Tax refund loans, which used to be known as instant tax refunds or rapid tax refunds, are very popular for those who want to get their hands on the money the U.S. Internal Revenue Service owes them fast. However, they have also been widely criticized for deceptive marketing and high interest rates. Those who decide to take advantage of a tax refund loan should carefully consider all the consequences involved.
In the past, tax refund loans were billed as instant refunds for a good reason. The taxpayer would get a portion of their refund back nearly as soon as they filed their taxes. In some cases, it would take an additional day or two. Still, it was a far shorter time period than the IRS would normally take to send the refunds.
However, they were not true refunds from the IRS. Instead, a company, most likely the filing company, would write a check to you for the amount of your refund, minus the fees, and they would then have the rights to your refund. In some cases, waiting an extra week or two would net them $100 US Dollars (USD) or a slightly lesser amount.
While the U.S. federal government continues to look at putting restrictions on the practice of tax refund loans, the process is still legal. Therefore, for those who want to take advantage of it, simply ask your tax preparer if the company they are with offers these types of loans. Not all tax preparation companies have tax refunds available, but most national chains will. It is important to know what services are offered by your tax preparer before having them take care of your taxes.
In some cases, instant cash advance locations may offer tax refund loans in the case a tax preparer does not. However, in this case, it will likely act more like a traditional payday loan, where the money will come out of your bank account after the tax refund posts to your account. While some cash advance locations may relax their rules just a little for tax refund loans, there still may be an upper limit to how much you can get.
In the end, those interested in tax refund loans may be better off using a credit card to finance any purchase while waiting for the tax refund to post. Most refunds post within 30 days. Therefore, it is possible to make quite a sizable purchase and still pay it off at the end of the month before any interest at all accrues.