Consumer Advisory: "Instant" Tax Refunds May Be Expensive Loans

Consumer Advisory: "Instant" Tax Refunds May Be Expensive Loans

The Office of the Attorney General warns Californians to beware of high-interest loans disguised as "instant" or "rapid" tax refunds.

The Attorney General says some storefront tax preparers are luring consumers with offers of quick refund cash that really are short-term loans that can carry annual interest rates of more than 700 percent. These refund anticipation loans may require consumers to pay fees for tax preparation, electronic filing, check cashing and other so-called benefits. More information about the injunction regarding refund anticipation loans.

The Attorney General urges families who may be eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit to check out free tax assistance programs in their communities before paying to have their returns prepared. To find out if you qualify for free assistance, call:

Toll-free: (800) 829-1040

Consumers who believe they have been victimized by a tax return preparer can file an on-line complaint or mail your complaint information to the:

Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550