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.