Finance | August 3, 2020 1:34 pm

Why Did Mickey Mouse Sign Tax Refunds in Rhode Island?

Disney has not taken over operations of the Ocean State

Executive Director of Will Rogers Motion Pictures Pioneers Foundation Todd Vradenburg, Mickey Mouse, Chairman the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation Chuck Viane, and The Walt Disney Studios president of Distribution Bob Chapek attend the CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, at The Colosseum of Caesars Palace on March 29, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Do you live in Rhode Island? Did you get a tax refund signed by Mickey Mouse?
Ryan Miller/Getty Images

The tax return checks a number of Rhode Island residents received recently were real enough, but the signature on them? That’s another story. Writing at Vulture, Halle Kiefer has the story of a particularly bizarre error that befell close to 200 residents of the Ocean State. What happened to them? Well, it turns out that that their checks came signed by both Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney.

This is not a serendipitous case of Rhode Island’s state government having two officials within it whose names evoke the heyday of animation. These checks did indeed bear two signatures: one from a fictional character and one from a man who’s been dead since 1966. (Reminder: If you get a check signed by a fictional character, you should probably not try to cash it.)

According to Vulture’s article, the issue arose from the system the state uses to automatically sign checks. In addition to being programmable, it also has a few names and signatures loaded onto it for testing purposes. That’s where the problems began:

Per Jade Borgeson, the state’s Department of Revenue chief of staff, the automatic check system over at their Division of Taxation never swapped out the test-print signatures used by the program.

For the 176 Rhode Islanders who received incorrectly signed checks, the state is working on issuing new checks with the correct signatures. (That would be Rhode Island controller Peter Keenan and state treasurer Seth Magaziner.) The state is also working on letters of apology to the affected parties.

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