Beware of Rapid Tax Refunds

March 26, 2012
El Paso Inc. (TX)  

With the tax deadline only a few weeks away, some filers may be tempted to take out a tax refund anticipation loan in hopes of getting their money back more quickly. But the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) and other consumer advocacy groups say the loans are bad news. "Either way you go, whether it's the refund-anticipation check or the refund-anticipation loan, you are going to be out of a good bit of money that could be in your pocket," warns Charlene Crowell, communications manager at CRL. The group points out that rapid refunds often have high interest rates and fees -- as much as 150 percent -- and that high-cost tax services rake in as much as $11 billion annually from an estimated 30 million households. Crowell recommends that consumers simply use the IRS' direct deposit option, which deposits tax refunds within five to 10 business days -- but with zero fees.
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