INDIANAPOLIS — The Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General is recommending Hoosiers exercise caution when considering tax refund advances, or tax refund-related loan programs. Such options commonly are offered by well-known tax preparation service companies.
The CPD has received complaints from Hoosiers involving both traditional loans and debit cards funded with tax refund advances. The advances and loans have become popular offers made to consumers in anticipation of tax refunds. The CPD is encouraging Hoosiers to exercise caution if they choose an advance or loan when filing taxes with a tax preparation service company.
In one complaint, a consumer reported incurring two $35-per-transaction fees when withdrawing funds using the debit card under certain circumstances. The consumer incurred $70 in fees to access his money. In another, a consumer reported that he utilized the tax preparation services believing he would qualify for a tax refund-related loan but later learned he did not qualify for the loan. The consumer paid more than $400 dollars for the company’s tax preparation services, believing he would benefit from a tax refund-related loan that he ultimately did not receive.
The CPD and the Office of the Indiana Attorney General advise that consumers wishing to take advantage of these tax refund advances or loan programs carefully review all of the terms of the programs. Hoosiers should ask representatives soliciting participation in these programs detailed questions about the fees, interest, and qualification criteria of the programs. While these programs may benefit some consumers, they may not be beneficial for all. Consumers should also understand that they may not qualify for the programs. They should base their decisions about whether to use the services of a tax preparation service company on factors other than whether the company offers one of these programs.
If Hoosiers believe they have been misled or deceived about these products or services, they can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by contacting (317) 232-6330 or (800) 382-5516. Complaint forms can be mailed or emailed to consumers by our customer service representative. Consumers can also download a copy of the complaint form or submit a complaint online.