Tax refund anticipation loans -- advances on tax returns, made at high interest rates -- may be less prevalent due to federal crackdowns, but similar financial products are just as expensive. A report by the National Consumer Law Center and the Consumer Federation of America found that some tax preparation firms, including Liberty Tax Service and Jackson Hewitt, still make refund anticipation loans through non-bank partners. Other firms may offer a related item called refund anticipation checks. In fact, the number of consumers using this product jumped to roughly 18.3 million in 2011 from 12.9 million in 2009. Although not as expensive or risky as tax anticipation loans, these checks still amount to a high-cost loan. This can be a problem particularly because many taxpayers who sign up for these products already have low incomes. Refund anticipation checks do not get taxpayers their refunds any faster than if they had chosen to receive it via direct deposit. Banks typically charge fees of $30 to $55 for a refund anticipation check, which are added on top of the tax preparers' own fees. The fact that these expenses are lumped in with other fees also makes it tough to comparison shop for tax preparation fees. "Clearly, there is a need for reforms in the disclosure of tax preparation fees," the report concluded. "Tax preparers should be required to provide a clear, simple disclosure of tax preparation fees to consumers before beginning the process of tax preparation."