Verify whether or not they allow returns to gift card balances and then request a refund

How To Transfer Credit From Your Gift Card to the Original Form of Payment

The card’s issuing party will usually have an outlined policy for gift card returns. It varies between card issuers, but nullifying the card is an option most of the time. 

Small-scale retailers that issue gift cards through third parties won’t be able to refund the money on your card. Instead, they will direct you toward the original issuer. These businesses often have numbers printed on the back of the cards they produce. To request your refund, you must:

  1. Dial the number on the card
  2. Ask to speak to a representative
  3. Request a refund for the gift card

Going through these steps won’t always result in a complete refund. Many card issuers have a policy to only return a fixed percentage of the card’s worth. The value tends to be 90% or less of the gift card’s full value. 

Here are some ways to request your refund from a gift card issuers:

Can You Request a Refund Via

Yes / No










Process a refund to a gift card

Step 1 : Navigate to the Refund Invoice window

Based on whether you know the invoice number, use one of the following ways to open the Refund Invoice window:

  • If you know the invoice or receipt number:

  1. Search for the invoice using the number

  2. Based on the sale items included in the invoice, the Search for an Invoice or a Receipt window provides varied options. Click as appropriate:

  • To refund the amount on a product or package, click Return.

  • To refund the amount on a service or membership, click Show, and then click I want to > Refund Invoice..The Refund Invoice window appears.

  • If you do not know the invoice or receipt number:

  1. Open the Guest Profile.

  2. Based on what you want to refund, select the Appointments (for services), Products, Memberships, or Packages tab.

  3. Look for the invoice whose amount you want to refund, and then select one of the following: 

  • Click the orange refund icon in the Refund column of the invoice.

  • Click the invoice number, and click I want to > Refund Invoice. The Refund Invoice window appears.

Step 2: Select items:

On the Select Items page:

  1. Select the item you want to refund 

  2. Enter the amount to refund in the Refund Amount field (the amount can be the full amount or a partial amount).If there are many items in the invoice, enter the refund amount against each item selected.

  3. Click Select Refund Mode. The Payment Method page displays the gift cards used to purchase the items. The gift card number, the redeemed amount, and the amount paid towards tips display for each gift card used in the invoice.

Step 3: Select payment method:

Step 3: Select payment method:

  1. Select the option Refund amount can be split across one or more below options and enter the refund amount in the Paid Amount field adjacent to the Gift card payment type.Note the following when entering the amount in the Paid Amount field:

  • The refund amount must be equal to Total Refund Amount entered in the Select Items section.

  • The refund amount must be equal to or less than the amount used on the gift card.

  • You can split the refund amount between the gift cards and other payment methods such as cash, check, credit card, custom, or issue a prepaid card for the amount.

   2. Click Refund.

The service refund invoice opens in a new window a

The service refund invoice opens in a new window and displays the refund amount as a negative number.

Step 4: Generate an invoice:

  1. Verify the details and click Close & Print on the invoice. An Invoice Refund pop-up window opens.

  2. Click Ok to generate an invoice.