Sign AlterNet's petition demanding the executives of the three biggest tax preparation companies end these shameful and destructive practices.
Liberty Tax Service, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt are making out like bandits by charging effective interest rates of up to 500% on "Refund Anticipation Loans" to low-income Americans.
According to a report by the National Consumer Law Center, "consumers paid an estimated $738 million in RAL fees in 2008 to get quick cash for their refunds – essentially borrowing their own money, sometimes at extremely high interest rates."
These predatory loans target people who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit: the working poor, in other words.
We will send a copy of the petition to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, asking him to put a stop to Refund Anticipation Loans and to cancel the IRS' Debt Indicator Program, used by tax preparation companies to check customers' private information when making the loans.
These loans unfairly target the working poor who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit.
These loans also charge exorbitant effective interest rates, once all fees and the short duration of the loans are factored in.
A copy of this letter is being sent to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, asking him to put a stop to these loans and to the Debt Indicator Program, as part of the IRS’ ongoing review of your industry.
Thank you for your attention,