Who Needs an Income Tax Refund Anticipation Loan or Check? Absolutely Nobody
December 20, 2012
Refund anticipation loans, considered a form of predatory lending, essentially ended in 2012; but a banking product known as a refund anticipation check (RAC) is set to take their place in 2013. The Department of Treasury explains that RACs are temporary bank accounts, established on behalf of a taxpayer, that can receive a direct deposit refund. This is a bank deposit, not a loan, and is limited to the size of the refund, minus any applicable fees. For taxpayers without a bank account, RACs may expedite refunds by up to six weeks, and they also let filers pay for tax preparation fees out of the expected refund. The National Consumer Law Center says that the average cost of RACs is about $30 to $32; but tax preparers may charge their own "add-on" fees, ranging from $25 to hundreds of dollars. However, many low-income taxpayers can e-file for free, saving on both tax preparation fees and RAC fees.
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