Hidden fees with fast tax refunds

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This week, the Internal Revenue Service begins processing tax refunds. With food prices going up it's more tempting than ever to want that tax refund fast. But the Better Business Bureau warns about hidden fees associated with rapid tax refunds.

"You should not be basing who's going to prepare your taxes on who's going to get you a refund faster," says Bill Thomas, the President and CEO of the BBB of Central Indiana. "You should be looking for knowledge, experience, customer service."

In the past two to three years, there have been numerous complaints to the BBB about rapid tax refunds, or refund anticipation loans. While those complaints have recently decline, and Thomas says banks no longer offer those types of loans, there are products that have taken its place.

Thomas says when it comes to choosing a tax preparer, "Don't allow someone to say their fee will be based on percentage of your refund." Instead, he warns, it should be a flat fee.

Other fees include:

  • Check Fees
  • Account processing fees
  • Finance Fee
  • Technology Fee
  • Refund Estimate Fee
  • Tax Preparation Fee
  • E-Filing Fee
  • Bank Documents Fee
  • Transmission Fee
  • Service Bureau Fee

Not all companies charge the same fees, but hidden fees can add up to $1000.

One more word of advice from the BBB: it's your signature on the last page of your tax return--anything on your return comes back to you--so you have to make sure it's accurate and know what information is there.

More tax help can be found here.