If you use an online tax preparation service, you’ll no doubt see ads promoting a prepaid card as a “fast and secure” way to get your refund. One of my colleagues said that as she prepared her taxes online, the promotions for a particular issuer’s prepaid card popped up numerous times. And in fact, it’s… Read More
If you like to get cash upfront for your tax return, this could be a very different year for you. A government decision late last month banned H&R Block, the largest tax prep company, from getting the money it needs to provide tax anticipation loans. And a new IRS rule that takes effect this year… Read More
Good thing I tried this out early…after three hours of anxiety I decided that doing my own taxes is not going to work for me. Between a stock sale a 401(k) rollover and an inheritance…I was way in over my head. I may be a credit expert but I am not a tax genius and I most definitely do not understand cost basis analysis. Because I got started early, I still have plenty of time to send in my tax documents to my old preparer. Sometimes it can be better for your wallet and your blood pressure to pay a professional.
Would you pay a lender 100 – 1800% to borrow your own money? Millions of consumers do when they get their tax refunds immediately through Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs). Though the service may seem innocent enough – get your refund now instead of waiting a few weeks – the costs are staggering. According to a recent report by the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), one out of every 10 tax returns in the 2004 filing season involved an RAL and those consumers paid an estimated $1.24 billion in loan fees and more than $360 million in administrative fees. The working poor are especially vulnerable targets of this “coporate profiteering,” says NCLC’s Chi Chi Wu.